BetVictor Gold Cup 2019 Tips, Odds & Analysis
November – sodden leaves on the ground, darkness by a-quarter-to-five, being able to see your breath in the air and hear a deluge of Christmas adverts. It also means that the horse racing Jumps season is back and in full swing, although for many the real start of the season proper is the BetVictor Gold Cup, the 2 mile, 4 & ½ furlong Handicap Chase that has a long and storied history.
What Are The Trends?
Cheltenham is very much a horses for courses track – it’s perhaps the most unique Grade 1 track in the country – and all of the last 17 winners had run at Cheltenham before, and 12 of the last 16 winners had won around Cheltenham. Dig deeper, and you’ll see that 11 of the last 12 winners had at least two previous runs there as well.
As a fiercely contested early season handicap, the Bet Victor Gold Cup often lends itself to young, up and coming horses heading onto better things. It’s no surprise to see that six winners since 2010 have been younger than eight years old and if you look back further than nine of the last 12 winners were between six and eight years old when winning. There can be exceptions to this, as Splash Of Ginge and Taquin de Seuill were nine, but having a young horse is absolutely no barrier to victory here.
This might take place relatively early in the season but it is one of the toughest tests of the whole campaign so it’s no surprise that five winners since 2010, including the last three, had run within 100 days, so having a prep run under the belt is absolutely no drawback for your prospects here.
Favourites had a golden run through the 2000’s but they have struggled recently, with the last winning market leader obliging back in 2009, although plenty of well fancied horses do win. Some yards do have strong records in this contest – Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this three times from 2008 and Jonjo O’Neill has two wins in the last 6 years. Paul Nicholls also has two recent wins.
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Who’s the favourite?
Slate House, 9/2 favourite with Redzone, was a wide margin winner of a novice event on his return at the Showcase meeting. That was a much improved performance after a disappointing novice chasing season which never got going, and it was also a markedly improved soft ground effort in comparison to his previous efforts. Off a mark of 145, if he can repeat that performance he’s going to take some beating here, but the betting sites are aware of that, hence his price and he must back up that good win.
Who Are The Other Leading Contenders?
Siruh Du Lac NAP (6/1 with 888Sport) completed a spectacular four timer last season in the Festival Plate, when he got the better of Janika in a driving finish, with Spiritofthegames (13/2 with BetHard), just two and a half lengths behind. The form of that race has already been underlined by Janika’s win in the Haldon Gold Cup, which suggests that the pair of them can be significant players in this.
Saint Calvados (12/1 with Betfair) relishes plenty of cut in the ground and showed plenty of fortitude to win a very good handicap chase here in October. He did well to win off 155 (gave over a stone to runner up and 10lbs to the rest of the front three) but the big question for him is the trip – he has always been a buzzy two miler and lasting this trip is going to be a big test for him.
Us And Them (10/1 with BetVictor) was second in the Arkle and the Maghull Novices’ Chase last season, and made a fair return when third in the PWC Champions Chase last time. Soft ground doesn’t appear to be an issue, but he didn’t seem in love with the trip then.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has a very good record in this race and Count Meribel (14/1 with Bet365) is an interesting contender if he lines up. The seven-year-old couldn’t live with the best graded chasers last year but he did not disgrace himself when second, albeit easily held, to Lostintranslation in the Colin Parker Chase, and a mark of 147 looks fair on the basis of his two novice chase wins last season in November (was rated 137 after that, now 147), although more testing ground is a worry for him.
Knocknanuss, Guitar Pete & Brelan DAs are sure to have their followers, but I'm very happy to follow Siruh Du Lac for another win at Prestbury Park!.
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