What a Gold Cup winners look like before the race....

Last Updated: 10.01.2019

Thursday, 10th January 2019

What Gold Cup winners look like before the race….

It is a strange business in which you expect to be wrong more times than you get it right. But that is the nature of the racing pundit’s business….

I don’t get out too much. I don’t go to dinner parties. I’m not one of life’s great socialisers. I’m not what they call ‘gregarious’. I’m not good in groups. I tend to keep myself to myself. I am essentially a solitary animal….

But occasionally I do meet new people. Sometimes it is unavoidable. And when you meet new people, they always seem to ask what you do for a living.

I get tired of trying to explain it. I get tired of the blank, glassy-eyed expressions. There are only so many polite and courteous ways of answering the question everybody gets to eventually: ‘Yeah… but, …. is that like a real job?’

These days, when people ask me what I do for a living, instead of telling them that I write about and bet the racing, I’ve taken to telling them that I’m in the business of predicting the future.

After all, when all is said and done, that is, basically, the business I am in….

  • Right up there….

I expect to get things wrong more often than I get them right – no matter how much time I put into my game. And I put a LOT of time into my game….

The Racing Post don’t publish the details of the people who spend most time logged into and navigating their website over the last 15-years or so. Perhaps they should….

If they did, I tell you this: I would be a very short price about being one of their top users. One of their very top users. I can’t believe there are more than 100 users of that website who spend more time working it than I do.

I’m not sure I would want to be the very TOP user of the Racing Post website. That would be a poisoned accolade. It would make me feel weird. Like I’m spending WAY more time on that website than I should be.

But I know I’m right up there. Right up there with the real die-hard nutters….

I’m not proud. I’m not bragging. It’s just the way it is....

But the point I’m making is this: no matter how much time I spend on the Racing Post website, I still get more wrong than I get right....

That’s the nature of this game as I referred to yesterday. That’s the nature of horse racing – the greatest betting game ever invented…. bar none…. and we wouldn’t have it any other way….

In case you missed it....

The fences play a crucial part in jumps racing....

To the untutored eye one fence is much like another....

But that’s not the case. There are crucial distinctions that it’s useful to be aware of....

ITV’s Mick Fitzgerald and Luke Harvey can tell you more. Click here.

  • Data that leads to an informed opinion….

When you get involved in this game, you will get well and truly smashed up on occasion....

You put your word out there, the word goes bad and you take a vicious upper-cut to the chin. Fair do. It stings a bit, it rocks you & the legs go a bit wobbly – but that’s the game….

What makes up for all the blows and the bloody-noses and the bruises and the brickbats are those times you call it right…. the times you look at the facts, read between the lines, think it through and see things for what they really are….

Sometimes that kind of right-minded thinking leads to backing winners. Sometimes it leads to bets at the right price at the right time. Other times it just leads to right-minded observations.

But my view – right or wrong – is only one thing the ATC service offers. We also like to bring you the information and hard data – where we can – that helps you come to your own betting decisions….

Yesterday 43 horses declared for the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March and right now is a reasonable-enough time to be looking for a bit of ante-post value – if that’s your way.

If you want to take an early view on the Gold Cup market – and upcoming developments – you’ll find it useful to be aware of what other Gold Cup winners looked like BEFORE they went to Cheltenham and did the business….

  • The key features of a Gold Cup winner….

These are the strongest stats produced by the last 21 Gold Cup winners….

Measure potential runners against this blueprint and you won’t go far wrong….

You’ll know the pros and cons about every runner – which will enable you to take an informed view at the current prices….

  • All the last 21 winners had produced career-best chase RPR at 24f to 27f
  • All 21 had been off the track at least 5 weeks (9 of the last 15 winners had been off the track for 62+ days)
  • 20 had appeared at a previous Festival (15 had made the top 3 in a Festival race)
  • 20 had raced at least 5 times over fences
  • 20 had won at least 3 races over fences
  • 19 had raced in no more than 18 races in total
  • 19 appeared at Newbury, Cheltenham, Leopardstown or Kempton last time out
  • 19 had raced in no more than 13 chases (8 of the last 11 winners has raced in no more than 9)
  • 19 were aged 7- to 9-years-old
  • 19 had run no more than 4 times over fences that season
  • 19 contested a G1 or a G2 chase last time out
  • 19 had scored an RPR of at least 162 last time out
  • 19 had form over the Cheltenham fences (17 having hit the top 3 in a chase at the track)
  • 18 had contested a Grade 1 chase that season (14 hitting the front 2)
  • 18 had run at least twice over fences that season
  • 18 had scored a career-best Topspeed rating of 150+
  • 18 had scored a career-best chasing RPR of 169+
  • 18 had won that season
  • 17 had made the top 2 in an open Grade 1 chase over 24f to 27f
  • 16 had scored career-best rating in one of last 3 races over fences
  • 16 of the 17 previous winners with an official rating going into the race were rated 166+
  • 16 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 15 were bred in Ireland
  • 15 had a strike-rate of 40%+ over fences at trips of 24f to 27f
  • The last word....

Leave it until race day for a big-price in the Gold Cup and you’re likely to end up disappointed according to the stats….

16 of the last 18 winners of the Gold Cup emerged from the front 3 in the market – and only the 2014 winner Lord Windermere and 2017 winner Sizing John were returned bigger than 8s….

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with my contrarian take on the weekend action....

Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

P.S. One last thing. The big race for us this weekend is the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. On Tuesday, we took a loo at the key pointers revealed by the historic record. If you missed that, you can catch-up here….