Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Tips, Odds & Analysis
In the blink of an eye we have already reached Cheltenham’s third offering of the current season. After the euphoria of the Showcase and November meetings, we now have our last Cheltenham fix of 2019 with the International meeting taking place over two days (Friday 13th December – Saturday 14th).
The highlight of the fixture is undoubtedly Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup which was formerly known as the December Gold Cup and is always a very competitive horse racing betting heat.
They say the taste of caviar lingers long at the back of the palate and with any luck this renewal of the Cup will serve up a veritable treat for us to savour just before Christmas!
What Are The Trends?
Trainers: Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the history of the December Gold Cup, with five victories courtesy of Poquelin (2009 & 2010), Unioniste (2012) and Frodon (2016 & 2018).
Jockeys: Richard Johnson is the most successful jockey, thanks to three victories on Village Vic (2015), Monkerhostin (2004) and Legal Right (1999). Sam Twiston-Davies is the only other current rider to have won the race more than once – Double Ross (2013) and Frodon (2016).
Age: Frodon and Unioniste have been the youngest winners of the race, having scored aged four in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Tassilo (1968) and Garnishee (1974) were both 10 when successful and are the two oldest winners. The full age breakdown of the previous winners is 4yo (2), 5yo (1), 6yo (12), 7yo (12), 8yo (15), 9yo (5) & 10yo (2).
Odds: Pendil was the shortest-priced ever at 8/11. Only 10 favourites or joint-favourites have won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in 49 runnings - Flyingbolt (1965, 5/2), Titus Oates (1969, 9/4), Leap Frog (1971, 3/1), Arctic Bow (1972, 9/2), Pendil (1973, 8/11), Fifty Dollars More (1983, 3/1), Oregon Trail (1986, 3/1), Kings Fountain (1991, 7/4), Addington Boy (1996, 7/4) and Poquelin (2009, 7/2).
Fancied horses, if not the favourite themselves, usually capture the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with 37 victors being returned at single-figure odd. Tamarinbleu became the longest-priced winner when scoring at 22/1 in 2007. Shorter prices seems to be the strategy.
Who’s The Favourite?
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Riders Onthe Storm is the current 4/1 favourite with Coral, most probably on the back of what was an impressive victory at Aintree last month.
Whether that form will have you knocking down the doors of your preferred bookmaker to hoover up all the 9/2 is entirely up to you, but just remember that Aintree and Cheltenham are highly contrasting racecourses and my hunch is that this former Tom Taaffe inmate (bought for £50,000) was finely tuned for his first outing for his new owners and that this race might be on the slightly ambitious side.
Admittedly Riders Onthe Storm was a high-class performer in Ireland for Taaffe, but connections may well be going to the well too early here to try and add to their £49,520 Aintree winnings on just his second run for Twiston-Davies and now with the added burden of a 13lb rise in the weights.
The form may have been boosted recently by the victory of Oldgrangewood at Newbury, but at this juncture in time Riders Onthe Storm just isn’t an attractive betting proposition to me.
Who Else Can Help Pay For Christmas Then?
Naturally you need to sit up and take notice of any Paul Nicholls runner that turns up here at Prestbury Park given the man’s fine record in the race and his Secret Investor, 13/2 with Redzone, appears to be the Ditcheat hopeful most punters are gravitating towards.
Secret Investor was 14 lengths second to Real Steel in a Grade Two event at Down Royal last time but was the victim of doing too much too soon in that race. If different tactics are employed this time by his jockey Harry Cobden, then it is highly conceivable that he can replicate some of his excellent novice form from last season.
Another horse who should be in the absolute thick of this race is the Venetia Williams-trained Cepage. The exciting seven-year-old is currently trading at 13/2 with William Hill and I am convinced that now is the very last time that you will see a big price about him for this race as people start to latch onto his credentials for winning this.
Cepage chased home the subsequent Ryanair Chase winner Frodon in last year's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and attempts to go one better this time around.
He did not race for the remainder of last season due to a tendon injury but reappeared this term with a decent second to Riders Onthe Storm at Aintree, beaten just under two lengths.
Williams took this race in 2014 with Niceonefrankie and nobody would begrudge the stable picking up a big race win on the back of the recent demise of their yard star, Houblon Des Obeaux.
Young gun Not That Fuisse was never able to live with Torpillo at Warwick but he appears to have taken to the chasing game well and a race of this nature should be more to his liking.
Rated a 10/1 shot by our betting partners Bethard, the well bred six-year-old could quite easily dispel the myth that the Skelton team only excel with their summer jumpers.
Those of you who considered, or actually place a wager on Happy Diva from the original entry list may now want to have a cheeky saver on Brelan d'As , 10/1 with Betway, as part of your revised betting strategy here.
Happy Diva and Brelan d’As pulled well clear of the field in the BetVictor and the JP McManus-owned runner gets in here with an attractive racing weight all things considered. He certainly looks the sort who can improve this season.
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Is there an outsider to consider?
The Gary Moore-trained Benatar was last seen finishing a very distant seventh to Cyrname at Ascot but Moore says he is all set to race again.
The original comeback plan was meant to be a run in the Ladbrokes Trophy but that idea failed to materialise.
If the seven-year-old can reproduce even a modicum of the form from his novice chase season then the 14/1 available with Bethard will look too good to turn down.
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