The Bet365 Gold Cup will be known to older racing fans as The Whitbread, this 3m5 1/2f race is the last big jumping event of the NH season, and being staged on a mixed (jumps/flat) card then for many this signals the real handover between the two codes.
Run at Sandown Park racecourse the staying Handicap Grade Three chase has been won by some leading names over the years, including Desert Orchid, who landed the prize back in 1988. It’s also been a poor race for the favourite in recent times with not a single market leader win since Beau took the race in 2000, while it might pay to note that 23 of the last 28 (82%) winners carried less than 11st to victory.
Here at SUREWIN we've got all the stats ahead of the 2021 renewal, this year run on Saturday April 24th.
2020 – No Race
2019 – TALKISCHEAP (7/1)
2018 - STEP BACK (7/1)
2017 – HELLAN HARRI (40/1)
2016 – THE YOUNG MASTER (8/1)
2015 – JUST A PAR (14/1)
2014 – HADRIANS APPROACH (10/1)
2013 – QUENTIN COLLONGES (14/1)
2012 – TIDAL BAY (9/1)
2011 – POKER DE SIVOLA (11/1)
2010 – CHURCH ISLAND (20/1)
2009 – HENNESSY (13/2)
2008 – MONKERHOSTIN (25/1)
2007 – HOT WELD (6/1)
2006 – LACDOUDAL (10/1)
2005 – JACK HIGH (16/1)
2004 – PUNTAL (25/1)
2003 – AD HOC (7/1)
17/17 – Had raced in the last 63 days
16/17 – Carried 11-5 or less in weight
14/17 – Carried 11-0 or less
14/17 – Had won over 3m or further before
13/17 – Aged 9 or younger
12/17 - Returned 14/1 or shorter in the betting
10/17 – Had raced in the last 25 days
10/17 – Officially rated 140 or higher
10/17 – Came from the top 7 in the betting market
9/17 – Finished 4th or worse last time out
5/17 – Won with 10st in weight
3/17 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/17 – Won last time out
2/17 – Ran in the Aintree Grand National last time out
2/17 – Ran in the Scottish Grand National last time out
2/17 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
2/17 – Trained by Philip Hobbs
2/17 – Ridden by Sean Bowen
0/17 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 17 years is 14/1
The last winning favourite was Beau in 2000
Just one 6 year-old winner since 1959
24 of the last 29 (83%) winners carried less than 11st
8 year-olds have won 6 of the last 17 runnings (35%)
13 of the last 17 (76%) winners were aged 7, 8 or 9 years-old
Trainer Paul Nicholls has won the race 4 times
Recent Run – With ALL of the last seventeen winners having raced in the last 63 days then this is certainly a good stating point when we know the final runners. This trend can also be taken a bit further with 10 of the last 17 winners having raced in the last 25 days. Only three of the last 17 winners won their last race, so don’t be too hung up looking for a recent winner, while 9 of the last 17 also finished unplaced in their most recent outing.
Weight – Another big trend here to help whittle down the runners as 16 of the last 17 winners carried 11st 5lbs or less in weight, with 14 of the last 17 having 11st or less on their backs. Since 2007, we’ve only had two winners that won with 11st or more. If we go back a bit further in time then 24 of the last 29 winners (83%) carried less than 11st, while 5 of the last 17 winners took the prize with just 10st – so, even though it doesn’t always apply to these staying races, it’s clear here that those towards the bottom of the handicap have fared better.
Age – The most recent winner in 2019 – Talkischeap – was a 7 year-old when he won the race – 50% of the last six winners have now been aged 7. Plus, by winning this Alan King runner further backed up the trend that’s seen 13 of the last 17 winners aged 9 or younger. Having said that, we have seen three 11 year-olds – Monkerhostin (2008), Church Island (2010) and Tidal Bay (2012) – take the prize. However, 76% of the last 17 winners fitted into the age bracket between 7-9 year-olds and 6 of the last 17 winners were 8 year-olds. At the other end of the age spectrum, we’ve had just one 6 year-old winner (Bounce Back, 2002) since 1959.
Favourites and Betting – Another huge trend here in recent times has seen this race being a graveyard contest for the favourites – the last winning market leader was in 2000 (Beau). Backed up again in 2019 with the jolly – West Approach – only managing fifth. However, we generally don’t have to look too far away from the favourite to find the winner. The 2019 hero was sent off the 7/1 joint second favourite, while 12 of the last 17 winners returned 14/1 or shorter in the betting and 10 of those came from the top seven in the market.
Trip – It’s no shock that 14 of the last 17 winners of this staying handicap have won previously over at least 3m, but it’s still something to mention in case there are any new kids on the block trying 3m+ for the first time.
Trainers – As already mentioned the Alan King team took this race when it was last run in 2019, but other yards to have on your radar in this race have to be Paul Nicholls, who has four successes to his name – the most recent being in 2015. Nicky Henderson, Peter Bowen, Neil Mulholland and Philip Hobbs are other stables that have got their name on the winners’ hall of fame in recent years too.
SUREWIN VERDICT: The first thing to note here is that this race has been a graveyard for the favourites in recent years – the last winning market leader was in 2000. At this stage the betting suggests the Blackmore/De Bromhead partnership of Plan Of Attack may go off as the jolly. This 8 year-old was going okay in the Kim Muir last time out until falling three out. There was every chance he’d have played a big part in the finish that day and if none-the-worse for that tumble can go well with the drying ground a plus too. However, there is quite a big weight trend in this race too – 24 of the last 29 winners carried less than 11st, so if that’s to be repeated the top 11 on the card have this as a negative, including Plan Of Attack. Other notable runners with 11st+ on their backs are Enrilo, El Presente and Kitty’s Light. In fact, there are only five runners with 10-12 or less in weight in the race – Larry, Checkitout, Doing Fine, Bob Mahler and Supreme Escape. Course winner, Enrilo, will attract support being from the Nicholls yard, but with only 4 runs over fences that lack of experience for a race like this would be a worry. El Presente and the consistent Crosspark, who is topweight and loves to finish second, can go well too, while we’ve also a past winner of the race in THE YOUNG MASTER (e/w) This 12 year-old isn’t getting any younger though, but will love the ground and is rated 6lbs lower than his 2016 win, plus he was also second in this race in 2019. With Kevin Brogan booked too and able to claim 5lbs, then he could just go well again in a race he loves. The other pick is IRISH PROPHECY (e/w), from the Emma Lavelle yard. This 8 year-old is stepping up in trip but having run on well last time at Ascot suggests it’s worth a crack. That run also came off a break of 136 days so can be expected to have improved for it and is another that will be fine in the drying ground. Add in he’s also a course winner, albeit over hurdles, then we know the track suits, and the Lavelle yard have been doing well with their runners overall in the last few weeks.