Racing Post’s guide to cracking the BetVictor Gold Cup

Annacotty: could last year's winner triumph again?

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( RP's guide to cracking the BetVictor Gold Cup By David Baxter 6:30PM 11 NOV 2016

THE first Gold Cup of the season at Cheltenham is the highlight of the Open meeting, and offers punters a tricky Grade 3 Handicap Chase to unravel.

While the race has not been kind for favourite backers, there are some angles and trends that could prove advantageous when trying to identify the winner.

Stay away from the market leader

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Jonjo O'Neill may regard More Of That as a Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup horse, but the 4-1 favourite will likely need to be of that calibre to snap a wretched record for market leaders.

The last to triumph was Tranquil Sea (2009) and he is the only favourite to score since 2006. Since then only Long Run (2010) and Present View (2014) have managed to make the frame, both finishing third.

Lucky seven

Six of the last ten winners have been seven-year-olds, so you need a horse who has been around the block when it comes to jumping fences.

Although Paul Nicholls knows what it takes to win with a younger horse, Caid Du Berlais was five when victorious in 2014, a four-year-old has never won since the first running in 1960. Last week's Wincanton winner Frodon will have to be a history-maker.

Middle of the road

This is a race that has typically fallen to a lightly-raced chaser who is on the upgrade and yet to peak.

Nine of the last ten winners were officially rated between 139 and 148, which if applied to Saturday's field, trims the search for a potential winner from 19 to seven. The exception was Al Ferof (159) in 2012.

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