Talking Trends – Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup


In a new feature for, each week I will be exploring the key trends and statistics for the weekend’s racing.  This first instalment focuses on the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup.  Run over 2m5f at Cheltenham, this Grade 3 Handicap Chase regularly provides pointers towards the Byrne Group Chase or RyanAir Chase at the Festival in March.  




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Here are the key trends to help us pick the race apart and hopefully find a winner.

9 out of the last 10 winners were aged under 8

– 10 out of the last 10 winners had run at Cheltenham previously

– 8 out of the last 10 winners had had a run within 30 days prior to the race

– 8 out of the last 10 winners were French bred

– 11 out of the last 14 winners were priced under 15/2

– 9 out of the last 10 winners were rated between 132-151 (5 out of the last 10 rated in 140's)

– 6 out of the last 10 winners were trained by Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson

– Only one winning fav since 1996


Paddy Power Gold Cup winner John’s Spirit (5/1 BetVictor) has been sensational so far this season winning 2 big handicaps over course and distance and aims to make it a hat trick.  Now up to a rating of 148 the horse meets most of the trends and certainly has the potential to go close, however; the rise in the weights and the record of favourites puts me off.  

COLOUR SQUADRON (5/1 Betfred) finished 2nd in that same race ¾ of a length behind, and now has a 2lb pull in the weights and the champion jockey McCoy back on board.  The Phillip Hobbs charge has shown good form throughout his career and meets most of the trends.  A slight concern would be the fact that he hasn’t won a race since 2011 however i’m hopeful that he’ll curb that trend on Saturday.

Grandioso (7/1 Coral) represents the 3 times race winning trainer Paul Nicholls, and arrives here as a Grade 2 winner over fences already.  The horse meets most of the trends and also arrives with the weights reversed after being beaten by both Cantlow and Easter Meteor at Newbury.  The only thing that would put me off the horse would be his poor run on his only start at Cheltenham when he finished down the field in the Neptune at the Festival last year.  

The two horses Grandioso finished behind, Cantlow and Easter Meteor, both take part here as well.  Cantlow (10/1 BetVictor) looked decent when winning at Newbury, however 8 year-olds have a poor record in the race and that statistic is definitely a noteworthy negative.  Easter Meteor (12/1 Ladbrokes) also ran in the Paddy Power Gold Cup against the top two in the market.  He was leading and going well up until he fell over the second last, hampering Colour Squadron in the process.  Another horse that meets most of the trends and has the potential to go close.

Others to note include, Attaglance (8/1 Coral) who finished 4th in Paddy Power, comes here in good form, and has a bit more in hand at the weights.  He meets most of the trends but hasn’t won since 2012 and hasn’t shown enough at this level to be a backable proposition.  Salut Flo (10/1 bet365) is an interesting runner for David Pipe as he won the Byrne Group Chase in 2012 over course and distance with plenty in hand.  This horse certainly has a chance would but; again the age stats are against an 8yo and considering the horse hasn’t run in nearly 650 days it’s going to be a real challenge to win such a competitive race. 

Gauvain (25/1 BetVictor) and Tap Night (20/1 Coral) both seem to be in the handicapper's grasp and Sew on Target (20/1 Betfred) and Silver Roque (20/1 Betfred) have been struggling in company far inferior to these.  Double Ross (12/1 bet365) could be interesting and meets a few of the trends but this could be a step too far for him.  Ma Filluele (20/1 bet365) is the interesting outsider from the Nicky Henderson yard, however this could be a bit of an afterthought after disappointing over hurdles and her Cheltenham form isn’t that impressive.

This is a tough race to judge as a lot of the horses meet the trends of the race, something which certainly doesn’t occur all that often!  One trend that does stand out though is the fact that horses who were sent off 15/2 or shorter in the betting have gone on to win 11 out of the previous 14 runnings of the race.  With that in mind, I think that COLOUR SQUADRON could finally get off the mark over fences after being unlucky when hampered and flying home late last time.  The horse ran a huge race in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and now with the assistance of the champ Tony McCoy, he should give you a good run for your money.


Selection – 

COLOUR SQUADRON (Win) (5/1 Betfred)


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