Cheltenham 2018: Day 4, Gold Cup Day

The Cheltenham Festival is a test of stamina and reaching the fourth and final day in front on bets and still up for the action takes some doing. The beauty of Cheltenham is the atmosphere in the town at night as everybody is there for the same reasons which are to celebrate the sport of National Hunt racing and have a great party. Gold Cup day is the climax of the best racing experience around the globe.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is known as the Blue Riband of chasing as is the most prestigious steeplechase in the world. Horses must combine stamina and speed and still have enough in the tank to get up the hill after three miles two furlongs and 22 fences. The race never fails to deliver drama and excitement even if you don’t back the winner and by that stage some race goers probably don’t care. The winner is the champion staying chaser of the season and the outcome is never a fluke.

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The day starts with the Triumph Hurdle which brings together the best juvenile hurdlers in the championship race for four-year-olds. The race after the Gold Cup is the Foxhunters Chase for hunters and amateur jockeys. This race is run over the same course and distance as the Gold Cup and is the most important race in the division of the year. After the last race on Gold Cup day the anticipation begins immediately for the first race on day one in a bit less than one year.  

You can see all the records and trends for the other three days of the Festival by clicking the links below:

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Here is our preview of the Gold Cup.

Guide to the JCB Triumph Hurdle 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Hurdle Race (Two miles and a furlong – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages four-years-old 

The JCB Triumph Hurdle is traditionally the first race on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival. The Grade 1 contest is restricted to horses aged four and is the championship hurdle race for juveniles. Historically winners have a poor record in the following season’s Champion Hurdle and Katchit in 2007 and 2008 is the last horse to win both races in consecutive seasons. 

The Last 10 Winners of the JCB Triumph Hurdle 

  • 2017 - Defi Du Seuil (5/2F) Phillip Hobbs, Richard Johson
  • 2016 – Ivanovich Gorbatov (9/2F) Aidan O’Brien, Barry Geraghty 
  • 2015 – Peace And Co (2/1F) Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty
  • 2014 - Tiger Roll (10/1) Gordon Elliot, Davy Russell
  • 2013 – Our Conor (4/1) Dessie Hughes, Bryan Cooper
  • 2012 – Countrywide Flame (33/1) John Quinn, Dougie Costello
  • 2011 – Zarkandar (13/2) Paul Nicholls, Daryl Jacob
  • 2010 – Soldatino (6/1) Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty
  • 2009 – Zaynar (11/2) Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty
  • 2008 – Celestial Halo (5/1) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh

JCB Triumph Hurdle Trends 

  • 19 of the last 24 winners won last time out.
  • The last 25 winners ran in the last 55 days.
  • 11 of the last 12 winners started in the first 4 in the betting.
  • 16 of the last 17 winners that had run on the flat had run over at least 1m4f+.
  • 5 Adonis Hurdle winners have gone on to win this since 1999.
  • The last 11 winners were officially rated 138+ (no rating last year).
  • 9 of the last 12 winners made their hurdling debut after November.
  • French imports have won 4 of the last 7 runnings. 

Pointers And Reasoning 

The championship race for juvenile hurdlers is one of the most competitive races of the meeting. It brings together the best four-year-olds and often identifies a champion of the future. There have been winning favourites in the last three years and the biggest priced winner over 10 years is 10/1 except for a 33/1 winner in 2012. The race is sometimes won by ex-Flat horses and Redicean is one and is second favourite. The horse has won three hurdle races over two miles and faces the biggest challenge of his career. REDICEAN has the jumping ability and Flat speed to win the Triumph Hurdle.

Guide to the County Handicap Hurdle 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Hurdle Race (Two miles and a furlong – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages five-years-old and older 

This race is usually one of the most open handicap hurdles over the shorter distance in the season. It was first run in 1920 and has been named after the trainer who had 23 wins at the Cheltenham Festival. In the past the race has been the last one on the final day but was moved to the second spot on the card in 2009. Only one favourite in the last ten years has won this race. 

The Last 10 Winners of the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle 

  • 2017 - Arctic Fire (20/1) Willie Mullins, Paul Towned  
  • 2016 – Superb Story (8/1) Dan Skelton, Harry Skelton 
  • 2015 – Wicklow Brave (25/1) Willie Mullins, Paul Townend
  • 2014 - Lac Fontana (11/1) Paul Nicholls, Daryl Jacob
  • 2013 – Ted Veale (10/1) Tony Martin, Bryan Cooper
  • 2012 – Alderwood (20/1) Thomas Mullins, AP McCoy
  • 2011 – Final Approach (10/1) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2010 – Thousand Stars (20/1) Willie Mullins, Ms Katie Walsh
  • 2009 – American Trilogy (20/1) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh
  • 2008 – Silver Jaro (50/1) Tom Hogan, Noel Fehily 

Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle Trends 

  • 19 of the last 23 winners had run at least 4 times that season.
  • 7 of the last 10 renewals were won by the Irish.
  • 11 of the last 13 winners were first or second season hurdlers.
  • The last 11 winners were officially rated in the 130s.
  • 5 of the last 13 winners ran in the Boylesports.com Hurdle or Betfair Hurdle.
  • Respect the Imperial Cup winner.
  • 4 of the last 14 winners were ridden by Ruby Walsh.
  • Just 4 winners since 1960 have carried more than 11st 2lb. 

Pointers And Reasoning

This is another one of those difficult handicaps at the Festival to work out and there is any number of potential winners. Races of this nature are often won with a few pounds in hand so the weights will be key. No favourite has won over the last 10 years and the shortest priced winner was returned at 8/1. Every other winner was a double figure price. There have been trained winning horse in seven of the last 10 years and most horse that prevailed carried less than 11 stone. JENKINS is proven in this type of race so can win the County Hurdle.  

Guide to the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Hurdle Race (Three miles – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages four-years-old 

This race is the championship novice hurdle for stayer’s and attracts the best young horses suited to an extended trip. The race was first run in 2005, the year that the meeting was extended to four days. It now has a traditional spot on the card as the race before the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Bobs Worth won this novice event in 2011 and won the Gold Cup two years later. 

The Last 10 Winners of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 

  • 2107 - Penhill (16/1) Willie Mullins, Paul Towned  
  • 2016 – Unowhatimeanharry (11/1) Harry Fry, Noel Fehily 
  • 2015 – Martello Tower (14/1) Margaret Mullins, Adrian Heskin
  • 2014 - Very Wood (33/1) Noel Meade, Paul Carberry
  • 2013 – At Fishers Cross (11/8F) Rebecca Curtis, AP McCoy
  • 2012 – Brindisi Breeze (7/1) Lucinda Russell, Campbell Gillies
  • 2011 – Bobs Worth (15/8F) Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty
  • 2010 – Berties Dream (33/1) Paul John Gilligan, Andrew Lynch
  • 2009 – Weapons Amnesty (8/1) Charles Byrnes, Davy Russell
  • 2008 – Nenuphar Collonges (9/1) Alan King, Robert Thornton 

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Trends 

  • All 13 winners ran at least 3 times over hurdles.
  • 8 of the 13 winners had run at Cheltenham earlier in the season.
  • 10 of the 12 winners won or finished second last time out.
  • 8 of the 13 winners started in the first 5 in the betting.
  • 8 of the 12 winners had won a pattern race over hurdles.
  • 8 of the 12 winners had contested a race over 3 miles.
  • The Classic Novices’ Hurdle and Hyde Novices’ Hurdle have been decent guides.
  • 5 of the 12 winners were second season hurdlers.  

Pointers And Reasoning

This is the stayers’ novices hurdle and the race is competitive and takes some winning. Two favourites have won in the last 10 years but two horses have won the race at 33/1. The last three winners have been at double figure odds. Most of the leading contenders have run over three miles in the past. There have been 10 different successful trainers and jockeys over the last decade. Getabird has other targets and will probably not run but NEXT DESTINATION can win the race for the Willie Mullins stable. Cracking Smart could have the best form but Next Destination is trained by a man who won the race last year.    

Guide to the Cheltenham Gold Cup 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Steeple Chase (Three miles and two and a half furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages four-years-old and older 

The Gold Cup is known as the Blue Riband of steeple chasing and the most prestigious race of the four day meeting. It was first run in 1819 but at the time the race was run over three miles on the flat. In 1924 the race first appeared on the calendar in its current format. The Cheltenham Gold Cup after the Grand National is the race anybody connected with the sport would like to win rather than any other. The race is always run on the last day of the festival, which has been the third or fourth.   

The Last 10 Winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup 

  • 2017 - Sizing John (7/1) Jessica Harrington, Robbie Power
  • 2016 – Don Cossack (9/4F) Gordon Elliott, Barry Cooper 
  • 2015 - Coneygree (7/1) Mark Bradstock, Nico de Boinville
  • 2014 - Lord Windermere (33/1) Jim Culloty, Davy Russell
  • 2013 – Bobs Worth (11/4F) Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty
  • 2012 – Synchronised (8/1) Jonjo O'Neil, AP McCoy
  • 2011 – Long Run (7/2F) Nicky Henderson, Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
  • 2010 – Imperial Commander (7/1) Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paddy Brennan
  • 2009 – Kauto Star (7/4F) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh
  • 2008 – Denman (9/4) Paul Nicholls, Sam Thomas 

Cheltenham Gold Cup Trends 

  • The last 18 winners had previously won a Grade 1 chase.
  • 17 of the last 18 winners had won earlier in the season.
  • 16 of the last 18 winners ran in the King George VI or the Lexus Chase.
  • 13 of the last 15 winners were officially rated 166+.
  • 12 of the last 25 renewals were won by second-season chasers.
  • 14 of the last 16 winners finished in the top 2 last time out.
  • 11 of the last 17 winners had won or finished second at the Festival before.
  • 15 of the last 18 winners started in the first 3 in the betting.
  • 9 of the last 15 winners did not run during the same calendar year.
  • 9 of the last 17 winners started their career in Irish Point-to-Points.
  • No winner older than 10 since 1969.  

Pointers And Reasoning

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious steeplechase in the world and is one of the most demanding. The race is won by horses with stamina, jumping ability and a turn of foot which is a rare combination. Three outright favourites have won the race since 2008 and most came from the top three in the betting. Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are multiple winning trainers over the last decade and Henderson has the favourite this time. MIGHT BITE is the best chaser in training in Britain and Ireland and can confirm that status by winning the Gold Cup.  

Guide to the Foxhunters’ Chase 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Steeple Chase (Three miles and two and a half furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages five-years-old and older 

The Foxhunters’ Chase dates back to 1904 and traditionally is the race on the card immediately after the Gold Cup. The race is often called the ‘amateur Gold Cup’ because it brings together the best horses from the hunter chasers scene. The Foxhunters’ is run over the same distance and number of fences as the Gold Cup and horses not far below the best level have been successful in the past. 

The Last 10 Winners of the Foxhunters’ Chase 

  • 2017 - Pacha Du Polder (16/1) Paul Nicholls, Bryony Frost
  • 2016 – On The Fringe (13/8F) Enda Bolger, Nina Carberry 
  • 2015 – On The Fringe (6/1) Enda Bolger, Nina Carberry
  • 2014 - Tammys Hill (15/2) Liam Lennon, James Smyth
  • 2013 – Salsify (2/1F) Roger Sweeney, Colman Sweeney
  • 2012 – Salsify (7/1) Roger Sweeney, Colman Sweeney
  • 2011 – Zemsky (33/1) Ian Ferguson, Derek O'Connor
  • 2010 – Baby Run (9/2 J2F) Nigel Twiston-Davies, Sam Twiston-Davies
  • 2009 – Cappa Bleu (11/2) Sheila Crow, Richard Burton
  • 2008 – Amicelli (33/1) Cherry Coward, Oliver Greenall 

Foxhunters’ Chase Trends 

  • 23 of the last 27 winners were aged under 11.
  • 23 of the last 32 winners won last time out.
  • The Irish have won 7 of the last 12 runnings.
  • 24 of the last 28 winners started in Point-to-Points or Hunter Chases.
  • 22 of the last 23 winners had won a race under rules.  

Pointers And Reasoning

The race after the Gold Cup is the amateur’s version and is run over the same distance. Even though the race is for amateur jockeys there are some very good ones in the unpaid ranks and Bryony Frost won the race for Paul Nicholls last season. Most winners ran in point-to-points or Hunter Chases but many have also won a race under Rules. Salsify and On The Fringe are the latest two-time winners so PACHA DU POLDER could emulate those Irish trained horses by winning thee race again. Only two outright favourites have obliged over the last decade and three winners were returned at 16/1 and over.

Guide to the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Hurdle Race (Two miles and four furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages four-years-old and older 

The race was added to the festival programme in 2009 and is named after the 15-times National Hunt champion trainer who retired in 2006. Martin Pipe trained 34 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and his son David has maintained the family tradition by training winners at the meeting and Comply Or Die who won the Grand National in 2008. The David Pipe named event race is the last hurdle race of the meeting which culminates with a steeple chase.  

The Last 9 Winners of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle 

  • 2017 - Champagne Classic (12/1) Gordon Elliott, JJ Slevin
  • 2016 – Ibis De Rheu (14/1) Paul Nicholls, Jack Sherwood 
  • 2015 – Killultagh Vic (7/1) Willie Mullins, Luke Dempsey
  • 2014 - Don Poli (12/1) Willie Mullins, Mikey Fogarty
  • 2013 – Salubrious (16/1) Paul Nicholls, Harry Derham
  • 2012 – Attaglance (20/1) Malcolm Jefferson, Harry Haynes
  • 2011 – Sir Des Champs (9/2F) Willie Mullins, Emmet Mullins
  • 2010 – Pause And Clause (14/1) Emma Lavelle, Johnny Farrelly
  • 2009 – Andytown (25/1) Nicky Henderson, Felix de Giles  

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle Trends 

  • 6 of the 9 winners were second season hurdlers.
  • Last time out winners do well in Festival handicap hurdles.
  • 6 of the 9 winners were rated 133-139.
  • All winners ran in same calendar year.
  • All 9 winners ran no more than 4 times that season.
  • 25 of the 36 placed horses have gone off at double figures.
  • 5 and 6 year olds dominated, accounting for 8 of 9 wins and 15 places. 

Pointers And Reasoning

Only one favourite has won this handicap hurdle since 2009 and only two winners have had a starting price of less than 10/1. Willie Mullins has won the race three times since 2011 with the horses carrying different jockeys. Indeed there have been no multiple winning riders over the last 9 years and the race was introduced to the Festival in 2009. Horse aged 5 and 6 have dominated the payout places. At the time of writing the betting market had not settled down after the publication of the weights. HUNTERS CALL has the right profile for the race and can reward each-way backers at a decent price.    

Guide to the Grand Annual Handicap Chase 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Friday March 16th 

  • Steeple Chase (Two miles and 100 yards – New Course) 
  • Open to horses ages five-years-old and older 

The race is a Grade handicap run just over the minimum distance and there are 14 fences to be jumped over about one and a quarter circuits of the New Course. The Grand Annual is the oldest race at the festival and in the National Hunt calendar, dating back to 1834. The race is the one of the festival and is named in the honour of Johnny Henderson who did much to secure the future of Cheltenham racecourse in the early 1960’s when property developers showed in interest in the site.  

The Last 10 Winners of the Grand Annual Handicap Chase 

  • 2017 - Rock The World (10/1) Jessica Harrington, Robbie Power
  • 2016 – Solar Impulse (28/1) Paul Nicholls, Sam Twiston-Davies 
  • 2015 – Next Sensation (16/1) Michael Scudamore, Tom Scudamore
  • 2014 – Savello (16/1) Tony Martin, Davy Russell
  • 2013 – Alderwood (3/1F) Thomas Mullins, Tony McCoy
  • 2012 – Bellvano (20/1) Nicky Henderson, Paul Carberry
  • 2011 – Oiseau de Nuit (40/1) Colin Tizzard, Stephen Clements
  • 2010 – Pigeon Island (6/1) Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paddy Brennan
  • 2009 – Oh Crick (7/1) Alan King, Wayne Hutchinson
  • 2008 – Tiger Cry (15/2) Arthur Moore, Davy Russell

Grand Annual Handicap Chase Trends 

  • 23 of the last 24 winners were officially rated under 145
  • 17 of the last 18 winners had run no more than 12 times over fences
  • 16 of the last 18 winners were aged under 10
  • 23 of the last 26 winners ran in the last 45 days
  • 14 of the last 18 winners carried under 11st
  • 4 of the last 9 winners were novices  

Pointers And Reasoning

The closing contest of the meeting and if you are still looking for a winner you are in trouble. It’s a chase over the minimum distance in which only one favourite has prevailed in the last 10 runnings. The vast majority of winners are aged under 10 ad novices have done well despite the race being a handicap. No trainer or jockey has won the race more than once since 2008 and most winners carried less than 11 stone. CHARBEL is a graded horse running in a handicap and has the form to carry a high weight and win the race.

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