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Cheltenham Gold Cup 2024 Trends For The Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 15 mins

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2024 Trends For The Cheltenham Festival

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Picking out the winner of a race like the Cheltenham Gold Cup is not an easy task, but trends can seriously help narrow down the field! We've worked out the most important Gold Cup trends from the last 10 editions of the race for you, and used them to find the best horses to follow right now for the 2024 running of this famous chase.

2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup Trends

The last 10 winners:

  • Were aged no older than nine (last winner aged older was 1998)
  • Had run at Cheltenham before
  • Had run in at least three chases
  • Had won at least two chases
  • Had won a Grade 1 before
  • Had won on a left-handed track
  • Had not run for at least 33 days before the Gold Cup, but had run at least once that season
  • Last ran in Ireland or at Newbury
  • Did not wear blinkers, a hood or similar, though Don Cossack and A Plus Tard wore tongue ties

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Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Won last time out or were beaten no more than a short head, or last won at the last Cheltenham Festival (exception Minella Indo finished sixth)
  • Had won over at least 3m before (Al Boum Photo's 2019 win was his first over more than 2m5f)
  • Were officially rated 164 or higher (Lord Windermere was 152)
  • Had won at least three chases (exception Lord Windermere was a Cheltenham Festival winner)
  • Had won at least once that season (Lord Windermere had not)
  • Had run in at least five chases (exception Coneygree was an unbeaten novice)

Eight of the last 10 winners:

  • Were not the highest-rated in the field (exceptions Galopin Des Champs and Al Boum Photo's second win)
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Key Trials in the last 10 years

  • Four of the last 10 winners last ran in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup in February at Leopardstown (Sizing John, Lord Windermere, Minella Indo and Galopin Des Champs), though only Sizing John and Galopin Des Champs won both, despite nine of the last 10 Irish Gold Cup winners next running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. This year's winner was Galopin Des Champs again.
  • The winner of the Grade 2 Denman Chase at Newbury in February has followed up twice in the last eight years (Native River and Coneygree). Only four winners have attempted the Gold Cup in the last 10 years, achieving those two wins and two thirds. Shishkin won in 2024.
  • Traditionally, the Grade 1 King George VI Chase in December has been a good trial, but it's last winner was Long Run in 2011. Five runners have been placed since (Lostintranslation, Bristol De Mai, Might Bite, Long Run and Bravemansgame). Fairytale bargain-buy Hewick won in 2023.
  • The Grade 2 Cotswold Chase in January at Cheltenham has only produced two placed horses in the past 10 years (Santini and The Giant Bolster). Eight winners in that period have next run in the Gold Cup. Capodanno, most likely bound for the Ryanair Chase, was the 2024 winner.
  • Al Boum Photo has been kept to calmer waters away from the festival. His warm-up race before victories in 2019 and 2020 was the Grade 3 Savills Chase at Tramore on New Year’s Day. He also ran in this race before his 2021 third and 2022 sixth. It was won this year by Jungle Boogie.
  • 2022 winner A Plus Tard revived what was once among the most popular last runs of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners when winning the Savills Chase in December before his Festival victory. Synchronised went this route in 2012, as did War Of Attrition in 2006 and the mighty Best Mate did too before his third and final Gold Cup win in 2004. Nine of the last 10 winners of this Leopardstown Grade 1 have next run in the Gold Cup gaining four placings and one win. Galopin Des Champs won in 2023.
  • Looking at past Cheltenham Festival performances, Arkle Novices' Chase winners now tend to run in the Champion or Ryanair Chases, but five of the last 10 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase winners have contested the next year's Gold Cup, Lord Windermere winning and two placing (Might Bite (2018) and Don Poli (2016)). The Real Whacker in 2023.

 

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Trainer Trends

  • No modern trainer has saddled more than Paul Nicholls's four winners. His last winner was 2009, but he's had placed horses since and remains worth following.
  • Trainers based in Ireland have won the last five renewals and eight of the last 10.
  • Henry De Bromhead saddled the first two home in the 2022 and 2021, Minella Indo beating A Plus Tard in 2021 and the roles being reversed in 2022. He also saddled Monalee to be fourth in 2020 and has only had seven runners in the field. 
  • Willie Mullins' first Gold Cup winner was Al Boum Photo in 2019 and he followed up in 2020, finishing third in 2021. That was his sixth placed runner in the race in the last 10 years. Irish Gold Cup hero Galopin Des Champs won in 2023 to give him a third win, and he is favourite to score again.
  • Gordon Elliott also has a good record, with one winner (Don Cossack) from seven runners. Conflated finished third for him in 2023.
  • Nicky Henderson has not saddled a winner since Bobs Worth in 2013. 

Jockey Trends

  • Thanks to Al Boum Photo and Galopin Des Champs, Paul Townend is the only current jockey to win the race more than once in recent history.
  • Nico de Boinville won the race on Coneygree in 2015 and very nearly doubled up on the fast-finishing Santini in 2020.

How did the trends do last year?

Applying the key Gold Cup trends to the 2023 Gold Cup entries whittled the field down to just four contenders Galopin Des Champs, A Plus Tard, Bravemansgame, and Conflated.

Galopin Des Champs, Bravemansgame and Conflated filled the first three places, with defending champion A Plus Tard pulling up before three out. The ground was a lot more testing than he would have liked, and this was his third Gold Cup on the bounce. Competing at that level takes its toll, which is why so few horses have won more than one Gold Cup.

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Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

Leading the trends picks at this stage is the favourite and defending champion Galopin Des Champs, who has been foot perfect since his victory winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December and the Irish Gold Cup at the same track in February.

However, defending champion Fastorslow is also a strong trends pick, having beaten Galopin Des Champs at Punchestown last April and finished a very close second in two Cheltenham Festival handicap chases. He is a dual Grade 1 winner over fences and is not without a chance, particularly of a placing.

Gerri Colombe, second in last year's Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at the Festival, ticks all the boxes, but was beaten 23 lengths by Galopin Des Champs in December and has not run since. 

It's worth noting that only two horses aged older than nine have won the race in the past 32 years and none since Cool Dawn in 1998. Shishkin is now aged 10.

Plus, there's only one Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in this race's 100-year history that came back from a defeat in the race to win it again - Kauto Star in 2009.

2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup Odds

2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup Result

PositionNamePriceTrainerJockey
1stGalopin Des Champs7/5fWillie MullinsPaul Townend
2ndBravemansgame6/1Paul NichollsHarry Cobden
3rdConflated22/1Gordon ElliottSam Ewing

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.