Gold Cup trends give fans of Bobs Worth plenty of hope
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most coveted prize in jumps racing and it’s also a darling with punters because seven of the last 10 renewals have been won by favourites, including last-year’s victor Bobs Worth.
Indeed, the last double-figure priced winner was Paul Nicholls’ See More Business in 1999 who returned at 16/1.
The name of Norton’s Coin, the shock 100/1 winner in 1990, is often thrown around, but this is a race which goes to fancied runners; eight of the last 11 winners were priced at 4/1 or less.
Last year’s winning favourite Bobs Worth, who also won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and the RSA Chase in 2011 and 2012 respectively, will be bidding to become the eighth horse to win the Gold Cup more than once.
The last horse to win the race in three consecutive years was the Henrietta Knight-trained Best Mate, who landed three on the bounce between 2002 and 2004.
Meanwhile 2011 winner Long Run will try and follow in the footsteps of Kauto Star, who became the first horse to regain the prize in 2009, having previously won the race in 2007.
Kauto Star, the most famous jumps horse of recent times, was part of the Paul Nicholls dominance during 2007-2009.
Nicholls, who has been Champion Trainer seven times, has also won the Gold Cup four times, and he trained Kauto Star and Denman to win alternate races over that period.
This year the Ditcheat handler will be hoping for more luck than last season, when Silviniaco Conti was still travelling very powerfully before falling at the third-last fence.
There is a select age-range of winners – Long Run is the only horse younger than seven to have won since 1964, but no horse older than 10 has won since 1969 – as well as further proof of the race’s level of quality; the last 14 winners had previously triumphed in a Grade One.
Often, that race has been the King George VI Chase at Kempton, a contest which both Long Run and Kauto Star won en-route to Cheltenham.
The RSA Chase has a mixed record as a guide, with Bobs Worth, Denman and Looks Like Trouble the only horses to record the double in the last 13 renewals of the Gold Cup.
Unlike many races at the festival, Irish trainers have not dominated to the same extent, and last-year’s runner-up Sir Des Champs will be one of several hoping to become the first Irish winner since War Of Attrition in 2006.
One of Willie Mullins’ stable stars, the son of Robin Des Champs has already won two races at the Cheltenham Festival and lost nothing in defeat behind Nicky Henderson’s ace last March.