Who will win the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup?

 

Based on previous trends, who will win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2023?

Ground

In the last ten Gold Cups, conditions have rarely been difficult, with seven races held on good to soft or faster surfaces. All four of the previous editions were tested on soft to good paper.

That would be advantageous to A Plus Tard, the winner from the previous year who triumphed by 15 lengths under Rachael Blackmore. However, all of his main rivals act similarly under those circumstances.

Stattler finished second in the National Hunt Chase, and Galopin Des Champs won the 2021 Martin Pipe on good to soft. Noble Yeats’ Grand National victory was also described as “good to soft,” and Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor have also been successful in this regard.

Protektorat, whose best Racing Post Ratings performances came on soft, including his 11-length victory in the Betfair Chase in November, may want it softer than most horses.

Age

The Gold Cup has been won seven times by eight-year-olds in the last ten runs. Sizing John was seven years old when he won the 2017 Gold Cup, and Don Cossack was nine when he won the 2016 Gold Cup. Al Boum Photo is a dual champion.

In addition to the third Protektorat from last year, leading favourites Stattler, Noble Yeats, Bravemansgame, and Ahoy Senor are all eight years old. Galopin Des Champs represents the seven-year-olds, while A Plus Tard and Conflated represent the nine-year-olds.

Since Cool Dawn in 1998 was the last ten-year-old to win the Gold Cup, Minella Indo, the winner in 2021, will have to defy the odds to win.

Form

In the last ten years, winning form before a Gold Cup race has been extremely helpful; seven of the ten winners have won the race before. Only A Plus Tard, Lord Windermere (2014), and Minella Indo (2021) were defeated in their most recent starts.

Galopin Des Champs, a hot favourite, won the Irish Gold Cup in a big way, and Sizing John did the same in 2017. Bravemansgame, Ahoy Senor, and Conflated all won last time, with Conflated winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Although Ahoy Senor won the Cotswold Chase on Trials Day, Looks Like Trouble was the last horse to win both the Savills Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup. Synchronised was the last horse to win both races in 2012.

When he pulls up in the Betfair Chase in November, A Plus Tard, the winner from the previous year, will need to overcome the biggest blemish on his record.

Racing Post Ratings

The average winning RPR over the past ten years has been 177, with Lord Windermere’s win in 2014 (168) being the lowest and A Plus Tard’s stunning victory in 2013 (with an RPR of 184) being the highest.

A Plus Tard, Galopin Des Champs (whose wide margin victory at Fairyhouse in April earned that exact RPR), and Bravemansgame stand to benefit from this average. When Protektorat won the Betfair Chase, he received an RPR of 176.

Noble Yeats, Ahoy Senor, and Conflated are among those who struggle to locate RPRs, and Stattler’s highest RPR of 167 falls short of Lord Windermere’s winning rating.

Favourites

With four obliging in the past ten years, including A Plus Tard last year, market leaders have a modest track record.

In the same time frame, there have only been two winners with double prices. In 2019, Al Boum Photo came out on top at 12-1, while Lord Windermere surprised everyone by going 20-1 in 2014.

That bodes well for Bravemansgame, Noble Yeats, Galopin Des Champs, A Plus Tard, Stattler, and Bravemansgame, all of whom are currently betting single figures.

Verdict

Galopin Des Champs is the overwhelming favourite right now, and all indications point to his victory in the prestigious competition the following month.

He is a winner at the track, he can handle a variety of ground conditions, he meets the RPR requirement, and this season, he has been in spectacular form.

There is no way to discount Bravemansgame, Ahoy Senor, and Conflated, while third-place Protektorat and A Plus Tard, the winners from the previous year, must improve on their subpar performances.

Given that he is the prime age, is a proven stayer, and was a winner on good to soft in December, Grand National hero Noble Yeats may be the one to challenge Galopin Des Champs in the event that the latter fails.

 

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