Unlucky for some – Friday 13th at Cheltenham Festival
The 2020 Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner and it doesn’t matter if you’re a racing fan or not, all roads lead to the meeting’s showpiece, the Gold Cup. Last year, 71,500 attended Prestbury Park on Gold Cup Day, while the race was also watched on television by millions of viewers worldwide.
Generally speaking, Friday 13th is a notoriously unlucky day – not only in sport or more specifically horse racing. History shows that it’s surprisingly unlucky for the bookies too, when it comes to picking the favourites at Cheltenham. Gold Cup Day has fallen on Friday 13th twice in the meeting’s history and it will again this year.
Ahead of Friday 13th March 2020 and the final, most prestigious day of the four-day festival, you can find the latest Cheltenham Festival 2020 odds – but who are the favourites for each race?
Triumph Hurdle: Solo
County Handicap Hurdle: Ciel De Neige, Fusil Raffles (JF)
Spa Novices' Hurdle: Thyme Hill
Gold Cup: Al Boum Photo, Santini (JF)
Foxhunter Chase: Hazel Hill
Grand Annual Chase: Greaneteen
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle: Ilikedwayurthinkin
For racing fans and punters alike, the latest form guides and market odds will come in handy as they scramble around to pick a favoured horse or two – but what really are the chances of them winning their entered race?
The old adage suggests third time lucky, but will Friday 13th March 2020 be a lucky day for punters or bookies?
On Friday 13th March 2009, of the seven races that took place, only one favourite won. Kauto Star, ridden by Ruby Walsh and famously trained by Paul Nicholls, regained the Gold Cup – becoming the first horse ever to do so. Kauto Star beat stablemate and the previous year’s winner Denmanby 13 lengths – the widest winning margin, since 1995.
It wasn’t all bad news though and three of the favourites managed to place in their respective races.
The smallest margin of defeat was half a length for Pride of Dulcotein the Spa Novices’ Hurdle; while in the Foxhunter Chase, the 7/2 favourite Juveigneur came 12th, losing by the greatest margin of the day – 57 lengths.
It was the same story on Friday 13th March 2015. This time the day’s only winner as favourite came in the opening race, the Triumph Hurdle. Peace And Co could be found at a price of 2/1 and the Nicky Henderson-trained horse, ridden by Barry Geraghty beat Top Notchby a neck.
It was certainly a day to bash the bookies, with the favourites in the other races completely underperforming.
Only two horses placed in their respective races, Paint The Cloudsin the Foxhunter chase and Roi Des Francs in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle but the smallest margin of defeat was four-and-three-quarter lengths – still some way off the pace.
At the other end of the spectrum, Black Hercules lost by the day’s biggest margin, a massive 35-and-a-quarter lengths, as he finished seventh in the Spa Novices’ Hurdle. It would have been a day to forget for joint-favourite in the Grand Annual Chase, Blood Cotil. With legendary Ruby Walsh in the saddle, the 4/1 shout didn’t complete the course, pulling up before two out
Odds correct as of week commencing March 2nd