Take Thomas in Caspian Caviar

Ian Ogg analyses the last 10 renewals of Saturday's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham and picks out the key statistics.

Thomas Brown appeals at a double figure price

The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup was abandoned in 2008 so I've included the 2005 renewal won by Noel Meade's Sir Oj in the figures.

Last year's winner, Village Vic, and fourth, the popular Buywise, are both a year older than any winner of the last 10 renewals although they are hardly over the hill. However, the stats suggest that they Module and Turban could have their work cut out against younger rivals.

One notable statistic is that all of the winners finished in the first five on their preceding start which is not encouraging for supporters of Sizing Codalco, Full Shift or Frodon although the latter was travelling well in the Paddy Power Gold Cup until making a serious mistake.

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Paul Nicholls won this race with a four-year-old in 2012 although Unioniste had skipped last month's handicap, one of five winners in this period not to have contested the BetVictor Gold Cup.

That race is well represented with the four horses behind Taquin Du Seuil all lining up and there is certainly a lot to like about the claims of Aso and Bouvreuil (whose trainer Paul Nicholls has won this three times).

Quite By Chance is more experienced than the majority of winners and lacks the advantage of course form as does Aloomomo although his defeat did come at the Festival in March when sent off as favourite for the novices' handicap chase.

He finished one place in front of Thomas Brown that day and both meet runner-up Bouvreuil on better terms. Thomas Brown has yet to fulfil the promise of the pick of his efforts and it remains to be seen if he can build on his winning reappearance at Aintree but it may be worth taking the chance that he can at a double figure price.

He stays well and that stamina should stand him in good stead with Village Vic likely to make this a proper test.

King's Odyssey won over course and distance in January and is respected after a fair return over an inadequate trip at Haydock but he has been deserted by regular rider Paul Moloney who is on board Buywise although it is likely to have been a difficult choice to make.

King's Odyssey makes the stats 'short-list' of half a dozen but the vote goes to Thomas Brown who is preferred to Aso.

  • Winners have been aged four, six (3), seven (3) and eight (3).
  • Winners have carried between 9-9 (incl jockey's claim) and 11-8.
  • Winners have been rated between 132 and 163 with six between 142 and 151.
  • Winners were priced between 7/2 and 22/1 with one favourite successful.
  • Four winners were successful on their previous start and all finished in the first five.
  • Five winners had run in a renewal of the Paddy Power Gold Cup with five contesting the race in the same season (finishing 2nd, 5th, 2nd, 1st).
  • Eight winners had had between five and 12 starts over fences. The exceptions had run three and 24 times.
  • All winners had run between one and three times during the current season.
  • Only two winners hadn't previously won or been placed at Cheltenham. One exception was third of five in his sole course start while last year's winner, Niceonefrankie, had finished in midfield at the Festival when sent off at 7/1 for the Byrne Group Plate.
  • Six winners had either won or been placed in a class one chase; three of the four exceptions were having their first runs at that level.

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