How to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup
A look at all the key Cheltenham Gold Cup statistics
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the highlights of the National Hunt season and the centrepiece of the Cheltenham Festival which takes place at Prestbury Park every March.
The headline attraction on the final day of the four-day Festival, it is run over 3m2f and is the ultimate test of a staying chaser, with the winner requiring plenty of stamina, the heart of a lion and an almighty amount of class to etch their name onto the famous trophy.
We have already provided a comprehensive lowdown on all of the Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders and here we attempt to provide you will all the vital statistics and trends so you know how to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Irish eyes are smiling
An Irish trainer took home the Gold Cup trophy for the third successive year in 2021 as Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Indo landed the spoils.
That followed back-to-back victories for Willie Mullins’ Al Boum Photo in 2019 and 2020 and Ireland have won six of the last eight runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
With Irish runners dominating the Cheltenham betting for this year’s Gold Cup, it seems wise to consider those from the Emerald Isle in our how to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup guide.
Beware the defending champion
Although Al Boum Photo defended his crown for successive Gold Cup victories in 2020, Best Mate is the only other horse to do that this century when recording a hat-trick in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
A plethora of decorated champions have fallen by the wayside when returning to Prestbury Park and other than Al Boum Photo and Best Mate, it is just Kauto Star who has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice since L’Escargot in the early 1970s.
Even Kauto Star was unable to defend the Gold Cup though, surrendering the top prize to stablemate Denman in 2008, before regaining the title in 2009.
Despite Minella Indo being amongst the favourites for this year’s race, our how to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup tips would suggest to proceed with a note of caution.
We're counting down the hours to the final day of the Festival – and the race that makes immortals from mere mortals ⌛️
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 12, 2020
Best kept fresh
Al Boum Photo has famously headed to Cheltenham after just the one tune-up effort in the last three years, with Mullins’ two-time winner treading the same path of Tramore on New Year’s Day and then straight to Cheltenham.
Trainers being cautious not to burn out their star chaser before Cheltenham started with Henrietta Knight when she would ensure Best Mate was trained to peak in the Gold Cup, but nevertheless it is still best to run your Gold Cup candidates at least twice in preparation for Prestbury Park.
Minella Indo was making his fifth outing of the season when scoring in 2021, but it was just Native River’s second appearance when winning the Gold Cup in 2018.
Consider the top trainers
Both Mullins and De Bromhead had never won a Gold Cup before Al Boum Photo in 2019 and Minella Indo obliged last year, while the same sentiments apply to Gordon Elliott, who broke his Gold Cup duck with Don Cossack in 2016.
One thing they all had in common though is that they are at the very top of their profession and Mark Bradstock and Jim Culloty are the only handlers that could be classed as outside of the elite to walk away with the first prize in the last 10 years.
Mullins, De Bromhead and Elliott are responsible for six of the top seven in the Gold Cup betting in 2022.
Stick with the form
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is not a race where the form book can be tossed out of the window and 15 of the last 20 champions had arrived on the back of a victory last time out.
Twelve horses had also won at least three of their most recent five outings and so finding a runner with plenty of ‘ones’ next to their name seems prudent when thinking about how to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Focus on price
Since the turn of the century there have been only two horses that have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup at double figure odds.
Al Boum Photo was 12/1 when registering the first of his two Gold Cups in 2019, while Lord Windermere’s shock win in 2014 at 20/1 is the only other anomaly on the Gold Cup winners list.
However, you may be rewarded with each-way place money on the bigger priced runners, as although not winning, 22 horses have placed in the Cheltenham Gold at odds of 10/1 or bigger since Looks Like Trouble stormed to success at 9/2 in 2000.
How about this Cheltenham Gold Cup memory?
Lord Windermere coming out on top in a blanket finish back in 2014.
A crazy race
— HorseRacing.net (@HorseRacing_Net) March 16, 2018
What about the favourite?
There have been nine winning favourites of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the last 20 years so when thinking about how to bet on the Cheltenham Cup, it appears you have almost a 50 per cent chance of picking a winner by siding with the market leader.
However, only one favourite has won in the last five years, and 12 months ago Al Boum Photo had to settle for third in his hat-trick bid when sent off at 9/4.
Age isn’t just a number
With the exception of the six-year-old Long Run in 2011, no horse under the age of seven has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1963. All but five of the last 20 champions have been either seven or eight, with the remainder being nine years old.
The last horse aged 10 or over to win the blue riband was Cool Dawn in 1998 and there have been only six winning horses with a double figure age since 1970. Therefore, it may be best to avoid those climbing 10 or older when deciding how to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Looking at this year’s entries that would mean avoiding two-time champ Al Boum Photo, Champ and Lostintranslation.
Back the best?
All horses are assigned a rating from the handicapper so it will be interesting to see how the best horse in the race in terms of official figures fares to help decide how to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Al Boum Photo has been the highest rated horse in the race in the last two years and justified a figure of 175 when scoring in 2020.
However, in the last 10 years that is the only time the highest rated horse has come out on top, with the last top-rated winner Kauto Star when winning his first Gold Cup as favourite in 2007, although Don Cossack was only rated 1lb inferior to Cue Card when triumphing in 2016.
In those 10 years, the highest rated has finished in the top three on four occasions.
All odds and market correct at date of publication