Jumps Season - At The Races

BetVictor Gold Cup

    Cheltenham, Saturday 12th November 2016.
  • Stats Guides

Last Year's Winner: Annacotty

Annacotty
Jockey:
Ian Popham
Trainer:
A King
Age:
7
Weight:
11st 0lb
Starting Price:
12/1
Season Form Figures:
First run
Previous Best:
1st - Kauto Star Novices' Chase, Kempton (Dec 2013)

We have a new sponsor but the there is little point in changing our thought process for winning finding in the first major handicap of the season as the profile of winners has been set in stone for a number of years.

In a nutshell, look to a progressive, young chaser with winning Cheltenham form already in the bag from a top southern stable that is towards the head of the market like 18 of the last 24 winners. Last year’s winner, Annacotty, was another to fit that profile.

The market has been a tremendous guide. Of the last 44 winners as many as 34 could be found in the first four in the betting which is some going for a handicap of this competitive nature. The first five horses home two years ago could be found in the first six in the betting.

Once we have our very-fancied runner, we should then focus our attention on those with at least one piece of quality track form. Annacotty had won on Cheltenham Trails Day 21 months before his triumph last season. All bar one of the last 18 winners to have 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. Fourteen of the last 17 winners ran in a chase at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival (excluding the Foot-and-Mouth abandoned year).

All bar one of the last dozen winners had run less than ten times over fences so concentrate on second and third-season chasers as they have ruled the roost in no uncertain fashion winning the last 13 runnings.

Look to a progressive, young chaser with winning Cheltenham form already in the bag from a top southern stable that is towards the head of the market like 18 of the last 24 winners.

The first three home two years ago 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.

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.

Eight of the last 14 winners were having their seasonal debut. Of the five 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 Paddy Power Gold Cup winner since Bright Highway back in 1980 when Tranquil Sea justified favouritism six 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 five years ago with Great Endeavour. Nigel Twiston-Davies gears his stable up for this three-day meeting and has won two of the last eight runnings in addition to Tipping Tim’s success in 1992 but also note Jonjo O’Neill who has won two of the last ten renewals and Johns Spirit was narrowly denied two 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 last season and although Philip Hobbs may have only saddled one winner (Joint Sovereignty in 1989), five of his last 14 runners have placed, three at double-figure prices.

Paul Nicholls finally got the monkey off his back four 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 two years ago.

When Al Ferof won four 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 and148 - the exception being Imperial Commander who ran off 139. Five of the last nine winners were officially rated between 146 and148.

At a glance summary

Positives
Dominated by powerful southern-based stables
Start in the first four in the betting
Winning course form
Contested a chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival
Four of the last seven winners were officially rated between 146 and 148
Having seasonal debut or contested the Colin Parker Memorial Chase
Negatives
Oppose horses aged 10+
Ten runs or more over fences
No top-four finish at Cheltenham

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