Trends and Stats
* Horses aged between seven and nine have the best record winning 17 of the last 19 Cheltenham Gold Cups
* The last winner aged 11 or over was in 1969 - the 38 that ran in the last 19 years lost.
* Every recent winner had between two and five runs that season.
* Twelve of the last 13 winners have all won a race that season.
* Eight of the last 10 winners won their last race.
* Sixteen of the last 17 winners had between five and 14 chase starts, the exception being Kauto Star in 2009 with 20 Chase starts
Previous track form is a serious advantage in this race.
* This advantage is increased if a horse had Festival form.
* Twelve of the last 15 winners placed at a previous Festival.
My Leading Contenders
I've always liked this horse and was pleased to see him confirm my impressions with a dominant display in the Hennessy. Form has been well and truly franked, and it is fair to say he won easier than the bare winning margin. Is 4/4 at Cheltenham and 2/2 at the Festival. Will appreciate the way the race will be run and is a concrete favourite.
Sir Des Champs
Not jumped well this season but could be that the sticky ground has really affected that aspect of his race. Held on form lines through Tidal Bay, though would be no surprise to see him jump and perform better on livelier ground. Just a slight doubt as to whether the Gold Cup distance will see him at his best? Reckon he will travel like a good horse before finding the hill at this trip too much so a back to lay in-running should see us gain a nice little profit. Wouldn't surprise me to see him trade very short in-running in the place market and I'll be looking to lay out around the [1.1] mark.
Not a big fan of his amateur partner despite the pair combining for victories and he'll have to be at his best in what is lining up to be a very competitive and large field Gold Cup. Will stay all day but whether he's got the pace he used to is questionable. Also get the strong impression that the stable think Bobs Worth is considerably better than this former Gold Cup winner.
Won the Charlie Hall in style and then followed up under a very good ride to win the Betfair Chase. Beat Long Run on the latter occasion but a combination of being race fit and the fact that Ruby Walsh rode them to sleep certainly contributed to that. Would have to think on that Betfair Chase run that Long Run has his measure, although it is heartening for his supporters that Nicholls holds him in very high regard. Too short in the market for me.
May well win the Irish Hennessy if ridden better than when collared late in the Lexus Chase. A very good horse on his day and in my eyes certainly the best Irish chaser at the moment, but I cannot see him lasting home up the hill in this field. The fact his stable have questioned their star's ability to stay speaks volumes. If he were mine I'd be looking to bypass Cheltenham altogether, go for the Aintree Bowl and then campaign him towards winning the King George in December. I'll be opposing him in the Gold Cup market.
Ran some great races in defeat and closely matched, although held, by Bobs Worth and Tidal Bay. Has run well at Cheltenham and place prospects are bright.
If we knew he was definitely going for the Gold Cup he'd be a big back in the current antepost market. Will love the way the race will be run and I wouldn't worry too much if Ruby desserts him for Silviniaco Conti as Daryl Jacob is a very good deputy. Will be ridden to come late and given the way the race is likely to unfold that could take him very close. If he does line up on race day is is likely he'll touch a bigger price in-running.
Who I'm Backing
There's plenty of likely pace in this year's renewal and I'd be worried about any horse not proven at least over 3m.
Everything points to Bobs Worth taking the beating here. He stays the trip very well, is unbeaten at Cheltenham and at the Festival, and importantly will love the way the race is likely to be run. His price is bang on although I cannot see it getting any bigger.
The price that really catches the eye is the outsider Cape Tribulation. The current [34.0] on Betfair is bigconsidering he beat Imperial Commander a lot easier than the bare winning margin in the Argento and that rival is 13 points shorter. He's won at the Festival and stays this trip very well, and is another that will be ridden to come late. The likely better ground will be in his favour despite his ability to handle heavy, and I think his probable pilot Denis O'Regan is already plotting how he's going to creep into contention. I can see his price contracting all the way to Festival.
There's plenty of money queuing up on Sir Des Champs in the antepost win market which makes me think backing him in the antepost place market at [2.54] will leave us in a good position to lay it off and get matched at a very short price in the day of race market place market.
Back Bobs Worth @ [4.9]
Back Cape Tribulation @ [34.0]
Back Sir Des Champs to place @ [2.54]>