The Gold Cup Day at Sandown Racecourse is one of the most prestigious events on the mixed meetings calendar, and its feature attraction is the bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase. In a special parade, punters and recreational visitors alike are given the chance to behold the top horses in all their glory. Other than the main event, other races conducted on the bet365 Gold Cup Day include the Celebration Chase, Gordon Richards Stakes, and Sandown Mile. As a handicap steeplechase, the Sandown Gold Cup is considered to be second only to the Grand National in prestige.
This handicap chase is just over three miles and four furlongs in length. Competitors must navigate a total of 24 fences on a right-handed course at Sandown Park Racecourse. The Gold Cup Chase is open to thoroughbreds five years or older. Each competitor must carry a weight directed by the handicapper. Usually, the more talented the horse, the heavier the weight requirement. This is solely at the handicapper's discretion.
Location: Park Racecourse
Grade: Grade 3
Race Type: Steeplechase
Formerly known as the Whitbread Gold Cup, named after its sponsor Whitbread Brewers, this race has been run since 1957. The races' previous sponsors include At the Races, who had sponsorship from 2002 to 2003, BetFred from 2004 to 2007, and currently since 2008, bet365.
Below are the winners for the past decade. Note how the purse has remained consistently in the £140,000-£160,000 range. Sean Bowen stands out as the most successful jockey in recent history with two wins including his 2017 victory on Henllan Harri in April. Murphy and Nicholls both have two wins apiece taking them the most successful trainers of the past decade (as of 2017).
As with many handicap races, the result of the Gold Cup tends to be quite unpredictable making each event a unique challenge for competitors. Often, winning on multiple occasions eludes most. Below are some of the most notable records for the Sandown Gold Cup Handicap Chase (as of 2017).
Only four thoroughbreds have won the Gold Cup Chase twice during their career. These include: Larbawn (1968, 1969), Diamond Edge (1979, 1981), Topsham Bay (1992, 1993), and Ad Hoc (2001, 2003).
Among those making Gold Cup history is trainer Fulke Walwyn who trained seven Gold Cup winners. These were Taxidermist (1958), Mill House (1967), Charlie Potheen (1973), The Dikler (1974), Diamond Edge (1979, 1981), and Special Cargo (1984).
Currently, the most successful jockey in the history of the race is Ron Barry with three wins from Titus Oates in 1971, followed by Charlie Potheen in 1973 and finally The Dikler in 1974. In addition, only four amateurs have won the race since its establishment in 1957 with Sam Waley-Cohen being the last on The Young Master in 2016.
This race was inaugurated in 1957 and has hosted racing greats including the three-time winner of the Cheltenham Cold Cup - Arkle. Below are a few of the best horses and moments recorded over the past six decades (as of 2017).
2007's Hot Weld made history by being the first horse to win both the Gold Cup and Scottish Grand National only a week apart. He came into the Gold Cup after having just won the Grand National at Ayr. His subsequent victory at Sandown made for one of the most memorable moments in the recent history of the race.
The only horse to win both the British Grand National and Sandown Gold Cup Chase in the same year was Mr Frisk in 1990 setting him apart in the recorded history of both handicaps.
Notable thoroughbreds that have won both the Sandown Gold Cup and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is one of the most prestigious, non-handicap steeplechases in Britain, include Pas Seul (1960), Arkle (1965), What a Myth (1966), Mill House (1967), and Desert Orchid (1988).