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 (15th-17th Nov 2019).
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. In 2017, the BetVictor Gold Cup was won by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Splash Of Ginge – a win that gave the yard their third success in the race since 2008 and their four overall. While last year – 2018 – the Gary Moore-trained Baron Alco landed the honours under jockey Jamie Moore.
We take a look at the 2019 renewal from a stats angle – this year run on Saturday 16th November.
2018 – Baron Alco (8/1)
2017 – Splash Of Ginge (25/1)
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)
17/17 – Had run at Cheltenham before
16/17 – Had won over at least 2m4f over fences before
16/17 – Won by a UK-based trainer
13/17 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
12/17 – Had won at Cheltenham before
12/17 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
12/17 – Had won just 2 or 3 times over fences before
11/17 – Trained by Pipe (3), Jonjo O’Neill (3), Nicholls (2) or Twiston-Davies (3)
11/17 – Carried 10-13 or less (But 4 of the last 7 carried 10-13 or more)
11/17 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
9/17 – Won by a horse in the first 3 in the betting
9/17 – Aged 7 years-old
8/17 – Won this on their seasonal reappearance
8/17 – Placed favourites
5/17 – Won their last race
4/17 – Trained by the Pipe stable
4/17 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
3/17 – Winning favourites
3/17 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
3/17 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
3/17 – Ran at Carlisle last time out
2/17 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
1/17 – Irish-trained winners
The last winner aged in double-figures was in 1975
Paul Nicholls has saddled 10 placed horses (two winners, Al Ferof & Caid Du Berlais) from his last 37 runners
The average winning SP in the last 17 years is 10/1
BetVictor Gold Cup Betting Guide and Trends………………………
As we wave goodbye to another flat turf season the focus switches back to the National Hunt game for the next six months or so and, as always, there’s plenty to look forward to.
We get going properly with the jumpers this month with the three-day Cheltenham Open Meeting (15th-17th Nov) – which is many people’s idea of the curtain-raiser fixture for the hedgehoppers.
With three days of top action from Prestbury Park there are many decent races to take in but it’s the BetVictor Gold Cup, which is run on the Saturday, that spearheads the meeting.
In recent years, the likes of Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O’Neill and the Pipe yard have done very well at the meeting overall, while since 1996 those four powerful stables have won the BetVictor Gold Cup a staggering 16 times between them!
However, last year it was the Gary Moore-trained Baron Alco that landed the prize for the time for the yard. If he comes back for more in 2019, he’ll be looking to become the first ‘back-to-back’ winner since Bradbury Star, who won the race in 1993 and 1994.
What are the other main Bet Victor Gold Cup trends to looks for?
Firstly, having previous experience – including winning form, at Cheltenham, is a huge positive. Why? Well, ALL of the last 17 winners had tackled the tough Prestbury Park fences before, while 12 of those 16 (71%) had won a chase race at the track in the past.
Also look for horses that have won before over at least 2m4f (fences) and, also come from a UK-based yard. 16 of the last 17 winners get a thumbs-up on both these trends. While, in terms of Irish-trained winners, it’s worth noting that we’ve seen just the single success from an Irish-based runner in the last 28 runnings (Tranquil Sea, 2009).
Next up is to look at the age as there is a decent pattern building up here. Yes, two of the last three winners were aged 9 years-old so we certainly can’t rule out this age group. However, the better overall record has been with the 6 or 7 year-olds, with 12 of the last 17 winners fitting that age bracket – backed up again last year with the 7 year-old Baron Alco winning. 53% of the last 17 winners were aged 7 years-old.
The final thing to note with the age is to look at the other end of the spectrum. You might want to put a negative cross against the older horses in the race as the last double-figure aged winner was in 1975!
Recent form is worth looking at too as 11 of the last 17 winners recorded a top four finish last time out. But those top four finishes have not always come in a recent race as horses that are making their seasonal reappearances go okay too – 8 of the last 17 winners took this after a lay-off.
The lightly-raced, or less exposed runners, have the better record too, with 71% of the last 17 winners having only had 2 or 3 previous wins over fences – suggesting the younger, more unexposed chasers are the ones to focus on.
With the race being a handicap then it’s worth looking at the past weight of recent winners as well. With 11 of the last 17 winners carrying 10st-13lbs or less, backed-up again in the last two years with the winners carrying just 10-6 and 10-11 to victory.
The final trend to note is the betting market. It’s generally a race the punters get right so any support for runners in the build-up should be respected. 13 of the last 17 winners won at 12/1 or shorter in the betting, while even though the favourites have won just three of the last 17 (18%), with the winners tending to be priced 12/1 or less (last year’s winner returned 8/1) then it’s still the horses in the first four or five in the market that command the most respect.
So, once we know the final runners and taking all these trends into account, then these should certainly help narrow the field down. Of course, it doesn’t always pan out as the stats suggest, but if trends are your thing then there are certainly some meaty ones to get stuck into ahead of this race.
Don’t forget about the good records of the Pipe, Nicholls, O’Neill and Twiston-Davies stables too, so if any of their runners are also aged 6 or 7 years-old, plus also have past course experience, recorded a top four finish last time out and are 12/1 or less in the betting ………………….then don’t ignore them!
We saw the Gary Moore yard win the race 12 months ago with Baron Alco and they will be trying to add to that success with Dell Oro. However, it’s a prize that’s been dominated by the Jonjo O’Neill, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls and Pipe yard in recent years – between them, they’ve won 11 of the last 17 renewals! O’Neill doesn’t have runner, but Pipe has Warthog & Eamon An Cnoic, who was 5th in this race last year, Nicholls has Magic Saint & Brelan D’As, while Twiston-Davies saddles his 2017 winner, Splash Of Ginge and COUNT MERIBEL (e/w). And it’s the last-named that catches the eye. This 7 year-old returned to the track last month with a fair second to the useful Lostintranslation up at Carlisle, plus was a Novice Chase winner at this meeting last season. Looking at his form, he seems to act on any ground and also stays a bit further than this 2m4f, which will help in conditions. He also ticks most of the main trends, while this 7 year-old also seems to have a good record at this time of the year – 4 of his 5 career wins have been in November – the other came in October! Of the rest, Festival winner – Siruh Du Lac – was a gutsy winner of the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase back in March and there is a chance we’ve not got to the bottom of him yet, having won 6 of his 8 chase starts. Lizzie Kelly is back to ride and can claim 3lbs too, but he is 9lbs higher than last time out. Spiritofthegames (3rd) and Eamon An Cnoic (4th) also ran well at that same Festival race last March and cases can certainly be made for them too. Slate House has been popular in the betting all week for the Colin Tizzard yard. He’s a prove CD winner after winning well here last month on heavy ground so conditions are fine, but he is up a big-looking 12lbs for that. It would be no shock to see him run well, but he’s got a bit to prove still and the value looks to have gone anyway. GUITAR PETE was a solid third in the race last year and returned a few weeks ago to win well at Wetherby. He beat Happy Diva, who also runs here, but 3 ½ lengths, so should be able to confirm that form on just 2lbs worse terms. With 13 top three finishes from his 23 runs over fences then he’s a consistent sort that is sure to run his race again, despite being rated 4lbs higher than 12 months ago in this race. Saint Calvados was a nice winner here last month too, but the step up from 2m to 2m4f here is a bit of a question mark – he’s the top-rated in the field, but as a result has 11-12 to carry and that won’t be easy in conditions and over a trip he’s not proven at. Nicholls’ Brelan D’As unseated in their Saint Calvados race, so has to bounce back, but with only 10-5 in weight can’t be ruled out with Barry Geragthy riding too. However, it’s the other Nicholls runner – MAGIC SAINT (e/w) that might be worth chancing too. This 5 year-old might lack a bit of experience but Nicholls won this race with a horse the same age in 2014. He’s also had a wind op since last season and has won in heavy ground in France. The trip is a slight unknown, but he has won over 2m2f and run 2nd over 2m5f to suggest it’s within range. He’s also a horse that’s gone well off a break and, as mentioned, the Nicholls camp love to target this race so is sure to be tuned-up and ready to go.