Run over 2m 4 ½ furlongs the BetVictor Gold Cup is the feature contest at the three-day Cheltenham Open Meeting, held each year in the middle of November (11th-13th Nov 2016).
The ‘Pond House’ Pipe stable are the leading yard with nine wins in the race, with Celestial Gold, Our Vic and Great Endeavour, who won the contest in 2011, their most-recent winners – last year the 2017 BetVictor Gold Cup was won by the Jonjo O’Neill-trained 9 year-old Taquin Du Seuill at 12/1, which gave the Jackdaws Castle Yard their third win in the race and their second in the last 4 runnings.
Here at JuiceStorm we take a look at the 2017 renewal from a stats angle – this year run on Saturday 18th November.
Recent BetVictor Gold Cup Winners
2016 – Taquin Du Seuill (8/1)
2015 – Annacotty (12/1)
2014 – Caid Du Berlais (10/1)
2013 – Johns Spirit (7/1)
2012 – Al Ferof (8/1)
2011 – Great Endeavour (8/1)
2010 – Little Josh (20/1)
2009 – Tranquil Sea (11/2 fav)
2008 – Imperial Commander (13/2)
2007 – L’Antartique (13/2)
2006 – Exotic Dancer (16/1)
2005 – Our Vic (9/2 fav)
2004 – Celestial Gold (12/1)
2003 – Fondmort (3/1 fav)
2002 – Cyfor Malta (16/1)
BetVictor Gold Cup Betting Trends
15/15 – Had run at Cheltenham before
14/15 – Had won over at least 2m4f over fences before
14/15 – Won by a UK-based trainer
12/15 – Carried 11-7 or less in weight
12/15 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
11/15 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
11/15 – Had won at Cheltenham before
10/15 – Had won just 2 or 3 times over fences before
10/15 – Trained by Pipe (3), Jonjo O’Neill (3), Nicholls (2) or Twiston-Davies (2)
9/15 – Carried 10-13 or less (But 4 of the last 5 carried 10-13 or more)
9/15 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
8/15 – Won by a horse in the first 3 in the betting
8/15 – Aged 7 years-old
8/15 – Won this on their seasonal reappearance
7/15 – Placed favourites
5/15 – Won their last race
4/15 – Trained by the Pipe stable
4/15 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
3/15 – Winning favourites
3/15 – Ran at Carlisle last time out
2/15 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
1/15 – Irish-trained winners
The last winner aged in double-figures was in 1975
Paul Nicholls has saddled 8 placed horses (two winners, Al Ferof & Caid Du Berlais) from his last 32 runners
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 17/2
Let’s now turn our attention to the hedge-hoppers for the next six months and we get going in November with the Cheltenham Open Meeting as a clear early season highlight for many jumping fans.
As always, we’ve two days of top National Hunt action at Prestbury Park to look forward to with the BetVictor Gold Cup the meetings main event – this year run on Saturday 18th November.
In recent years it’s been a fixture that the leading stables like the Pipes, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls and Jonjo O’Neill have excelled at, and since 1996 those four powerful NH yards have between them won the BetVictor Gold Cup a staggering 15 times!
This key ‘stables stat’ was once again backed-up 12 months ago as the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Taquin Du Seuil gave the Jackdaws Castle team their third win in the race and their second in the last four runnings.
So – what are the other key trends to look for?
Let’s start with having previous experience and winning form at Cheltenham. All of the last 15 winners had a previous taste of fences at Prestbury Park, while 11 of those 15 (73%) had winning form over the bigger obstacles at the course before.
Next up is to look for horses that have won before over at least 2m4f (fences) and are also from UK-based yards – 13 of the last 14 winners fit the bill on both those counts – we’ve only seen one Irish-trained winner of the race in the last 26 years (Tranquil Sea, 2009).
The age of recent winners has also been a decent trend to note as despite last year’s winner being a 9 year-old it’s actually been a cracking contest for 6 or 7 year-olds with 11 of the last 15 winners fitting that age bracket. But with 53% of the last 15 winners aged 7 then this is certainly the age that has done the best of late.
Sticking with the age for just a bit longer, as it’s also worth looking at the other end of the age spectrum as you might want to rule out the older runners in the field – the last double-figure aged winner was in 1975!
Heading into the race with good recent form is another thing to look for as 9 of the last 15 winners took this off the back of a top four finish last time out, while if your fancy is having it’s first run of the new National Hunt season, then don’t worry too much about this either as 8 of the last 15 came there ready to rumble after a lay-off.
We’ve already mentioned the age, but this is further backed-up with the slightly lesser exposed runners doing best in recent years. 66% of the last 15 winners had only won 2 or 3 times previously over fences suggesting that the improving younger chasers often do well.
Being a handicap then the weight-carried is certainly worth taking into account too. 9 of the last 15 winners carried 10-13 or less, but – be warned – there are signs this weight trend is starting to turn the other way as 4 of the last 5 winners have actually won with 10-13 or more. Backed up again last year with Taquin Du Seuil shouldering 11-11 to victory, which was only the third time since 1995 that we’ve seen the winner lump 11-8 or more to victory!
Finally, the betting can often be a good guide too as despite the competitiveness of the race we’ve seen three of the last 15 market leaders go in, which at a 20% strike-rate isn’t bad for a race of this nature. However, the favourites have also placed in 7 of the last 15 (47%), while it’s worth noting that a massive 12 of the last 15 winners (80%) returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting – suggesting it’s a race the punters generally get right.
So, this should be easy! With all those factors taken on board you could do a lot worse than focus on anything the Pipe, Nicholls, O’Neill and Twiston-Davies yards have entered, plus are also aged 6 or 7 years-old and also have past track experience and 12/1 or less in the betting – Simple!!
JUICESTORM VERDICT: Onto the main event on the second day and we’ve another super-tough renewal. But plenty of key trends to apply to hopefully help whittle down the 18 runners. Surprisingly it’s been a race that powerful trainer Nicky Henderson hasn’t done too well in with just one win (2013, Fondmont) and that poor run looks set to continue this year with Days Of Heaven and Theinval only looking to have outside chances. In contrast, the Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Jonjo O’Neill and David Pipe yards have a much better race with a massive 10 winners between them in the last 15 years. Nicholls has two decent chances too with Le Prezien, who was only just touched off here last month and the hat-trick seeking Romain De Senam so are two for the shortlist. Twiston-Davies has Splash Of Ginge entered, but his better chance looks to be Foxtail Hill, who battled on bravely to conqueror the already-mentioned Le Prezien last time and based on that running there should not be a lot between them. The Irish also don’t have a great record so their two runners – Tully East and Lake Takapuna – are swerved, but the David Pipe team to have another big-looking chance in a race they’ve farmed in recent years with STARCHITECT (e/w). This 6 year-old ticks a lot of the main trends and got back to winning ways last time out when winning at Stratford. A 4lb rise for that win doesn’t look harsh and despite this being a step up in grade still looks well-treated at a track he rarely runs a bad race at – his recent runs here (most in similar big fields) read well 4-5-5-5. Ballyalton is another to consider from the shrewd Ian Williams team, but the second pick is the Jamie Snowden-trained DOUBLE TREASURE (e/w). This 6 year-old went into many a notebook last time when beating Two Taffs in a decent race over this course and distance, plus there should be more to come. It was taking how he seemed to be beaten after hitting a flat spot about a mile out, only to shrug that off and finish the race strongly. A 13lb hike in the ratings looks a tad harsh, but having won his last 4 races over fences is clearly a horse that is improving rapidly and looks to be going the same way as the stables Present View, that was a decent servant for them.