Coral Gold Cup Stats and Trends

Winter is the time of year for National Hunt fans really enjoy the horse racing action. From October to Christmas and then on to the Spring Festivals, the British and Irish racing calendars lay on a steady stream of treats to warm the cockles as the temperature gauge drops. One of the early season highlights on British shores comes in Berkshire, as Newbury Racecourse plays host to one of the most spectacular staying handicaps of the season in the shape of the Coral Gold Cup.

Taking place in late November/early December, this stamina-sapping 3m2f event debuted at Cheltenham in 1957 before switching to Newbury in 1960, where the race has remained ever since. Initially titled the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, the famous distillers continued to back the race until 2016, creating a sponsorship partnership which was, at the time, the longest-running in British racing. Many racing fans still refer to the event as “The Hennessy”, despite Ladbrokes taking over sponsorship duties in 2017, followed by Coral in 2022.

Whatever the official title, this race attracts one of the classiest handicapping fields of the season, with many winners going on to be bigger and better things. Cheltenham Gold Cup heroes Arkle (1964, 1965), Denman (2007, 2009) and Native River (2018) all prevailed here, whilst 2014 champ Many Clouds went on to claim Grand National glory. Here, we look back at the results from the current century (2000 to 2022), in an effort to unearth a selection of useful stats and trends, to help zero in on the winner of what is always one of the biggest betting heats of the winter months.

Age Trends

Coral Gold Cup: Age Trends

Officially open to chasers aged four and older, it is exceedingly rare for one so young to take part. Nevertheless, relatively younger legs have held the edge in this event in recent times. Of the 23 editions held between 2000 and 2022, 21 (91.30%) were won by a runner falling into the six to nine-year-old bracket, with the seven-year-old contenders fairing best. The big outlier came in 2018 when Sizing Tennessee became only the fourth horse aged 10 or above to land this prize.

Weight Trends

Coral Gold Cup: Weight Trends

The mighty Arkle incredibly carried 12st7lb to victory in each of his two successes, but these days, the maximum burden is 12st, with the lowest weight recently raised to 10st2lb. Overall, it’s hard to determine a strong weight trend here, with the race falling just as often to a proven classy performer as to a potentially unexposed runner lurking lower in the handicap.

This pattern has been in evidence throughout the entire history of the race. The 66 editions up to and including 2022 saw an exactly 50/50 split between winners carrying 11st or more and those burdened with 10st13lb or less.

Rating of Winner

Coral Gold Cup: Rating of Winner

Given the absence of a strong weight trend, the rating pattern is in line with what we would expect. There have been notable peaks, headlined by Denman’s remarkable victory off a mark of 174 in 2009, and troughs, such as Cloth Cap’s 2020 victory off 136, but the overall trend line is almost completely flat. The average rating of the winner in the current century sits at 149.

Finishing Position Last Time Out

Coral Gold Cup: Finishing Position

The stats suggest we should favour runners who have at least performed with credit on their most recent outing. In the current century, just under half of the winners arrived on the back of a victory, whilst 18 of 23 (78.26%) had at least finished in the first three on their previous start.

Fresh Is Best

Coral Gold Cup Previous Starts

With this race coming only a couple of months into the season, most runners will have only a few runs under their belts. Results suggest it is a case of the fewer, the better. Horses with a single tune-up run have fared best, but eight or 23 were making their seasonal return in the race, whilst only one of 23 had more than one previous outing in the current campaign.

Fate of the Favourite

Despite often appearing to be a tricky contest on paper, the market has done a solid job of identifying the most likely winner. Seven of the 23 editions between 2000 and 2022 were won by the favourite or joint-favourite, handing jolly backers a net win of £7.50 (32.60%) to £1 level stakes.

Overall, 15 of 23 winners returned a single-figure SP, and five were priced between 10/1 and 16/1, with the biggest shock coming in 2021 when Cloudy Glen defied odds of 33/1 to battle it out best to the line.

Other Stats

  • Proven stamina has been one of the key pointers, with 20 or 23 winners between 2000 and 2022 having previously won over three miles or further.
  • British trainers have dominated this event, with the Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall (2020) being the only Irish-trained winner between 2000 and 2022.
  • Amongst the British trainers, it is the big guns of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson who lead the way with three wins each.
  • For pedigree fans, Cloudings, Indian River, and Presenting are the only Stallions to have sired the winner on more than one occasion over this 2000 to 2022 period.