Look for a Vintage performance
Ian Ogg analyses the last 10 renewals of Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham and picks out the key statistics.
Vintage Vinnie could make the most of his light weight
His price was, in part, due to a seemingly disappointing reappearance in a graduation chase at Carlisle, a contest that More Of That was due to return in before being ruled out due to the fast ground.
Whereas not many might have viewed Exotic Dancer as a Grade One chaser at that time, the same is not true of World Hurdle winner More Of That who has been favourite more or less since betting opened.
He is rated higher than a typical winner but you could argue that he is of a similar level of ability to Al Ferof who was rated 159 and carrying 11-8 when successful in 2012 but he was returned at 12/1.
The eight-year-old fits the key statistics and has an obvious chance of providing O'Neill with a third win in 11 years in this contest.
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Although only one market leader has landed the money, this hasn't been a bad race for market leaders and Paul Nicholls has always been sweet on Frodon who is the first four-year-old in this period to attempt to lift this prize.
He will obviously miss out on a few stats given this unusual approach but his trainer has won two of the last four renewals and that in itself is enough for him to be accorded plenty of respect.
The likes of Taquin Du Seuil and Art Mauresque are more exposed than your typical winner while Sizing Granite lacks form at the trip (only one run over two and a half miles) as does stablemate Sizing Platinum who hasn't won beyond two miles two furlongs but shaped very much as though this trip would suit behind Fox Norton on debut for Colin Tizzard.
Double Shuffle and Bouvreuil finished third and second in the novices' handicap chase at the Festival, a race in which Johns Spirit could only finish seventh before winning this prize from 139 the following autumn.
In a race in which there's no shortage of runners with the right profile, both runners have to be on the short-list as do As De Mee and former stablemate Stilletto although it's worth noting that none of the quartet have won a class 2 chase.
Vintage Vinnie has got his jumping together this summer and ran about as well as could have been expected last time. He could improve on his previous showings at Cheltenham.
Aso will find this trip more suitable than the two miles of the Arkle where he was far from disgraced in finishing 14 lengths behind Douvan but trainer Venetia Williams has saddled just three runners since August at the time of writing and all three have been well beaten; the market may reveal more.
More Of That is obviously the one to beat with Frodon commanding obvious respect but although they are priced longer than typical winners and don't tick all of the boxes I'm more interested in Aso, Sizing Platinum and Vintage Vinnie who can all be backed at each-way prices.
The suggestion is the bottom weight whose trainer, Rebecca Curtis, sent out Irish Cavalier to run a big race in last year's renewal and this reformed 'lunatic' could well surprise now that he has matured a little both physically and mentally.
- Winners have been aged five, six (2), seven (6) and eight.
- Winners have been rated between 139 and 159 with nine between 139 and 148.
- Winners have carried between 10-2 and 11-8 with eight carrying 11-0 or less.
- Winners have been priced between 11/2 and 20/1 (eight no bigger than 12/1) with one favourite successful.
- Seven winners finished in the first four on their preceding start.
- Five winners had a prep run (an outing in October or November) finishing 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st.
- Nine of the winners had had nine chase starts or fewer.
- Eight winners were second season chasers.
- All of the winners had contested a race at the Cheltenham Festival although not all ran at the preceding Festival.
- All of the winners had won a Class 2 chase or above.
- All of the winners had won over two miles three furlongs or beyond.
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