King of Stats: Indian Castle to rule in Paddy Power Gold Cup

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In a race that, on paper, looks incredibly competitive you could be forgiven for thinking that big priced winners were commonplace. Unfortunately you would be wrong.

In fact, of the last 42 runnings of the Paddy Power Gold Cup under its various titles, 34 have been claimed by the first eight in the betting.

So the first thing we can do is to follow the market, and rule out the outsiders. In this case we will concentrate on the ten shortest priced runners, to allow for betting moves.

Course form is also paramount, with 18 of the last 22 winner previously tasting success at Cheltenham.

Of our 10, four have not won at Prestbury Park.

Easter Meteor hasn’t enjoyed the best of times at the Gloucestershire venue with form figures of 024PF6B there, while Shanpallas was beaten 50l on his only foray at the course.

We can forgive Colour Squadron and Uxizandre as they have both gone close in decent races there before.

What we cannot let the former off for, though, is the fact that he is still a maiden over fences.

You have to go back 22 years to find a winner that has not won a Class 2 over the larger obstacles, let alone a chase at all.

It also becomes apparent that to find the winner of this race, you need to be looking for a younger, improving type, with the last 11 victors having fewer than 10 runs over fences before taking their place in the contest.

Last year’s winner John’s Spirit and Rajdhani Express both fall foul of this stat, and look unlikely to pull out a huge amount of improvement.

We are left with five now, and can cut another two when we take into account that all of the last 10 winners were rated between 139 and 149, a standout trend.

This, by our accounts, puts paid to the chances of Uxizandre and Oscar Whisky who could be too high in the weights.

Of our remaining trio, there is some form that ties in nicely.

Favourite Present View (6/1) finished 7l ahead of Buywise (8/1) at the festival, and is now 5lbs better at the weights than that time.

Evan William’s seven-year-old does have wins to his name on very testing ground, which we are likely to get, but it may be too much to ask to turn the tables on his March conqueror off these terms.

And while the current jolly looks a solid enough pick, we are going to try and squeeze a little bit more out of our selection with INDIAN CASTLE (12/1) available at double the price.

A new inmate at Ian Williams’ yard, he will be making his seasonal appearance, but that should not put punters off, with the six-year-old previously winning twice after a long break.

He had the runaway Feltham Novices’ Chase winner Annacotty behind him when running out a nice winner here in January, and probably didn’t get home in the Kim Muir over 3m1f when well fancied.

A drop back in trip is sure to suit and he looks one to have an each-way poke on from near the bottom of the weights.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.