bet365 Gold Cup Stats and Trends

With the flat season beginning in late March/early April, with the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, and the National Hunt campaign running past the Grand National Meeting, there is some overlap between the two codes in springtime. However, the late April fixture at Sandown officially marks the end of the latest jumps season, as the Esher venue lays on a mixed flat and jumps meeting.

The Grade 1 Celebration leads the way in terms of class on Saturday’s jumps card, but the biggest betting heat is this 3m5f Handicap Chase. Making its debut in 1957, the race boasts an illustrious roll of honour, with all-time greats Arkle, Mill House, and Desert Orchid amongst those to have come home in front.

Of course, the race doesn’t always fall to one so talented, with the list of previous winners peppered with lightly weighted performers who have put their best hoof forward on the big day. Offering £170,000 in total prize money (2024), this late-season highlight provides one last chance for connections of the most talented staying handicappers to grab a significant pot before their runners head off for their summer break. Whilst never an easy race to unravel, here, we present a selection of trends from the current century, which may assist in identifying the most likely contenders.

Age Trends

bet365 Gold Cup Age of Winner

The bet365 Gold Cup is open to chasers aged five and older, but none so young have ever come home in front – Bounce Back becoming only the second six-year-old winner in 2002. At the other end of the scale, no horse older than 11 has ever landed the prize.

The current century has featured winners at both ends of the spectrum but is showing a definite trend towards the lower end of the scale. Between 2000 and 2023, 15 of 23 (65.22%) editions fell to a runner aged between seven and nine – including ten consecutive renewals between 2013 and 2023.

Weight Carried by Winner

bet365 Gold Cup: Weight Carried by Winner

Ahead of the 2024 edition, the minimum weight for the bet365 Gold Cup is set at 10st2lb, meaning the bottom five winners on the above chart would have raced from a couple of pounds out of the weights if lining up in 2024. Even bearing that in mind, those in the bottom half of the weights boast much the best record, with 18 of 23 winners (78.26%) carrying 11st or less on the day. The mighty Arkle tops the all-time weight-carrying table, having shouldered a whopping 12st7lb to victory in 1965.

Rating of Winner

bet365 Gold Cup: Rating of Winner

Not too much for trends fans to go on when looking at the ratings, with the 21st century displaying a wildly erratic pattern. Overall, the average rating over this period is just over 141, with only a marginal upward trend. 10 winners were rated within 5lb of this average, leaving 13 who were 6lb or more away from the average figure. If a horse is a solid fit on the other trends, it may pay to ignore their official rating.

Finishing Position Last Time Out

bet365 Gold Cup: Finishing Position Last Time Out

A positive performance on their most recent racecourse appearance has been of some value in this race, with a shade over half of the winners at least finishing in the first four last time out. However, it has been far from essential, with more winners arriving on the back of a non-completion than a win. It can be tempting to overlook runners following a fall, unseat, or pulled-up effort, but they should not be dismissed out of hand in this race.

Leading Trainers

bet365 Gold Cup: Leading Trainers

Paul Nicholls boasts a solid record at Sandown and tops the recent trainer’s table in this prestigious handicap, but he still needs three wins to catch the all-time leader event Fulke Walwyn. Interestingly, this is one event in which the home team dominated, with 17 of the 23 winners (73.91%) hailing from a British yard.

Fate of the Favourite

The overall trends suggest that this is a tricky race to unravel – an assertion backed up by the performance of the favourite in the race. Between 2000 and 2023, only two favourites or joint-favourites came home in front, handing supporters of the market leader a loss of £16.92 to £1 level stakes.

Overall, nine winners returned a single-figure SP; ten were priced between 10/1 and 16/1, with the remaining four returning an SP of 20/1 or bigger. Henlland Harri provided the biggest shock when defying odds of 40/1 in 2017.

Other Stats

  • 21 of 23 winners had previously won over a trip of 3m or further
  • 22 of 23 winners had run within the last 63 days – including four who arrived following a break of only seven days
  • 19 of 23 winners had previously won at Class 2 level or above, including 12 who had scored in Listed or Graded company
  • All 23 winners had previously run at Listed level or above, including 13 who had a Grade 1 outing on their CV
  • 19 of 23 winners had nine or fewer previous runs in a handicap chase
  • Only 2 of 23 had previously won at Sandown
  • The Scottish Grand National was the most successful route into the race, with five winners lining up in the Ayr showpiece last time out; 10 or 23 last ran at the Aintree or Cheltenham Festivals
  • Two-time winners Richard Johnson, Ruby Walsh, Tony McCoy, and Sean Bowen were the only riders with more than one success to their name
  • No stallion sired more than one individual winner; Strong Gale led the way courtesy of dual winner Ad Hoc (2001, 2003)