The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a 3 and 1/2 Mile Grade 1 Chase, over 22 fences for horses aged 5 years old or older and has the biggest prize money for a NON Handicap race in the UK.
First run on Cleeve Hill back in July 1819, over 3m and has since moved to the new course, which it is now run. Apart from World War II, the only other times the race has not been run was because of Frost(1931), Flooding (1937) and Foot and Mouth(2001).
When the name was changed to the Gold Cup Chase, in 1924, the first winner was Red Splash. The following year(1925) saw Ballinode become the first Mare to win the race.
Prior to World War II, in 1932 Golden Miller became a household name, winning the Gold Cup 5 times in a row from 1932 to 1936 and also won the Grand National, a pre WWII legend, who is still held in high regard today and also still holds the record for the most Gold Cup wins.
After WWII, Cottage Rock, tried to emulate Golden Millar, when winning the Gold Cup in 1948,49 & 1950 for trainer Vincent O’Brien and this was the start of the Irish’s love affair with the Festival.
The Gold Cup as we now know it has been run on the New Course since 1959 and in 1964 witnessed Arkle winning the first of his 3 Gold Cup victories, winning in 64,65 and 1966.
The first ever Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle winner came in 1986, when Dawn Run made history as the first horse to win both races. Four years later in 1990, the Gold Cup saw the biggest Odds winner, when Norton’s Coin came home first at odds of 100/1 .
Only FOUR Mares’ have won the Gold Cup, Ballinode, as mentioned previously, Kerstin(1958). Glencaraig Lady(1972) and the last Mare to win was back in 1986, when Dawn Run was victorious.
Dawn Run Winning The Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986.
No horse since Best Mate in 2002, has retained the Gold Cup or won it more than twice. Best Mate won 3 for Henrietta Knight. 2002, 2003 & 2004. Henrietta Knight is also one of just THREE female trainers to win the Gold Cup, with Jenny Pitman winning twice, with Burrough Hill Lad in 184 and 1991 with Garrison Savannah. When Jessica Harrington trained winner Sizing John to Victory in 2017, Jessica became the first female to train a Gold Cup winner for 13 years.
Pat Taaffe is still holds the record for the most wins of the Gold Cup as a Jockey, having won 4 times on Arkle(64-66) and Fort Leney(1968) and Tom Dreaper has trained the most winners with 5( 1948, 64,65,66 & 68)
But since 1990, Paul Nicholls has trained 4 Gold Cup winners, See More Business in 1999, before winning it 3 years in a row from 2007, when Kauto Star won, Denman in 2008 and again the following year, when Kauto Star became the first horse to regain the Gold Cup.
Previous 10 Winners Of The Cheltenham Gold Cup
2008 – Denman
2009 – Kauto Star
2010 – Imperial Commander
2011 – Long Run
2012 – Synchronised
2013 – Bobs Worth
2014 – Lord Windermere
2015 – Coneygree
2016 – Don Cossack
2017 – Sizing John
2018 – ?????
Sizing John 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner
2018 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Trends
Friday 16th March – 15:20 – Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup – Grade 1 – 3m 2f 110y
- All of the last 16 winners of the race had previously won a Grade 1 chase.
- 11 of the last 15 winners had all finished in the first two places at the Festival before.
- 20 of the last 22 winners were aged between seven and nine.
- 14 of the last 15 winners started in the top three of the betting, with Lord Windermere bucking the trend in 2014.
- 9 of the last 16 winners contested the King George VI Chase at Kempton
- 9 of the last 14 winners did not run before in the same calendar year.
- 13 of the last 15 winners were rated at 166 or higher.
- Just 1 of the last 21 winners was aged 10 or older.
- Long Run (2011) was the first 6 year old to win since 1963.
- 15 of the last 17 winners had won earlier in the season.
- Only 3 winners in just under 50 years has won the race with under 6 races run over fences (Bobs Worth won in 2013 with 5, Coneygree with 4 in 2015).
- 12 of the last 24 winners were second season chasers.
- Coneygree won the race in 2015 as a novice chaser
Kauto Star became the first ever horse to regain the Gold Cup when winning in 2009. Paul Nicholls has saddled four winners and five runners up in the race since 1999.
Now we need to Apply these trends to the Field and list the most likely contenders based on previous winners criteria.
The first thing we will do is concentrate on runners aged between 7 and 9 as the majority of winners have came from that bracket. Then we will look to see how many have won a Grade 1 chase previously.
Runners aged between 7 and 9 with Grade 1 Chase wins
Might Bite – 9yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 3 Grade 1 Chases and 1 listed Chase.
Native River – 8yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 1 Grade 1 Chase, 3 Grade 2 and 2 Grade 3 Chases.
Our Duke – 8yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 1 Grade 1 Chase.
Road To Respect – 7yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 2 Grade 1 Chases and 2 Grade 3 Chases.
Killultagh Vic – 9yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 1 Grade 1 Chase.
Definitily Red – 9yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 2 listed Chase wins and 2 Grade 2 Chases but no Grade 1.
Total Recall – 9 yr old carrying 11st 10 has only a Grade 3 win to his name.
Minnella Rocco – 8yr old carrying 11st 10 winner of a Listed Class 1 Amateur jockey Chase.
Coney Island – 7yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 1 Grade 1 Chase.
Edwulf – 9yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 1 Grade 1 Chase.
Anibale Fly – 8yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 1 Grade 3 Chase.
Djakadam – 9yr old carrying 11st 10 has won 2 Grade 1 Chases.
Now we shorten the field by looking at who has more Grade 1 wins
Might Bite -has won 3 Grade 1 Chases
Road To Respect -has won 2 Grade 1 Chases
Djakadam -has won 2 Grade 1 Chases
Native River -has won 1 Grade 1 Chase
Our Duke -has won 1 Grade 1 Chase
Killultagh Vic -has won 1 Grade 1 Chase
Coney Island -has won 1 Grade 1 Chase
Edwulf -has won 1 Grade 1 Chase
Now this is starting to get there but still too many possibilities, so we now apply the next strongest trend and that’s – horse must have finished in the first 2 places at Cheltenham previously so here goes.
Might Bite -Has won at Cheltenham previously
Road To Respect -Has won at Cheltenham previously
Djakadam -Has placed 2nd on two occasions at Cheltenham previously
Killultagh Vic -Has won previously at Cheltenham
This completes the shortlist with 4 strong contenders that fit most of the trends, although the Final stat – comes from the front 3 in the betting, will have to wait until race day as the markets do move up and down in the weeks prior to the race taking place.
We hope to have guided you on your way to picking the likeliest winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and wish you well with your bets.
Written By Rich Williams and Charlie McGreevy