Preview extracts for the premier event of the festival…
Many Clouds participation last year was abruptly ended when he was brought down in the RSA Chase. His improvement has been marked this year culminating with his Betbright Cup victory.
Whilst Coneygree is inexperienced, his natural jumping ability could see him be crowned as the third successive 8 y.o. to lift the major crown of the meeting.
Djakadam is one of the most exciting horses in the Gold Cup line up, and he could run a massive race. Willie Mullins’ gelding was travelling really well in the JLT Chase at last year’s Festival when he came down at the fourth last fence.
There is every chance that Djakadam will improve again between the Thyestes and Cheltenham, and as Long Run proved four years ago that it is possible in the modern era for a six-year-old to win the Gold Cup.
And on to the statistics…
Gold Cup – 10 Year Trends
Age 7 to 9 – 9 out of 10
All finished in the first 6 last time out
All were Grade 1 winners
First three in betting – 9 out of 10
Run in King George/Lexus chase – 9 out of 10 (exception won the Henessy)
Two to five runs in the season – 9 out of 10
No Irish Hennessy winner
None had won at the third attempt
Trends here would rule out favourite Silviniaco Conti, Carlingford Lough, Holywell, while virtually ruling out Many Clouds and Djakadam, but they did run in the Hennessy. This leaves Road to Riches who has been one of the surprise packages of the season and an impressive winner of his last two. He’s been kept fresh for this and looks sure to go well.
A final mention has to be for last year’s winner Lord Windermere. If he was with Mullins, Nicholls or Henderson he would probably be half his odds. He has been prepared the same way as last year and you could argue he has ran better. It’s a horse with proven festival form and must rate a serious danger to all.