Gold Cup – Never This Century

Courtesy of Gaultstats.com, there are a list of 4 things that have not happened this century in a Gold Cup… this is a closer look at the stats behind them.

1)    No Horse Has Won the Gold Cup Having Been Beaten Favourite Last Time Out

The last horse to win the Gold Cup having been a beaten favourite on their last start was Cool Dawn back in 1998. Since the turn of the century, 37 have tried and none have succeeded.

Year Runners Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
2017 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2016 1 0 0% 1 100% 1 100%
2015 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2012 3 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2011 4 0 0% 2 50% 2 50%
2010 2 0 0% 1 50% 1 50%
2009 3 0 0% 1 33% 1 33%
2007 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2006 4 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2005 6 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2004 3 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2003 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2002 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
2000 1 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%

37 isn’t an absolutely massive number and does include a number of outsiders. However, I wanted to have a look at how many of these horses were relatively well fancied for the race. 13 of these horses had starting prices of 12/1 or shorter, and they are listed below:

Year Horse Odds Finishing Position
2017 Djakadam 3/1 4th
2016 Djakadam 9/2 2nd
2011 Kauto Star 5/1 3rd
2011 Denman 8/1 2nd
2010 Denman 4/1 2nd
2009 Denman 7/1 2nd
2005 Celestial Gold 9/2 7th
2005 Strong Flow 5/1 6th
2005 Beef Or Salmon 5/1 PU
2004 Keen Leader 10/1 6th
2004 Therealbandit 15/2 7th
2003 Hussard Collonges 8/1 PU
2002 Florida Pearl 10/1 11th

5 places from 13 horses is a worse place rate (38%) when compared to all horses running in the Gold Cup at odds of 12/1 or less (a 45% place rate from 51 runners in the last 10 years).

Overall, this has to be considered a negative for the Gold Cup. These horses also performed worse than would be expected of them in terms of the places they filled – they filled 10% of the total places on offer from 16% of the total field.

2)    No Horse Aged 10 Years or Older Has Won the Gold Cup

Again, the las horse to buck this trend was Cool Dawn in 1998, a rather untypical winner at 25/1. Since the turn of the century, however, 67 horses have run in the Gold Cup at an age older than 9, and none have managed to win. Those at short prices are listed below:

Year Horse Odds Position
2000 See More Business 9/4 4th
2002 Looks Like Trouble 9/2 13th
2006 Beef Or Salmon 4/1 11th
2010 Denman 4/1 2nd
2010 Kauto Star 8/11 Fell
2011 Imperial Commander 4/1 PU
2011 Kauto Star 5/1 3rd
2012 Kauto Star 3/1 PU
2016 Cue Card 5/2 Fell
2017 Cue Card 9/2 Fell

There are some memorable and surprise losses included in the list, with Kauto Star and Denman featuring again, along with some other veterans such as Beef Or Salmon and more recent stars such as Cue Card.

It’s fair to say that these horses went into the race with solid chances and disappointed. When we look at all 67 older Gold Cup runners since the turn of the century, we see a similarly unimpressive result:

Runners Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
67 0 0% 7 10% 7 10%

7 places from 67 runners is hardly too promising when we consider that these horses made up 28% of the total field but managed to fill just 15% of the places. It looks like horses aged older than 9 are worth avoiding in the Gold Cup.

3)    No Horse Has Won the Gold Cup for the First Time Having Previously Been Beaten in the Race

For this statistic, we’re discounting horses which ran in the Gold Cup and won it on their first run before returning to the race again. If we look at just runs this century which were horse’s 2nd/3rd/4th/5th Gold Cup starts (no horse has run in it this century for a sixth time), we see the following figures:

Runs Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
68 0 0% 9 13% 9 13%

That’s no wins from 68 attempts, a startlingly low figure. The place record may not look terrible, but in terms of filling the places, these horses performed considerably worse than have been expected of them (19% of the total places from 29% of the total field). Therefore, it’s best to steer clear of horses which have previously been beaten in the race.

Full details of these horses can be seen here.

4)    No Horse Has Won the Gold Cup Having Raced on Heavy Ground That Season

This is a very difficult one to find the correct stat for, with a 0/79 strike rate commonly cited. Taking into account only runs in the UK or Ireland, I came up with the following stats:

Runners Wins W% Places P% W/P W/P%
70 0 0 13 19% 13 19%

The vast majority of these were outsiders with big starting prices, but 0 wins from 70 runners is still fairly worrying, particularly considering that we’re talking about almost a third of the total Gold Cup field since the turn of the century. The place record isn’t nearly as bad (a 19% strike rate with these horses filling 27% of the total places on offer from 30% of the total field) which would make me less worried about this stat. However, we will be wary of horses which ran on heavy this season.

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