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Great Meadow: Facts to know and trends to follow for International Gold Cup day

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

October 21st, 2022

A great day of jump racing awaits on Saturday at Great Meadow, where the $75,000 International Gold Cup Timber S. serves as the highlight of an action-packed afternoon.

The International Gold Cup dates back to 1930 and has been contested at Great Meadow since 1984. Saturday’s renewal of the 3 1/2-mile test over timbers is the 85th edition, and horseplayers can get bets down on the eight-race card through TwinSpires.

In addition to the International Gold Cup, the Saturday card also features the David L. (Zeke) Ferguson Memorial Hurdle H. (G2) and the Steeplethon S.

Looking for tips and trends to help your handicapping? Let’s explore some facts and figures pertaining to Great Meadow and the International Gold Cup.

Since pari-mutuel wagering came to Great Meadow in October 2021, betting favorites have gone 6-for-15, compiling a 40% win rate that is more or less typical for favorites in U.S. racing. Horseplayers only casually familiar with jump racing need not fear a parade of unprecedented longshot winners; the results are generally predictable.

You might assume horses bred in Europe dominate the International Gold Cup, since racing over fences is a bigger industry across the pond than in the United States. But American-bred runners have more than held their own in the International Gold Cup, winning 21 out of 22 editions since 2000. Nine of the winners were bred in Maryland.

On the jockey front, you have to watch out for horses ridden by Thomas Garner. The last three racing days at Great Meadow (dating back to May 2021) have seen Garner compile a stellar 8-for-20 (40%) record, including a blowout victory in the 2021 International Gold Cup aboard Tomgarrow.

Leslie Young has been similarly dominant among trainers, going 7-for-19 (37%) at Great Meadow since 2021. Young is the National Steeplechase Association leading trainer by wins this year, but the leader by earnings is Keri Brion, who outperformed Young with a 4-for-7 (57%) win rate on Virginia Gold Cup day during the spring at Great Meadow.

In the International Gold Cup, specifically, trainer Jack Fisher has enjoyed the most success since the turn of the century, winning six editions. Among jockeys, Mark Beecher leads the way with four victories since 2000.

Horses aged seven and eight have enjoyed the most success in recent editions of the International Gold Cup, winning six times apiece since 2000. Nine-year-olds have also fared well with five victories, while 10-year-olds (three wins) and six-year-olds (two wins) haven’t visited the winner’s circle quite as often.

The course record for 3 1/2 miles over timbers belongs to two-time International Gold Cup winner Doc Cebu, who shaded the seven-minute mark when recording a stakes-record clocking of 6:57.40 as a seven-year-old in the 2017 International Gold Cup. But Grinding Speed has been the most successful International Gold Cup competitor since 2000, winning the race three times at ages six, eight, and nine.

It’s relatively uncommon for International Gold Cup winners to lead at every point of call; the feat has been achieved only four times in the last 22 years by Tomgarrow (2021), Grand Manan (2016), Ghost Valley (2006), and Thor Thors (2001).

The chart below outlines every International Gold Cup winner since 2000:

International Gold Cup winners since 2000

YearHorseJockeyTrainerWinning TimeCourse Condition
2021
Tomgarrow
Thomas Garner
Leslie Young
7:34.20
Good
2020
Curve of Stones
Barry Foley
David Bourke
7:21.80
Firm
2019
Schoodic
Hadden Frost
Jack Fisher
7:15.60
Firm
2018
Doc Cebu
Hadden Frost
Jack Fisher
7:52.80
Soft
2017
Doc Cebu
Hadden Frost
Jack Fisher
6:57.40
Good
2016
Grand Manan
Darren Nagle
William Meister
7:09.40
Good
2015
Grinding Speed
Mark Beecher
Alicia Murphy
7:15.40
Good
2014
Grinding Speed
Mark Beecher
Alicia Murphy
7:18.40
Good
2013
Foyle
Kieran Norris
H. Fenwick
7:21.60
Good
2012
Grinding Speed
Mark Beecher
Alicia Murphy
8:01.60
Yielding
2011
Incomplete
Mark Beecher
Ann Stewart
8:06.00
Yielding
2010
He's a Conniver
Jody Petty
Ernest Oare
7:36.00
Good
2009
Seeyouattheevent
Jeff Murphy
Jack Fisher
7:11.00
Good
2008
Bubble Economy
Robert Walsh
Jack Fisher
7:20.40
Good
2007
Seeyouattheevent
Robert Walsh
Jack Fisher
7:01.80
Firm
2006
Ghost Valley
Jody Petty
Sanna Neilson
7:24.20
Good
2005
Fields of Omagh
Tom Foley
Randolph Rouse
7:13.20
Good
2004
Chinese Whisper
Christopher Read
Neil Morris
7:29.40
Good
2003
Lord Kenneth
Matthew McCarron
Neil Morris
7:36.80
Good
2002
Stage Radiance
Michael Cooney
Louis Neilson III
7:47.80
Yielding
2001
Thor Thors
Michael Traurig
Alicia Murphy
7:26.60
Firm
2000
Maipo
Archibald Kingsley Jr.
Charles Fenwick Jr.
7:20.40
Firm

Check out our handicapping preview of the 2022 International Gold Cup for a horse-by-horse analysis complete with suggested wagers.

Enjoy the racing!

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