Last Year's Winner: Taquin Du Seuil
- Aidan Coleman
- Jonjo O'Nell
- 11st 11lb
- Starting Price:
- Season Form Figures:
- Previous Best:
- 1st - JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1), Cheltenham Festival (March 2014)
The rain fell just in time last season for Taquin du Seuil to continue the winning run of chasers with winning Cheltenham form already in the bag hailing from a top southern stable that were towards the head of the market which now reads 19 winners in the last quarter of a century. The money came for him after the ground turned in his favour meaning that 35 of the last 45 winners could be found in the first four in the betting which is some going for a handicap of this competitive nature.
Once we have our very-fancied runner, we should then focus our attention on those with at least one piece of quality track form. Taquin du Seuil was a dual novice chase winner at Cheltenham including at the Festival earlier in his career but he was having his 15th chase start which is more than the norm as all bar one of the previous dozen winners had run less than ten times over fences.
He also became the first winner in 14 years not to be a second or third-season chaser and led home a 1-2-3 for nine-year-olds which certainly went against the grain as young horses usually dominate the race. Annacotty won at the age of seven the previous year and prior to his success the first three home in 2014 were aged no older than eight, the previous year the first three home were aged no older than seven which followed a year after the first five home were aged no older than eight. Moreover, in 2012, five of the first six past the post were aged no older than seven following on from a 1-2-3-4-5 in 2011.
Taquin du Seuil continued the winning run of chasers with winning Cheltenham form already in the bag hailing from a top southern stable that were towards the head of the market which now reads 19 winners in the last quarter of a century.
Given that no horse aged ten or older has won since 1975 and that none have even placed since the former Champion Hurdler, Beech Road in 1993, it should be safe to overlook such contenders for win and each-way purposes.
Eighteen of last 19 winners who had recorded a success at Prestbury Park before had won here over 2½ miles or further. The 2010, 2011 and 2014 winners were winning at Cheltenham for the first time in their careers which takes some gloss of this statistic but there can be no doubt that a strong piece of course form is a big positive. Fifteen of the last 18 winners ran in a chase at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival (excluding the Foot-and-Mouth abandoned year).
Eight of the last 15 winners were having their seasonal debut including all three of Jonjo O’Neill’s winners. Of the six most recent winners to have run earlier in the campaign, three had contested the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle where they finished 211.
Irish-based raiders had to wait 30 years for their next BetVictor Gold Cup winner since Bright Highway back in 1980 when Tranquil Sea justified favouritism seven seasons ago and the North have landed just one renewal since 1983 with L’Antartique so it has been the southern-based stables and notably the powerful southern-based stables that have been very difficult to beat. Martin Pipe trained eight winners and his son, David, got on the board for the first time six years ago with Great Endeavour. Nigel Twiston-Davies gears his stable up for this three-day meeting and has won two of the last nine runnings in addition to Tipping Tim’s success in 1992 but also note Jonjo O’Neill who has won three of the last 11 renewals and Johns Spirit was narrowly denied three years ago off top weight on testing ground.
Alan King had four placed runners from his previous ten runners until Annacotty landed him the spoils two years ago and although Philip Hobbs may have only saddled one winner (Joint Sovereignty in 1989), six of his last 15 runners have placed, three at double-figure prices, including Village Vic who was narrowly beaten into second last season. Paul Nicholls finally got the monkey off his back five years ago having previously been 0-23 including three seconds though Granit Jack looked all set to do just that until falling fatally in 2007, and Caid du Berlais gave him a second victory three years ago.
When Al Ferof won five years ago off a handicap mark of as big as 159, he became the highest-rated winner heading into the race for 17 years (Dublin Flyer won off 163 in 1995). Prior to his victory in 2012, four of the previous five winners were rated between 146-148 - the exception being Imperial Commander who ran off 139. Five of the last ten winners were officially rated between 146-148.
At a glance summary
- Winning course form
- Dominated by powerful southern-based stables
- Start in the first four in the betting
- Contested a chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival
- Officially rated between 146-148
- Having seasonal debut or contested the Colin Parker Memorial Chase
- Oppose horses aged 10+
- Ten runs or more over fences
- No top-four finish at Cheltenham