Cheltenham Gold Cup Statistics

3:30 3m2½f (3m 2f 70y) (New) Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)

The Cheltenham Gold Cup was inaugurated in 1924 when Red Splash triumphed winning the princely sum of £685 for his owner Major Everard Wyndham. The winner’s prize money would be worth £29,116 today. The race was sponsored for the first time in 1972 by Piper Heidsieck which saw the first prize almost double to £15,255.

The folklore around the Gold Cup grew early in it’s history with Golden Miller winning the race five times in succession between 1932 and 1936. In 1934 he became the first horse to win both the Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season. Only two other horses have won more than two Gold Cups – Arkle (1964–66) and Best Mate (2002–04).

The Gold Cup has a reasonable amount of statistics to mull over:

  • All of the last 16 winners have previously won a Grade 1 contest
  • 20 of the last 22 winners were aged between seven and nine
  • 14 of the last 15 winners started in the top three in the betting
  • 13 of the last 15 winners were rated 166 or higher
  • 15 of the last 17 winners had won earlier in the season
  • 9 of the last 12 winners won on their previous start
  • All of the last 12 winners had previously run at Cheltenham
  • 11 of the last 12 winners had previously won over 3 miles or further
  • All of the last 12 winners had run at least twice earlier in the season
  • 11 of the last 15 winners have won or finished second at The Festival before
  • 9 of the last 16 winners ran in the King George V Chase at Kempton

There is only one horse in the whole field who ticks all of the statistics listed above. He is the King George V winner Might Bite.

His trainer Nicky Henderson spoke to Sky Sports on Thursday saying: “I’m not going to tell you he’s a better horse on the racecourse, but he is definitely a better work horse at home.

“He’s been round Cheltenham in the RSA Chase last year. The fact that he was able to essentially come to a complete standstill in the RSA and then get going again means he must stay pretty well, as that is an extraordinary thing to do.

“He idled in the King George, but he definitely stayed and he did go very quick that day. He is a more mature horse and he possibly looks more professional, but his work is certainly better. It is just of a higher standard.

“He has been three miles round Cheltenham and he has got up the hill. I see no reason why he won’t get it. It’s not much further and he is another year stronger.”

The biggest fear for Henderson is that last year was not the first time Might Bite has wandered up the Cheltenham run-in, having drifted markedly to his right in three of his four appearances there.

“The good thing about Might Bite is you never know what course he will go on – it’s up to him,” joked Henderson.

“He hasn’t run since Kempton but that has been on purpose as he needs to be fresh, he’s just that sort of horse.

“You’ve got to be careful with him, like a few by his sire Scorpion, and I think that is how he likes it.

“He used to kill his races a long way out, but some were disappointed at Kempton. I think that is because the pace he had to go early to take on Bristol De Mai might have taken its toll.

“We’ve no idea if he stays the Gold Cup trip, but I had no intention of running him in the Cotswold Chase to find out on heavy ground. I’d rather find out now.

“If he could do what he did last year, come to a complete standstill and win, I can’t think an extra furlong and a half is a worry.”

Please note: tips are followed at your own risk. Please gamble responsibly.  

What to read next on Eclipse Magazine