The Bet365 Gold Cup is a long-distance handicap chase at Sandown Park, formerly known as the Whitbread Gold Cup.
It is one of the last big staying chases of the National Hunt season and always attracts a large field with wide-open betting.
Great names to win here include Arkle (1965), Mill House (1967), Desert Orchid (1988) and Mr Frisk (1990).
The race is best remembered for the thrilling renewal in 1984 when Her Majesty The Queen Mother won with Special Cargo.
- 1 Bet365 Gold Cup – Race Overview
- 2 Famous Bet365 Gold Cup Winners & History
- 3 Key Bet365 Gold Cup Trials
- 4 Bet365 Gold Cup Betting Trends
- 5 Bet365 Gold Cup Stats
- 6 Top Trainers and Jockeys
- 7 Betting on the Bet365 Gold Cup 2021
- 8 Summary
Bet365 Gold Cup – Race Overview
- The Bet365 Gold Cup is over an extended three and a half miles and 24 fences at the end of April.
- It is a Grade 3 handicap.
- The going can vary at this time of year but it is usually good ground so not necessarily suited to horses that have been winning on the soft.
- The uphill finish at Sandown has resulted in some exciting finishes over the years and it is possible to come from well off the pace.
Famous Bet365 Gold Cup Winners & History
The race was created in 1957 as the Whitbread Gold Cup, the first commercial sponsorship in British sport.
The Whitbread deal lasted until 2001 and then went through several short sponsorships before Bet365 took over in 2008.
The legendary Arkle won this race in 1965 when carrying 12st 7lbs. His great rival Mill House won in 1967 before Larbawn became the first dual winner of the race in 1968 and 1969.
Diamond Edge came close to becoming the first horse to win the race three times. He won in 1979 and 1981 and was beaten only two short-heads by Special Cargo and Lettoch in the 1984 renewal.
The race continued to attract Cheltenham Gold Cup horses with Desert Orchid famously adding his name to the roll of honour in 1988. His victory put paid to the suggestions that he did not stay beyond three miles and established him as one of the most versatile chasers in history.
Mr Frisk had won the Aintree Grand National in a course record time prior to winning here in 1990.
Topsham Bay won in 1992 for David Barons and Hywel Davies but needed the help of the stewards to add a second victory in 1993. He was promoted ahead of first-past-the-post Givus A Buck after receiving a hefty bump from that rival.
The Bet365 Gold Cup has continued to provide high drama, none more so than the victory of Hennessy in 2009. Tony McCoy’s mount traded at 99-1 in running but the champion jockey somehow galvanised him to win from a seemingly impossible position.
Key Bet365 Gold Cup Trials
The Bet365 Gold Cup comes after the Aintree Grand National and the Scottish Grand National.
Horses have managed to win here after running in those races, although the recent trend has been to put the National horses away for the season.
Mr Frisk was the last horse to win at Aintree and follow up at Sandown in 1990.
Horses that have run well in this race previously often return. There have been four dual winners, the most recent being Topsham Bay (1992, 1993) and Ad Hoc (2001, 2003).
Bet365 Gold Cup Betting Trends
The last winning favourite in the Bet365 Gold Cup was Beau back in 2000.
The average winning SP in the race over the past sixteen years has been around 14-1 so it has obviously proved very tricky for punters.
It has not been all doom and gloom as three of the last four winners were well supported; The Young Master returned at 8-1 in 2016, Step Back (2018) and Talkischeap (2019) both won at 7-1.
Their successes are balanced out by the 40-1 shock win for Henllan Harri in 2017. Puntal (2004) and Monkerhostin (2008) were 25-1 outsiders while Church Island (2010) was only marginally more fancied at 20-1.
Bet365 Gold Cup Stats
- All recent winners had raced within the previous two months, around two-thirds of them within the past four weeks.
- Stamina is the key to this event with all bar three of the last sixteen winners having won over three miles or further.
- This has not been a great race for the top weights with only Tidal Bay (2012) carrying more than 11st 5lbs to victory in recent times. He defied top weight of 11st 12lbs but most winners have carried 11st or less. He was also the highest rated recent winner and one of three eleven-year-olds to win since Mr Frisk did so in 1990.
- Horses aged seven to nine do best with only Bounce Back (2002) able to win at the age of six.
Top Trainers and Jockeys
Fulke Walwyn trained a record seven winners of this race between 1958 and 1984. Two of them were with Diamond Edge (1979 and 1981) who featured in a pulsating finish won by stable companion Special Cargo, Walwyn’s last winner of this race.
Paul Nicholls has won the race four times; Ad Hoc (2001 and 2003), Tidal Bay (2012) and Just A Par (2015).
Nicky Henderson trained Brown Windsor to win in 1989 but it was not until Hadrian’s Approach in 2014 that he recaptured the prize.
Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson teamed up successfully with Lacdoudal (2006) and Monkerhostin (2008) while Sean Bowen rode the winner in 2015 and 2017.
Betting on the Bet365 Gold Cup 2021
The Bet365 Gold Cup is a very popular betting race, despite the dearth of winning favourites over the years.
The ante-post market only hots up after the Scottish National as running plans begin to take shape.
Bookmakers will usually offer enhanced place terms, sometimes down to sixth place for this race.
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The Bet365 Gold Cup remains one of the toughest staying handicap chases of the season.
Sandown Park is notorious for producing dramatic finishes and there have been plenty in this race over the years.
Special Cargo’s 1984 victory will live long in the memory while Tony McCoy’s hard-earned win on Hennessy in 2009 was one of his greatest rides.