Cheltenham - At The Races

15:30 Cheltenham 16 Mar 2018

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5YO plus)

Winner £369,822 - 15 ran


3m 2f 70y

Soft (Heavy in places)

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Last year’s race

Sizing John
  • Winner: Sizing John
  • Jockey: R M Power
  • Trainer: Mrs J Harrington
  • Owner: Ann & Alan Potts Partnership
  • Age: 7 Weight: 11st 10lb
  • Starting Price: 7/1
  • Season Form Figures: 211
  • Previous Best: 1st - Irish Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1), Leopardstown (Feb 2017)

I love a second-season chaser for the Gold Cup and Sizing John became the fourteenth such winner in the last 28 runnings last March, which is saying something given how heavily outnumbered they have been.

In fact, when Sizing John beat Minella Rocco and Native River last season, he was a leading home a 1-2-3 for second-season chasers. The last winner aged in double figures was 20 years ago when Cool Dawn was successful. All 74 horses aged 10+ since then have been beaten which included 16 horses sent off at 10/1 or lower and four outright favourite.

Might Bite heads the cast of second-season chasers after victories in the RSA and King George, and will attempt to become the ninth Gold Cup winner to have contested the RSA Chase the previous year since 1980.

With regards to current-season form, 15 of the last 18 winners contested either the King George VI Chase in which Might Bite beat Double Shuffle and Tea For Two or the Leopardstown Christmas where Road To Respect led home a Gigginstown 1-2-3 but the talk afterwards was more about the flops of Sizing John, Yorkhill and Djakadam. Ten of the last 18 Gold Cup winners contested the King George and five of the last 12 winners ran in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase.

I love a second-season chaser for the Gold Cup and Sizing John became the fourteenth such winner in the last 28 runnings last March, which is saying something given how heavily outnumbered they have been.

Sticking with current season form, 26 of the last 30 winners finished in the first four last time out, only two winners since 1997 had not won earlier in the season, nine of the last 16 winners had not run during the same calendar year and, when Bobs Worth won five years ago, he became the first winner since 1991 to win off the back of just one run earlier in the season.

With regards to proven class, if your fancy has yet to win a Grade 1 race then you might want to seriously think again as the last 18 winners entered jumping’s blue riband with a victory at the highest level safely locked away at some point earlier in their career. Of the last 17 winners, only War Of Attrition and Lord Windermere failed to enter the race with an official BHA rating of 166+.

Fifteen of the last 17 winners could be found in the first three in the betting, which doesn’t include Sizing John who was sent off 7/1 fourth-favourite last season. He also became the 24th Irish-trained winner a year after Don Cossack led home an Irish-trained 1-2-3-4.

Although 12 of the last 17 winners had finished first or second at the Festival before, 12 of the last 13 winners were running in the Gold Cup for the first time which is a negative trend that the dual Gold Cup runner-up, Djakadam, will need to overcome.

If he can make it fourth time lucky he will emulating The Fellow whose previous Gold Cup positions also read 224. From 18 runners to date, Willie Mullins has saddled as many as six runners-up; Florida Pearl, Hedgehunter, Sir Des Champs, On His Own and Djakadam (x2) so his quest for an elusive Gold Cup victory continues.

At a glance summary

Second-season chasers
Ran in the King George VI Chase or Lexus Chase
Won or second at the Festival before
Front three in the betting
Not run during the same calendar year
Never won a Grade 1 race
Not officially rated 166+
Failed to win earlier in the season
Failed to finish first or second last time out
Six-year-olds or aged 10+

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2017 Good 13 Sizing John 7 11 10 - 23-3211 33 days Mrs J Harrington R M Power 7/1 6:36.30
2016 Good 9 Don Cossack 9 11 10 - 1-111F1 64 days G Elliott B J Cooper 9/4 6:34.80
2015 Soft 16 Coneygree 8 11 10 - 113-111 34 days M Bradstock (45 miles) N De Boinville 7/1 6:42.70
2014 Good 13 Lord Windermere 8 11 10 - 231-876 33 days J H Culloty D N Russell 20/1 6:44.50
2013 Soft 9 Bobs Worth 8 11 10 - 11321-1 104 days N Henderson (51 miles) B J Geraghty 11/4 7:04.90
2012 Good 14 Synchronised 9 11 10 - 13-P731 79 days Jonjo O'Neill (1 miles) A P McCoy 8/1 6:36.20
2011 Good 13 Long Run 6 11 10 - 1113-31 62 days N Henderson (51 miles) Mr S Waley-Cohen 7/2 6:29.50
2010 Good 11 Imperial Commander 9 11 10 - 161-P25 83 days N Twiston-Davies (1 miles) P Brennan 7/1 6:43.80
2009 Good to Soft 16 Kauto Star 9 11 10 - 122-1U1 77 days P Nicholls (69 miles) R Walsh 7/4 6:44.95
2008 Good to Soft 12 Denman 8 11 10 - 111-111 34 days P Nicholls (69 miles) S Thomas 9/4 6:47.84