Who Will Win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2023

Each of the four days on offer at the Cheltenham Festival is an absolute cracker, with the meeting boasting the largest collection of Grade 1 contests of the entire racing season. However, for many racing fans, the best is very much saved until last, with the closing Friday of the fixture being lit up by the staying chase spectacular that is the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The signature event of the meeting has been dominated by the Irish in recent times, with the 2022 success of A Plus Tard seeing the trophy taken back across the Irish Sea for the fourth year in succession. Will it be more of the same this year? Or can one of the British runners strike a blow for the home team?

Here we take a look at the race from a trend's perspective using data presented by Newbettingsites.uk, highlighting the runners most likely to claim one of the most prestigious events of the jumping season.

Age of Winner

Cheltenham Gold Cup - Age of winners

7 to 9 years of age seems to be the sweet spot in this race. There have of course been exceptions, but only one winner has been aged six or younger since 1963, and the last winner older than ten came back in 1969. Unfortunately, that age trend doesn't help too much when looking at this year's field, with 21 of the 23 current entries falling into the 7 to 9 age bracket – the only exceptions being the 12-year-old Coole Cody, and the 10-year-old, Minella Indo, who took this in 2021.

Those seeking to narrow the age range down a little further may wish to focus on the 8-9 group, with just over 53% of all winners falling into that bracket. Amongst the fancied runners to fit the bill are defending champion A Plus Tard, King George winner, Bravemansgame, and Grand National hero, Noble Yeats.

Trainer Trends: Nicholls Leads the Way

Cheltenham Gold Cup top trainers

Having won the race with Kauto Star (2007, 2009), Denman (2008) and See More Business (1999), Paul Nicholls is only one win behind Tom Dreaper in the all-time trainer's list. Nicholls's chances of drawing level with the legendary trainer of Arkle rest on the broad shoulders of Bravemansgame.

Of the other trainers represented this year, Henry De Bromhead, Nicky Henderson, and Willie Mullins all boast two wins apiece. Henry De Bromhead looks set to be represented by the two most recent winners of the race, Minella Indo and A Plus Tard, in addition to Envoi Allen. Nicky Henderson's hopes for a third Gold Cup are dependent upon whether Shishkin runs here or in the Ryanair. Willie Mullins, meanwhile, has four amongst the current field, headed up by the hot favourite for the race, Galopin Des Champs.

Fancied Runners Fare Well

This race could never be accused of being predictable, but those towards the head of the market have come out on top more often than not in recent years. Looking at the past ten editions of the race, only two winners have returned a double-figure SP. Four favourites have come home in front over that same period, handing jolly backers a profit of £53 to £10 level stakes.

Previous Festival Form a Positive

Previous Festival Form a Positive

Year Horse Previous Festival Form 2013 Bobs Worth Won Albert Bartlett, Won RSA 2014 Lord Windermere Won RSA 2015 Coneygree None 2016 Don Cossack Fell RSA, 3rd Ryanair 2017 Sizing John 3rd Supreme, 2nd Arkle 2018 Native River Unplaced Albert Bartlett, 2nd NH Chase, 3rd Gold Cup 2019 Al Boum Photo Fell RSA 2020 Al Boum Photo Fell RSA, Won Gold Cup 2021 Minella Indo Won Albert Bartlett, 2nd RSA 2022 A Plus Tard Won Close Brothers, 3rd Ryanair, 2nd Gold Cup

At least some experience of the high-octane festival atmosphere seems to count as a plus in this race, with all bar one of the past ten winners having run at a previous Cheltenham Festival. Of the nine with festival experience, five had previously won at the meeting, and five had run in the RSA Chase (now known as the Brown Advisory Novices Chase).

The previous Festival scorers in this year's field are A Plus Tard, Coole Cody, Envoi Allen, Galopin Des Champs, Galvin, Minella Indo, Shishkin and Stattler. Those to have run in the equivalent of the RSA Chase are, Ahoy Senor, Capodanno, and Minella Indo.

Other Factors

  • Lightly Raced Runners are at an advantage - 19 of the past 22 winners had 12 or fewer chase starts to their name.
  • Arriving in Form - 9 of the past 11 winners had won last time out.
  • Proven in Class - Each of the past 20 winners had previously won at Grade 1 level.

Summary: Galopin to Gold and Ahoy in with a Shout

As a seven-year-old, Galopin Des Champs may fall just outside the absolute ideal age range, but otherwise, there's plenty to like about the current favourite for the race. Five from six over fences, his only defeat came when falling at the last in the Turners' Novices Chase here twelve months ago, with the race at his mercy. Lightly raced and going for a trainer who knows what it takes to succeed in this, he was most impressive in the Irish version of this race last time out and may take some stopping at odds of 6/4 with Fitzdares.

With Shiskin surely more likely to tackle the Ryanair, Bravemansgame, Hewick, and Ahoy Senor rank amongst the more interesting each-way options. Of that trio, the last named is the most appealing betting option for our money. Eight years of age, with 10 chase starts to his name, and a winner last time out, he ticks many of the trend's boxes. The fact that he was second in last season's Brown Advisory Novices Chase also counts as a plus, with that contest having proven such a good pointer to this event in recent times. A winner over just short of this trip at this track last time out, he looks solid each-way value at 12/1 with Fitzdares.

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