The Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase is a Grade 1 steeplechase for runners aged 5 years and older which is run over 3 miles, 2 furlongs and 70 yards at Cheltenham and is the highlight of day 4 of the Festival on Friday, 17 March 2017.
 
The race is considered to be the most prestigious level weight steeplechase for staying chasers of the season and always presents an interesting puzzle for punters to assess, with an average field size of just over 13 runners taking part during the past decade.
 
During this period, 5 favourites have been successful for a LSP of 6.50 pts, whilst 9 of the last 10 winners were sent off at odds of 8/1 or shorter, with the only exception being Lord Windermere who won the race in 2014 at odds of 20/1, which suggests that this is not a good race for relatively unfancied runners.
 
 
GOLD CUP KEY TRENDS AND STATS
All of the last 16 winners of the race had previously won a Grade 1 contest.

11 of the last 15 winners had all won or finished second at the Festival before.

20 of the last 22 winners were aged between seven and nine.

14 of the last 15 winners started in the top three of the betting, with Lord Windermere bucking the trend in 2014.

9 of the last 16 winners contested the King George VI Chase at Kempton

9 of the last 14 winners did not run before in the same calendar year.

13 of the last 15 winners were rated at 166 or higher.

Just one of the last twenty-one winners was aged ten or older.

Long Run (2011) was the first six-year old to win since 1963.

15 of the last 17 winners had won earlier in the season.

Only 3 winners in just under fifty years has won the race with under six races run 
over fences (Bobs Worth won in 2013 with five, Coneygree with four in 2015).

12 of the last 24 winners were second season chasers.
 
 
KEY GOLD CUP TRIAL WINNERS
 
Betfair Chase: Cue Card
King George VI Chase: The New One
 
 
 
THE VERDICT
 
 
The Betfair chase winner Cue Card heads the market for Friday's Gold cup at odds of 3/1 and he is well worthy of favourtism after how strongly he travelled before falling three out last year. I honestly do think if he hadn't of fallen he would of won and won well by a good couple of lengths but we'll never know if he would of had enough in the tank to beat Don Cossack that day. Not the best of seasons so far with just the two wins from four runs although he probably needed his first run finishing just third from seven and his other defeating coming at the hands of Thistlecrack. He looked very impressive in his last run at Ascot back in February eased down and ended up winning by a good 20 lengths. Thistlecrack put him to the sword in the King George at Kempton back n December but CC won't have to worry about his stablemate this time as hes been ruled out through injury unfortunately. 20 of the last 22 winners of the Gold Cup have been aged between seven and nine so Cue Card will have to buck the trends if he is to win at 11 years of age. One stablemate he will have to watch out for though is resolute stayer Native River. The winner of the Welsh Grad National and The Denman Chase has gained quite a lot of followers over the season and a lot of people are saying he's one of the bankers of the festival! He hasn't finished out of the top three in his last eleven races including a good second in last years Festival in the National Hunt chase so has decent course form and has also won at the Gold Cup distance with an impressive display in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last November. The bookies can't split him and Djackadam who are currently both 7/2. The latter has ran consistently in two previous Gold Cups but has always found one too good, last year it was Don Cossack and the year before he finished second to the novice Coneygree. I think this year he has a cracking chance and if he runs to the same standard as his previous two Gold Cup runs he is sure to be in the mix again or even go one better. Now at the age of eight he fits a lot of the key race trends and if he jumps well there's no doubt he'll be in the frame come the end of the race. The 12/1 which was available a few months back ante-post is starting to look like a great price now!  Sizing John could be one to watch out for at a bigger price, twice he's chased Douvan home at Cheltenham in two previous festivals and has been in cracking form recently winning the Irish Gold Cup in Leoparstown beating the likes of Road To Riches (previous Gold Cup 3rd), Empire Of Dirt (currently 12/1 for this years renewal), Don Poli (previous Gold Cup 3rd) and Carlingford Lough (Previous Gold Cup 4th) so has decent form and I think if any of the top three in the betting have an off day this horse has a really good chance of making the frame. 
 
Whatever happens the Gold Cup is always a great race with some amazing horses, maybe not the horses many hoped this year with the likes of Thistlecrack, Don Poli, Don Cossack and the late Vatour but with the current line up I still think we're in for an absolute treat. I'm siding with a horse that as mentioned before if he runs to the same standard as his two previous outings in the Gold Cup he must have a chance of going one better this year. I'll also be having an each way bet on the horse which is improving with every run and if he handles the extra bit of distance definitely has a chance to cause an upset
 
Win bet: DJAKADAM 4/1
Each way bet: SIZING JOHN 10/1 
 
Good luck what ever you're backing! 

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