The 54th running of the annual Paddy Power Chase takes place on 15th November at Cheltenham and as everyone begins to search for a winner, we have done all the research for you and came up with the five top tips to help you boost your wallet and beat the bookmakers.
There are plenty of stats, facts and records to help you narrow down your selection and we have trawled through the record books to find all the stats, facts and figures to help you hopefully pick a winner in the £160,000 2m 4½f steeplechase.
5. Faltering Favourites
One thing that history Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase history suggests is you should avoid backing the favourite. Only two of the past 10 winners have went into the race as favourite, Tranquil Star in 2009 and Our Vic in 2005. Of the past 42 winners, however, just eight did not start amongst the first-four in the betting, however, and 18 of the last 22 winners have enjoyed success at the Cheltenham racecourse before the Paddy Power Chase (although two of the last four, 2010 & 2011, were first time Cheltenham winners). Another stat to look out for is previous Cheltenham Festival competitors, with 13 of the last 15 winners, running a chase at the festival the previous year.
4. Seven Heaven?
Seven of the last eight 11 Paddy Power Chase winners have been seven-year-olds but it is not just the age you need to consider when looking for your potential winner. All of the previous 10 winning horses have ran fewer than 10 times over fences and it definitely pays to focus on second and third season runners, who have won the last 11 consecutive races. Avoid any 10-year-old’s, meanwhile, with the last horse aged 10 or above to even place was in 1993 while the last winner 10-year-old winner was all the way back in 1975! And the last nine-year-old winner was back in 2002 when Cyfor Malta won for the prolific Martin Pipe.
3. Target the 10 Stoners
There has been just one winner of the Paddy Power Chase carrying a weight above 10st 13lbs in the past seven years, the surprise 2012 Al Ferof. Last year’s winner John’s Spirit weighed just 10st 2lbs and was the lightest winner since 2004’s Celestial Star, while 2011 winner Great Endeavour was just one pound heavier. And Little Josh, winner in 2010, was 10st 5lbs. In the past 20-years there have been just seven winners carrying over 11 stone.
2. Pipe Dream to continue?
Trainer Martin Pipe enjoyed a phenomenal record in the competition winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup a record-breaking eight times between 1987 and 2005. Nine-year-old Beau Ranger provided Pipe with his first winner and Our Vic was his final success before he retired in 2006. The Pipe legacy continues in the race, however, with son David enjoying his first victory in 2011 with Great Endeavour and he could be represented this year by Ballynagour. Jonjo O’Neill was the winning trainer for the second time last year, meanwhile, and Johns Spirit could become only the sixth horse in races long history to retain his title. The seven-year-old prepared for this year’s race with another victory at Cheltenham again this year, winning the Marie Curie Cancer Care Handicap Chase, just as he did last year. While Nicky Henderson, a three-time Champions Jump trainer, and winner of the Paddy Power Chase in 2003 with Fondmort, has the current market joint-favourite Oscar Whiskey. While another trainer, Alan King, has had four placed from his last 10 runners and his horse Uxizandre could feature and is also fancied by the bookies.
1. McCoy Magic?
Tony McCoy holds the record for the most wins in the Paddy Power Gold Cup with four victories, the last, however, was in 2006 with Great Endeavour for Jonjo O’Neill. The 40-year-old recorded 238 victories during 2013-14 season and finished third in this race in 2012 with Nicky Henderson’s Nadiya De La Vega (10/1). Richie McLernon, meanwhile, has enjoyed great success with Johns Spirit at Cheltenham, winning the race last year and winning the Marie Curie Cancer Care Handicap Chase two-years-in-row as prep for the race. Another name to consider is Sam Twiston-Davies, the jockey picked up three winners at Cheltenham during October’s meeting and won the Paddy Power Chase in 2010 with eight-year-old Little Josh, trained by his father, Nigel Twiston-Davies, who will be represented by Astracad and Double Ross.