With the focus now on the National Hunt for the next six months the action ramps-up several notches this weekend as we return to the home of jump racing – Cheltenham.
The November Meeting runs from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th November, but the showcase race is Saturday’s BetVictor Gold Cup – a contest that was won last year by Splash Of Ginge at 25/1.
‘Ginge’ gave trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, his fourth success in the race and this ten-year-old will be looking to become the first ‘back-to-back’ winner since the mighty Bradbury Star mopped-up wins in 1993 and 1994. However, with the last winner of the Betvictor Gold Cup aged in double-figures coming in 1975, last year’s hero has quite a hefty trend to overcome.
You can get more help finding the winner of the BetVictor Gold Cup with our ITV Racing Tips
Plus, to help pinpoint the best winning profile of the 2018 BetVictor Gold Cup we are on-hand with some key trends and statistics.
We hope they help you find the winner, but if you fancy a horse we’ve not featured below then simply apply these stats to that runner.
- 16 of the last 16 winners had raced at Cheltenham (fences) before
- 15 of the last 16 winners had won over at least 2m4f (fences) before
- 12 of the last 16 winners returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
- 12 of the last 16 winners have won at Cheltenham (fences) before
- 11 of the last 16 were aged six or seven years-old
- 11 of the last 16 winners were trained by Pipe (3), Jonjo O’Neill (3), Nicholls (2) or Twiston-Davies (3)
- 10 of the last 16 winners finished in the top four last time out
Trends – Key Runners
Rather Be ✅✅✅❌✅❌✅
Mister Whitaker ✅✅✅✅✅❌✅
Baron Alco ✅✅✅❌✅❌✅
King’s Socks ✅❌❌❌✅✅❌
Champion trainer, Nicky Henderson’s only success in this race came in 2003 with Fondmort but he’ll be trying to add to that tally this year with Rather Be. Many will remember this seven-year-old running a head second in the Close Brothers’ Novice Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival back in March – form that makes him a big player. He’s also got a nine-pound weights turnaround with the winner that day – Mister Whitaker – while with five of our seven key trends in his favour he comes here with a cracking-looking chance. Those thinking of taking him on might look to the fact he’s not been out since that day, but he’s won first time out for the last three seasons so is a horse that clearly goes well fresh. He’s sure to be very popular.
As already mentioned, the Mick Channon-trained Mister Whitaker is closely-matched with Rather Be, based on their Cheltenham Festival form last season. He’s a fast-improving chaser who has gone up fifteen pounds in the ratings since beating the Henderson horse back in March. He also returned to the track a few weeks ago with a nice win at Carlisle so can be expected to be fitter than most. Our trends give him a huge chance too – from the five featured runners he ticks the most stats, falling down on just one. He’s yet to finish out of the first three from six runs over fences (four wins) and is also currently two-from-two at the track. He seems to have a lot going for him and could easily progress into being better than a handicapper. He looks the most likely winner, but, in contrast, poor value for a race as competitive as this.
Kalondra has been another popular horse in the build-up and it’s easy to see why. Yes, he took a tumble last time out at Galway but was in the process of running a big race at the time. That came back in August, so connections have given him plenty of time to recover and despite a three-month absence is another that won first out last season so the break is potentially plus. Winning track form is also a bonus, having won a Class Two Novice Chase here last December, while the trends give this seven-year-old a leading say with five of the seven on his side. If none-the-worse for that last tumble can make his presence felt.
Baron Alco will be looking to give trainer Gary Moore is first win in this race and the trends suggest he’s another to ignore at your peril. He gets a thumbs-up on five of our seven stats but one of the potential negatives – having not won at the track – can certainly be taken with a pinch of salt. Why? Well, his chase form at the course reads 3-2-2! He was second in the 2017 Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase but after a long lay-off he blew away the cobwebs last month with a cracking reappearance run when a head second to the useful Charbel at Chepstow. He’s yet to finish out of the first three from seven runs over fences so he’s another the each-way backers are sure to have on their radar.
King’s Socks is the final runner we are going to look at. He’s been a bit of a talking horse since coming over from France but so far has failed to live up to that reputation for the David Pipe yard. This six-year-old was well-backed for the last season’s Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate Handicap at the Festival but in the end only managed fifth. On a plus, he’s down a pound in the ratings from that run and gets in here with just 10st 4lbs to carry. Of our featured runners, however, he does have the most negatives (four) so would have a bit to prove. Having said that, he does hail from the Pond House Pipe Stable that have landed this prize a staggering nine times since 1987. Therefore, despite having several stats to overcome, that excellent stable record alone means he’s hard to ignore. For the record, the Pipes also have Eamon An Cnoic entered.
Every Cheltenham race covered live on ITV can be found on our Cheltenham Betting Tips page, with runner by runner previews for each contest.