Ascot Silver Cup Betting Tips, Stats & History

There aren’t many weeks that go by without a top staying handicap on the racing menu, and the run up to Christmas is no different with this excellent offering from Ascot. This has been one of the classiest events of its type in the past, with previous winners including Cheltenham Gold Cup kings, Arkle and Cool Dawn. Whilst it is rare to see a runner in that bracket line up these days, the race does invariably still attract a high-quality field.

First run back in 1965, the Ascot Silver Cup forms part of the course's richest day of jump racing alongside the Long Walk Hurdle and the Betfair Trophy.

Race Info

3m is the trip for this Listed contest set to be run on soft ground this year and offering £100,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 3m Listed £100,000 Max 18 Runners 1/4 1-3

Ascot Silver Cup Betting Tips

Ascot, 15:00, Saturday 22nd December 2018

The first trend to jump out when looking at the recent results here concerns the age of the winner, with the past eight editions all falling to a runner between five and eight years of age.

Nicky Henderson is the most successful of the trainers on show this year with three previous wins in the race. Henderson looks set to rely on defending champion, Gold Present, and Valtor this time around.

We look to be in for a compelling renewal this year, with two previous winners set to go to post in the form of last year’s champ Gold Present and Houblon des Obeaux, who will be looking to turn back the clock to his 2013 triumph. There are plenty of likely looking sorts amongst the opposition though in what looks a competitive affair.

Early Christmas Present For Nicky?

Heading the betting this year is the horse who proved too good for the rest 12 months ago; Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present. He’s 5lbs higher in the handicap than for that win, but was comfortably three lengths clear that day and certainly doesn’t look handicapped out of it. Having posted a solid effort behind Politologue and Charbel in a Grade 2 on his return, he should be fit and raring to go for what looks an easier assignment on paper. With each of his five career wins to date having come on good to soft or quicker though, he could probably do with the rain staying away.

Glass To Lift The Cup

Another towards the head of the market is the Alan King representative, Full Glass. We liked the chances of this one in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup last weekend, so he must also make the shortlist here in what looks a slightly easier race. Having been withdrawn at the 11th hour ahead of that Cheltenham contest due to the good ground being deemed unsuitable, connections will likely be pleased with the current soft conditions at the track.

Four of this ones five wins over in France came with plenty of give underfoot, and there must be a chance he is well handicapped on what will be just his second start for his new trainer. 2m3f is the furthest he has won over to date, so the trip would be the biggest question mark here.

Acting Lass The Star Of The Show

Harry Fry’s Acting Lass had an excellent campaign last season, winning three of his four starts in grand style and climbing from a mark of 135 to his current perch of 149. One of those three wins did come at this track which must count as a plus, but on the downside his only effort at this 3m trip resulted in a 25-length defeat. The good ground at Kempton that day does look to be a possibly mitigating circumstance though as his best efforts have all come with some give underfoot. He should get that here and having shown he can go well fresh in the past we wouldn’t be concerned about this being his first run in 301 days.

Final Verdict: Full Glass To Win

Gold Present would be the obvious one here having won in such authoritative fashion 12 months ago. A rating of 152 doesn’t leave too much room for manoeuvre though and with the ground possibly going against him he is – a little reluctantly – passed over.

The one to side with here is Full Glass. Whilst the step up to this trip is a question mark, we liked the way he was beginning to travel into the race when unseating four from home at Haydock last time out. A mark of 142 would appear to be workable for this five year old and he’s fancied to go close.

Recent Winners

Year Winner SP Trainer Jockey
2018 Valtor 33/1 Nicky Henderson James Bowen
2017 Gold Present 17/2 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
2016 Regal Encore 20/1 Anthony Honeyball Barry Geraghty
2015 Wakanda 8/1 Sue Smith Danny Cook
2014 The Young Master 3/1 Neil Mulholland Barry Geraghty
2013 Houblon Des Obeaux 6/4 Venetia Williams Aidan Coleman
2012 Wyck Hill 4/1 David Bridgewater Tom Scudamore
2011 The Minack 11/4 Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh
2010 Race abandoned due to snow
2009 Race abandoned due to snow

About The Ascot Silver Cup

National Hunt Fence at Ascot Racecourse

When you mention Ascot the first thing that comes to any horse racing fan’s mind is the leading Flat racing meeting, Royal Ascot. The racecourse at Ascot is multi-faceted though and also plays host to a number of top class National Hunt races.

The Ascot Silver Cup is one such race. It’s a Listed handicap steeplechase which is run over a distance of about 3 miles (2 miles 7 furlongs and 180 yards, if you’re counting) and takes in 20 fences around Ascot’s Hunt course.

Course Characteristics

It’s the Hunt course that should be the first port of call for any punter looking for a winning Silver Cup bet. The right handed course is a particularly challenging one for many horses who struggle with its galloping nature combined with very testing fences. Navigating those fences at the sort of speeds horses tend to go round Ascot, even in a 3 mile contest, requires excellent jumping ability and it’s that which tends to set successful horses apart from the rest in the Silver Cup.

The other challenge for horses and trainers to navigate is the ground. The Silver Cup is held just days before Christmas and the changeable British winter weather can alter the going very quickly. A lot of rain in the days leading up to the race will suit horses who prefer softer ground but a cold, dry spell could well make things firmer than is comfortable for many National Hunt horses.

Chart Showing the Going at the Ascot Christmas Meeting Between 1999 and 2018

A Highly Competitive Contest

It’s fair to say that the difficulty and unpredictability of the Ascot Hunt course has had an impact on the calibre of animals competing in the Silver Cup. It’s always been thought of as a very competitive handicap since first being introduced in 1965 and still receives a number of entries each and every year but there is a feeling that it’s lost some of the prestige of years gone by. That is perhaps reflected by the high number of different sponsors who have lent their names to the Silver Cup in more recent times.

Look Out for Unexposed Runners

That said, the Silver Cup is still a difficult race to win and so any successful horse should be considered for other competitive handicaps. Moreover, some trainers have used the Silver Cup as a chance to blood exciting younger horses in this sort of competitive atmosphere.

Take Frodon, who was second in 2017 as a five-year-old as an example. He went on to land the Crest Nicholson Handicap at Cheltenham and finished second in the BetVictor Gold Cup so it’s well worth making a note of eye catching performances from younger horses who look unexposed.

Chart Shwoing the Ages of Ascot Silver Cup Runners Between 2014 and 2018

There are any number of competitive handicaps around the 3 mile distance. The challenge of Ascot means previous course form is important when assessing a potential winner but the most valuable thing punters can take from the Silver Cup are hints for picking out well priced options in other handicap chases.

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