There are plenty of ways to pick your selection for the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup. One of the most popular is by using historical trends.
By taking factors into account such as age, past odds, and seasonal runs, it’s possible to rule out certain entries and favour others. We’ve looked back at the last 10 years at some of the best indicators when picking a Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup horse.
8 of the last 10 winners were aged eight or nine-years-old
The Gold Cup is a gruelling 3m 2f slog. It takes a special horse to have the stamina and tenacity required to win the famous old pot. Experience is a big part of that.
Eight of the last 10 were aged eight or nine-years-old, with Sizing John (2017) and Long Run (2011) the only exceptions since 2009. Golden Miller (1928) was the last five-year-old to win, while only five six-year-olds have triumphed since 1924.
Seven-year-olds experience slightly more success with five winners since 1997, but it’s the eight and nine bracket which is the golden age for Gold Cup victory.
8 of the last 10 winners went off at 7/1 or shorter
The starting price is something that can only be judged on the day. History shows that in a race of such class it’s better to stick near the top of the market.
Lord Windermere is the only raider this millennium to win at a double-figure price – Jim Culloty’s charge triumphing at 20/1 in 2014. At the other end of the scale, favourites don’t always prevail.
Only five SP favourites have won the race since 2005, with Don Cossack being the last in 2016. Stay near the top, but don’t fly too close to the sun.
8 of the last 10 winners had won their previous race
Prep-runs are important – as we’ll come onto. But it’s also important to have winning form.
Outsider Lord Windermere (2014) and Imperial Commander (2010) are the only two winners in the last 10 years not to have tasted success in the run immediately prior to their Gold Cup win.
7 of the last 10 winners have been trained in England
Historically, Irish trainers don’t tend to have a great deal of luck in the Gold Cup. Only three have trained the winner of the race since 2007. More recently, though, that has shown signs of changing.
Jim Culloty, Gordon Elliott, Jessica Harrington have all saddled the winner in the last five years. Top trainer Willie Mullins has never won the Gold Cup – although he has game chances this time around.
6 of the last 10 winners had run three or four times that season
It’s important to get a Gold Cup horse just right. You don’t want them to be over or undercooked. In recent times three or four prep-runs have proved the magic number.
Six of the last 10 had run three or four times in the same season, while that extends to four in five over the last half-decade. Native River (2018) and Bobs Worth (2013) are the only two to win in the last decade off the back of one prep-run.
Important recent big race indicators include the King George VI Chase at Kempton, the Kinlock Brae Chase at Thurles and the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.
4 of the last 10 winners had an official rating of 166 and 167
Official ratings provide an indicator of just how good a horse is. However, the highest-rated don’t always win the Gold Cup. More recently a mid-160s rating has been popular over the 3m 2f distance.
Native River (166), Sizing John (167) and Coneygree (166) have all triumphed in the last four years.
Higher ratings aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But try and avoid anything too low. Lord Windermere (152) is the only winner off a mark below 166 to triumph in the last 10 years.
4 of the last 10 winners had run 36 days or less prior to the race
We’ve already ascertained how important prep-runs are in the Gold Cup. It’s also key to schedule them at the right time. Again, it’s the issue of leaving a horse under or overcooked.
Four of the last five winners had their last run 33-36 days prior to the Gold Cup. Meanwhile, only two have won in the last decade off a break of more than 80 days or more.
With the condition of the ground providing issues both in the UK and Ireland this season, prep-runs closer to the Festival are expected this time around.
Click here for all our 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication