The trends you need to know ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2020

In just over a month, Prestbury Park will open its doors for the world-famous Cheltenham Festival. On Tuesday 10th March, the iconic Cheltenham Roar will be
heard from miles around as the four-day meeting kicks off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The pinnacle of the festival is, of course, the Gold Cup and in
excess of 600 million viewers worldwide tuned in last year to watch Al Boum Photo win.

If you’re looking to have a flutter, check out the latest Gold Cup 2020 odds from Betfair and read on as we guide you through the trends you need to know ahead of
the race.ed

Don’t bank on the favourite
Last year’s winner Al Boum Photo was priced at 12/1 and was the joint-sixth favourite alongside Thistlecrack, some way behind Presenting Percy (100/30). In
fact, 2016 was the last time the favourite won the Gold Cup and that year, Don Cossack was successful. In the last 10 years, the bookies’ favourite has won on
three occasions, so the best bet is to expect the unexpected – and not bank on the horse with the best odds.

Form could go out of the window
When looking at the horses’ form, it wouldn’t be naïve to expect a horse with a 100% win-rate during the season to go on and continue their winning run. Both 2018 and 2019 winners Native River and Al Boum Photo had 100% winning records during the season – racing once and winning once on the way to the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  But sometimes, this isn’t the case – especially where outsiders are involved. In 2014, Lord Windermere was a mere 20/1 shout, with a season record of three races and no wins – but went on to win the Gold Cup by a short head.

Irish-bred horses are most successful
Look at any entries list and you’ll notice that the majority of horses are either Irish-bred or French-bred. Of the last 10 winning horses, four have been Irish-bred. But by stark contrast and looking at the wider picture – of the horses that have placed at the Gold Cup, more are French-bred. Of this year’s 31 initial entrants, 14 are Irish-bred, 13 are French-bred and four are British.

The leading trainers may not win
It’s quite easy to back whoever’s successful and there are plenty of highly-decorated trainers out there. But when we say form goes out of the window at the Gold Cup,
that’s not just the horses but their trainers too. Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, but before winning the Gold Cup last year, he had never won it before. Of the other leading trainers, Nicky Henderson has two Gold Cup wins to his name, while Colin Tizzard and Gordon Elliott both have one win each. Of the currently active trainers, Paul Nicholls is the most successful Gold Cup trainer with four wins. But his most recent success came in 2009 with Kauto Star.

Age is not just a number
The Gold Cup is open to horses aged five years or older, but the most common age bracket of winners is 7-9 years old. In the race’s history, the youngest winners have been five years old, while the oldest winners have been 12 years old – but you have to delve back into the archives for those successes. Golden Miller was a famous winner in 1932 at the age of five, while in 1951, 12-year-old Silver Fame won as the favourite. Of the last 10 winners, one horse has not fitted within the 7-9 age bracket and that was six-year-old Long Run in 2011.

Not quite blink and you’ll miss it
More often than not, the race is won within seven minutes. The most recent exceptions to this were Native River’s time of 7:02:60 in 2018 and Bob’s Worth in
2013 (7:05:06). The quickest race time was recorded in 1941, when Poet Prince won in 6:15:60, while the slowest race came in 1971. L’Escargot is the only horse to
record an eight-minute title (8:00:60).