The jumps meeting at Sandown marks the season finale, and we’re looking to round off in style with the winner of the feature race, the Bet365 (boo, hiss) Gold Cup. Although at the time of writing the ground at Sandown is good, weather nerds are forecasting a mighty shower on Saturday so in this Narrow the Field piece, we won’t be looking at form on the ground.
Instead we’ve picked out the key trends of winners of this race over the last decade to try to find a model winner for Saturday’s race. Firstly we’ve managed to half the field by only considering horses that hit the following key stats.
- 10 of the last 10 winners had previously won over 3 miles or more
- 9 of the last 10 winners had won a Class 2 or higher graded Chase
- 9 of the last 10 winners had finished in the first six in their last completed Chase
So that leaves us with just 11 contenders in the field, and three more key trends – weight, official rating and handicap chase wins. 10 years of stats suggest the most likely winner is nearer the top of the weights than the bottom, is rated somewhere between 135 and 154, and hasn’t won more than two handicap chases.
Eight horses came agonisingly close to landing plum in the middle, but it’s Le Reve (7/1) with double-winning Grand National jockey Leighton Aspell on board who ticks all the boxes. He was six lengths behind the ultra-impressive Rocky Creek at Kempton in February, and comes here fresh after skipping Cheltenham and Aintree to presumably target this specific race. Rocky Creek has been hiked up the handicap since, and Le Reve comes into this race 8lb better off than that six-length defeat.
The trends suggest it’s a race for horses nearer the top of the weights than the bottom, and that suits Le Reve who carries 10-10 and is officially rated 147. Trainer Lucy Wadham has continually emphasised that this horse wants better ground, and if the storms stay away that is exactly what he’ll get on Saturday. Throw in a handy bit of course form – placed four times in six appearances at Sandown – and you’ve almost got the whole package.
Currently at 7/1 he might not be seen to be a whole lot of value, but sometimes the horses at the top of the market simply hit every trend going. It’s hard to pick holes in his form and he’s clearly been mapped out for this race, so we’re hopeful that we can end the jumps season on a high.