Winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the dream of just about every national hunt owner, trainer, and jockey, whilst punters just love backing the winners of big races. So, we thought we’d try and use some statistics to try and find the most likely winner of the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Retaining The Cheltenham Gold Cup
Native River was an impressive winner of the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup but, though he has a progressive profile, it’s more common for the form of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners to be regressive.
You need to go back to Best Mate, who scored a hat-trick of Gold Cup wins 2003 to 2005 to find the last winner to retain his title the following year. Other horses that have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in consecutive years include Easter Hero 1929 and 1930, Golden Miller 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936, Cottage Rake 1948, 1949, and 1950, Arkle 1964, 1965, and 1966, and L’Escargot 1970 and 1971.
Regaining The Cheltenham Gold Cup
If you think winning consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup is difficult, then the statistics suggest it is way harder for a horse to lose the following year after Gold Cup victory and then return and win it in another year.
The only horse to ever achieve this feat is Kauto Star, who won his first Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 before being beaten by stablemate Denman in 2008 and returning in 2009 to regain his title.
The only horses that could feasibly do that this year are the 2015 winner Coneygree and the 2017 winner Sizing John, though the stats suggest that odds are stacked against them.
It’s Tough When You’re Young and Old
There have been two six-year-old winners since 1963, with Mill House and Long Run both being very special horses that had fully-matured by that age. That’s not the case with most six-year-olds, so it’s often wise to bet against horses from that age group.
It’s also not easy to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup if you’ve hit double-figures, with the last winning 10-year-old being Cool Dawn in 1998. In the 18 renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup this century, one winner was aged six, five winners were aged seven, seven winners were aged eight, and five winners were aged nine.
It’s Not Ideal to Run in the Betfair Chase
Since its inception in 2005, Haydock’s Betfair Chase has quickly established itself as England’s third highest-profile three-mile chase, after the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George. However, whilst plenty of winners have gone on to win the King George in the same season, only Kauto Star in 2006 has so far managed to win the Betfair Chase and the Cheltenham Gold in the same season.
In fact, most Cheltenham Gold Cup winners avoided the Betfair Chase altogether. That could be a significant statistic with the high-profile Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders like Native River, Might Bite, Bristol De Mai, Thistlecrack, Clan Des Obeaux, Shattered Love, Politilogue, Outlander, and Don Poli all possible runners.
Different Routes Taken to Gold Cup Success
There’s no perfect preparation for a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, but the winners this century do throw up some interesting statistics.
One of the biggest strike rates belongs to the winners of the previous season’s RSA Chase. Looks Like Trouble, Denman, Bobs Worth, and Lord Windermere all returned to win the Gold Cup the year after winning the RSA Chase, whilst Long Run won the Gold Cup after finishing third in the RSA Chase the year before.
Several Gold Cup winners had also run in the previous season’s Arkle including Kicking King (second), War Of Attrition (second), Kauto Star (fell), and Sizing John (Second). Meanwhile, Imperial Commander had won the previous season’s Ryanair Chase, whilst Don Cossack had been third in the Ryanair.
You also get real flies in the ointment like Coneygree, who won the Gold Cup in his novice season. Native River and Kauto Star are the only two horses to place (without winning) in the previous season’s Gold Cup to comeback and win it the following year.
Who Might Win The 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup?
Might Bite is favourite to win the 2017 Gold Cup with many bookies, but he will have to buck a variety of trends if he is to do. He’ll be 10 come March, whilst he’s set to take in the Betfair Chase, and his odds don’t suggest he’s value to become only the third winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup to come back and win it the following year.
Native River also looks too short a price to become only the second Gold Cup winner to retain his title. However, it’s easy to argue that Presenting Percy could be overpriced considering that four of the last 18 Gold Cup winners have won the previous season’s RSA Chase. He also loves Cheltenham, having won over hurdles at the previous year’s Cheltenham Festival, and has proven his stamina over a longer trip.
Road To Respect is another that ran in last year’s Gold Cup, as did Anibale Fly and Total Recall, whilst Bellshill has yet to really take to Cheltenham, but could be improving. Meanwhile, Sizing John would have to become only the second horse to regain his Gold Cup crown.
However, one horse that looks massively overpriced if connections decide his future is over three-miles is Footpad. Last year’s Arkle winner has already proven he stays three miles over hurdles and, after getting outpaced on his seasonal debut over two-miles, 25/1 could be great value for a horse with plenty of class and an excellent Cheltenham Festival pedigree.
Another horse that could be massively overpriced is Waiting Patiently. Admittedly, he missed last year’s Cheltenham Festival, but was a strong fancy for the Ryanair Chase. He’s 8/1 second-favourite for the King George on Boxing Day, so don’t expect the 33/1 for the Gold Cup to last long of he wins that.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Value Tips
Presenting Percy – 1pt win @ 7.00 Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betfair, PaddyPower, Coral
Footpad – 1pt win @ 26.00 Bet365, Ladbrokes, Blacktype
Waiting Patiently – 1pt win @ 34.00 Bet365, Betfair, PaddyPower, Unibet
Odds Correct at Time of Publication