Whoever said age was just a number didn’t bet on horse racing…
With the first few days of Cheltenham festival under wraps we had a look into the most anticipated event across the four days – the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The gold cup is a grade 1 national hunt horse race run over 3 miles and 2 ½ furlongs.
The Gold cup is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain with a staggering £625,000 up for grabs. While the all the betting stations are churning out odds, we had a look into one of the main questions in the sport – does age affect your winning chances?
For those of you who aren’t racing fanatics, thoroughbreds all share the same birthday, January 1st, as this make it easier to track sires and blood lines. Racehorses are allowed to race from the age of two years old. Often these are called Juvenile races, however, to enter the Gold Cup horses must be above 5 years old.
We analysed the winners for the past 20 years and found the average age was 8 years old. We then compared the odds and ages of all the horses who entered, and compared against the average. For example, in 2017 the average was 1.23 years higher than the winner.
We averaged out the deviation from the last 20 years to find that the winner based entirely on age should be -0.527 years younger than the average age of all the horses competing in that race. For 2018 the average age of the upcoming runners is 8.47 so applying our formula the age of the winner should be 7.94. This agrees with our earlier winning average of 8 years old which would leave Native River, Our Duke, Minella Rocco, American, Double Shuffle and Shantou Flyer in the running.
Our money is on Native River, but if you fancy going rogue, we’d recommend getting down to William Hill and backing another one from our list.