Gold Cup

The Blue Riband has seen the winner come from the first three in the betting for 14 of the last 15 years

Cheltenham Gold Cup: 2m, Friday, March 18, 3:30pm

Key Stat:  There has been no winner aged 10-plus since 1998

Arguably the feature race of the entire Festival and there are some pretty strong trends to go on in what looks a very-open year. The bookies usually call this one right with 14 of the last 15 winners to be found in the first three in the betting.

Only two of the last 16 winners didn’t contest the King George VI at Kempton (where Cue Card nabbed Vautour on the line after Don Cossack fell two out when appearing in many peoples to have the winner covered) or the Lexus Chase won by Don Poli at Leopardstown on December 28.

That’s a strong starting point when you see that second-season chasers have won 12 of the last 24 Gold Cups (this points to Don Poli) from low representation and that 13 of the last 15 winners, either won or finished second last time out.

No horse has broken their Grade 1 duck in the Gold Cup in the last 16 contests (which isn’t great for fans of Smad Place) and there has been no winner aged 10 or over from 69 triers since 1988. Not a great stat for England’s great hope Cue Card.

Although 11 of the last 15 winners had finished first or second at the Festival, 10 of the last 11 winners were running in the Gold Cup for the first time  – a negative trend that last season’s second and third, Djakadam and Road To Riches, will have to overcome.

With regards to official ratings, of the last 15 winners, only War Of Attrition and Lord Windermere failed to enter the race with a rating of 166+.

Other stats to take on board are that 24 of the last 28 winners finished in the first four last time out, only two winners since 1997 had failed to win earlier in the season and nine of the last 14 winners had not run in the same calendar year.

What do you think?