Walkon can come of age
We analyse the last 10 renewals of Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham and pick out the key statistics.
- Winners have been aged six (2), seven (6), eight and nine.
- Winners have been rated between 136 and 154 with nine between 136 and 150.
- Winners have carried between 10-2 and 11-9 with seven carrying less than 11-0.
- Winners have been priced between 3/1 and 20/1 with three favourites successful.
- Seven of the last 10 winners finished in the first four on their preceding start.
- Four winners (all in the last six years) had had a prep run finishing 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st.
- The last eight winners had had nine chase starts or less.
- Six of the last eight winners were second season chasers.
- All of the last 10 winners had contested a race at the Cheltenham Festival although not all ran at the preceding Festival.
- All of the last 10 winners had won a Class 2 chase or above.
- All of the last 10 winners had won over two and a half miles or beyond.
Four of the last 10 winners have been trained at Pond House Stables and David Pipe is making confident noises about Grands Crus who many good judges believe to be well handicapped.
It would be folly to suggest that the grey can't win this race from a mark of 157 (and likewise Hunt Ball and the 159 rated Al Ferof) with the two highest rated winners in the decade scoring from 150 and 154. However, five of the last seven have been rated between 146 and 149 so it makes sense to look a little further down the handicap from a statistical perspective.
The Disengager ticks most of the right boxes but the claims of Nadiya De La Vega and Walkon are preferred although both have slight question marks over them. The mare has struggled to back performances up in the past and isn't certain to build on her impressive comeback so the nod goes to Alan King's charge who represents the most successful age group.
He's fallen a long way short of initial expectations after an injury interrupted his career but has shown smart form on his last two seasonal reappearances and still has time on his side.