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Sunday 18 March 2012

Was it a vintage Gold Cup ?

With Synchronised winning the Gold Cup from The Giant Bolster I guess it was'nt everyones idea of the first two home, the exacta paid £707.80.
The winner was rated 143 when he won the Midlands Grand National in 2010 and he had only moved up 7lbs higher to 150 when he won Welsh Grand National in January 2011. He was thought by many to be nothing more than a good stayer.
The 50/1 second The Giant Bolster was rated 145 at the begining of this year when winning a handicap at Chepstow and here he was mixing it with the big boys in the Gold Cup and performing with plenty of credit too.
Some say that the third home Long Run was not a worthy Gold Cup winner last season but on times recorded in recent years his was the fastest time we have seen this century so far.
Kauto Star was obviously still feeling the effects of his fall and with Nicholls not having had a chase winner at the festival since he won the Gold Cup in 2009 it was always going to be a huge task for the 12 year old.
Looking at the times of the race in recent years and the ratings of the horses that finished first and second at the start of their respective seasons we have the following :-

2012 Synchronised 6m 36.19  GD - Rated 150 2nd The Giant Bolster 146
2011 Long Run 6m 29.70s GD - Rated 158 2nd Denman 182
2010 Imperial Commander 6m 43.90s GD Rated 165, 2nd Denman 174
2009 Kauto Star 6m 44.95s GD to SFT Rated 179, 2nd Denman 182
2008 Denman 6m 47.84s GD to SFT Rated 176, 2nd Kauto Star 179
2007 Kauto Star 6m 40.46 GD to SFT Rated 179, 2nd Exotic Dancer 139
2006 War of Attrition 6m 31.70s GD Rated 146, 2nd Hedgehunter 160

Supposedly a good field on paper the race lacked any real depth in my view and the fact that a horse who was struggling to go the pace for virtually the whole of the race could win shows us that. He simply outstayed those that were in front of him in the home straight and finished full of running up the Cheltenham hill which has in the past made many a class horses falter in its stride in this race.
If he were to turn up for the Grand National (14/1 with Stan James) then he would have a leading chance even though he is by Sadlers Wells who is not usually an advertisement for staying ability.