Aidan O’Brien has trained the winner of the Ascot Gold Cup five times in the last six years, thanks to the majestic Yeats (2006 to 2009) and last year’s winner, Fame And Glory (pictured). O’Brien will saddle the latter again in the 2012 renewal and the six year old is currently a best price of 2.10 (Paddy Power) – but is that buying money, or will there be an Ascot upset?
The Ascot Gold Cup is considered by many to be the highlight of the Royal meeting and in recent years we’ve seen some amazing horses enjoy success in the race – none greater than the only horse to win four Ascot Gold Cups, Yeats, who was honoured at last year’s meeting with a statue. But can Fame And Glory retain his crown and join the likes of Yeats as a repeat winner of the Ascot Gold Cup?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at recent trends emerging from the race and build up the profile of an Ascot Gold Cup winner.
- 10 of the last 12 Ascot Gold Cup winners were sired by a horse with a stamina index of 10.2f or greater
The Ascot Gold Cup takes place over two and a half miles, a mammoth staying trip for flat horses, so it’s logical to expect a winner to have plenty of stamina in their pedigree.
- 10 of the last 12 winners went to Royal Ascot having won at least once over 16f (or further)
- 9 of the last 12 Gold Cup winners had won a Group One race
As with the last trend, you would expect a potential Ascot Gold Cup winner to have proven that they can cope with extreme distances, an assumption that is clearly backed up by the trends; 10 of the last 12 winners had already scored over two miles or further, while the two exceptions had never attempted such a trip before. This suggests that we should oppose horses failing to win at two miles or greater, but we shouldn’t necessarily write off a horse that has never attempted such a trip.
Furthermore, it takes a classy sort of horse to win any Group race at Royal Ascot, let alone the Gold Cup. Three quarters of winners in the past 12 years went to the meeting having already won a Group One. Two of the three exceptions had won Group Two races and the other was unbeaten on the flat.
- 11 of the past 12 Ascot Gold Cup winners had run one to three times that year
- 10 of the past 12 winners had run within the last 55 days
- 8 of the past 12 winners had won their last race on the flat
These trends suggest we need to pick out a relatively race sharp and in form horse – nothing coming back from a long lay off or struggling to win its races.
Applying these trends to the 2012 Ascot Gold Cup field rules out everything apart from the front two in the market – last year’s winner Fame And Glory and last year’s runner up Opinion Poll.
Of the two, the obvious choice has to be Aidan O’Brien’s horse. The trainer has dominated the race in recent years and the 2011 renewal is an obvious starting point in terms of form; Opinion Poll went down by three lengths. As if that weren’t enough, Opinion Poll is yet to win from three attempts in races longer than two miles.
For me, the choice is obvious. Paddy Power‘s 2.10 is buying money. Get on!
The Ascot Gold Cup
Thursday 21st June 2012, 15:45
Fame And Glory @ 2.10 (Paddy Power)