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Cheltenham Gold Cup 2023 Trends

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 10 mins

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2023 Trends

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Need some help finding the winner of the 2023 edition of the Cheltenham Gold Cup? Well, look no further because our team of experts at Bookies.com have done the hard work for you by pinpointing the most critical trends and pointers from the last 10 renewals in order to help you find the winner of the festival’s blue-riband contest.

2023 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
  • Won last time out or were beaten no more than a short head, or last won at the last Cheltenham Festival
  • 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

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Had won over at least 3m before (Al Boum Photo's 2019 win was his first over more than 2m5f)
  • Were not the highest rated horse in the field (exception Al Boum Photo was joint highest rated in 2020)
  • 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)

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Key Trials in the last 10 years

  • Three of the last 10 winners last ran in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup in February at Leopardstown (Sizing John, Lord Windermere and Minella Indo), though only Sizing John won both. In fact, nine of the last 10 Irish Gold Cup winners have next run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and aside from Sizing John, only one has finished in the first three, Sir Des Champs. Last year's winner fell in the Ryanair Chase (Conflated), this year's winner was Galopin Des Champs.
  • 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 six winners have attempted the Gold Cup in the last 11 years, achieving those two wins and two thirds. Zanza won in 2023.
  • 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. Four runners have been placed since (Lostintranslation, Bristol De Mai, Might Bite and Long Run). The Paul Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame won in 2022.
  • The Grade 2 Cotswold Chase in January at Cheltenham has only produced two placed horses in the past 10 years (Santini, The Giant Bolster). Eight winners in that period have next run in the Gold Cup. Ahoy Senor was the 2022 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 2021 Gold Cup hero Minella Indo with Stattler in second.
  • 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 at Cheltenham's December meeting 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 11 winners of this Leopardstown Grade 1 have next run in the Gold Cup gaining three placings and two wins. Conflated won in 2022.
  • Looking at past Cheltenham Festival performances, Arkle Novices' Chase winners now tend to run in the Champion or Ryanair Chases, but six of the last 10 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase winners have contested the next year's Gold Cup, two winning (Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere) and two placing (Might Bite and Don Poli). L'Homme Presse won in 2022.

 

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, with King George winner Bravemansgame his entry this year.
  • Trainers based in Ireland have won six of the last seven renewals.
  • Henry De Bromhead has saddled the first two home in the last two renewals, 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. He could field Minella Indo and A Plus Tard again.
  • 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 is his big 2023 hope,
  • Nicky Henderson has saddled one winner (Bobs Worth) and four placed horses from 12 runners in the last 10 years. Shishkin is entered for 2023 but favourite for the Ryanair Chase.
  • Gordon Elliott also has a good record, with one winner (Don Cossack) from six runners. He has Leopardstown Grade 1 winners Galvin and Conflated for 2023.

Jockey Trends

  • Thanks to Al Boum Photo, 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?

Minella Indo was primed to win back-to-back Gold Cups, but was pipped by stablemate A Plus Tard, who he had beaten 12 months earlier.

With three Grade 1 chase wins, a Cheltenham Festival victory and a second in the Gold Cup, A Plus Tard did fit the bill and ticked a lot of boxes, but it was a worry that he was wearing a tongue tie.

With only one other winner in the last 10 years (Don Cossack) wearing a tongue tie, it was a negative and Minella Indo had to be the top pick on trends.

Third Protektorat had won a Grade 1 chase, had won at Cheltenham, had won over at least 3m before and had won racing left-handed, but was also fitted with a tongue tie.

A short head behind him in fourth was Galvin, who was a very strong trends pick having won the Savills Chase at Leopardstown, Grade 2 National Hunt Chase at the previous Festival and been second on his only other chase outing at the Festival.

It was also a plus that he was trained by top race trainer Gordon Elliott and was not wearing and accessories.

Chantry House and Tornado Flyer were also noted for ticking a lot of trends boxes, but both had last run in two of the Gold Cup's least successful trials. Both pulled up at Cheltenham.

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Who Fits The Trends Best In 2023?

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

Leading the trends picks at this stage is the favourite Galopin Des Champs, who won the race's best trial, the Irish Gold Cup by eight lengths.

However, defending champion A Plus Tard is also a strong trends pick, not forgetting his impeccable record at Cheltenham, which is a key strength to win any Festival race.

Having never run over fences at Cheltenham and won a trial that has had little recent success, Bravemansgame is a weaker selection, but does tick every trends box.

Conflated's poor Cheltenham form is also a big trends negative.

Stattler, trained by Willie Mullins to be second to Galopin Des Champs last time out and to Minella Indo at Tramore on New Year's Day is another to consider on trends.

His lack of a Grade 1 win, which is a key trend, ruled him out of the shortlist, but he is a lightly-raced and improving eight-year-old with a Festival win, who fits the profile otherwise and could well surprise.

The 2021 winner Minella Indo is a big trends negative as he is now aged 10. Only two horses aged older than nine have won the race in the past 31 years and none since Cool Dawn in 1998.

Plus, there's only one Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in this race's 99-year history that came back from a defeat in the race to win it again - Kauto Star in 2009.

It would be a truly historic effort for Minella Indo to win the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st A Plus Tard 3/1f/td> Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore
2nd Minella Indo 7/1 Henry De Bromhead Robbie Power
3rd Protektorat 10/1 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton

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.