The Bet365 Gold Cup (formerly known as the Whitbread Gold Cup) is a Grade 3 Handicap Chase run over 3 miles and 5 furlongs at Sandown Park in April each year. It is traditionally recognised as the race that ends the current NH season.

Last year the race took on extra significance as Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls battled out the trainers’ championship, however this time around the title has already gone the way of Henderson but there will still be a lot of pride at stake.

Last season the battling pair of trainers came into the race mob handed with entries but this year they run a sole runner each. Nicholls sends out the Badger Ales winner, Present Man, whilst Henderson saddles the eight-year-old Sugar Baron.


The Last 10 Winners:

2017 – HELLAN HARRI (40/1)
2016 – THE YOUNG MASTER (8/1)
2015 – JUST A PAR (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)

Ten year trends:

Age (win-placed-runners)

6-y-o: 0-0-5

7-y-o: 2-5-24

8-y-o: 3-5-44

9-y-o: 2-4-40

10-y-o: 0-7-40

11-y-o: 3-4-15

12-y-o+: 0-3-9

Although three horses aged eleven have won in the last ten years, no horse aged over nine has won in the last five renewals of this race. This is a negative looking trend for the likes of: Regal Encore, Theatre Guide, Houblon Des Obeaux, Benbens, Carole’s Destrier, Rathlin Rose and Band Of Blood.


Weight (win-placed-runners)

11 stone or more: 2-9-61

10st 6lb to 10st 13lb: 4-12-54

10st to 10st 5lb: 4-4-46

9st 13lb or less: 0-3-16

Only three horses in the last thirty years have been able to carry 11st 6lb or more to victory in this race.


Ratings (win-placed-runners)

146 or higher: 4-8-52

132-145: 6-19-110

131 or lower: 0-2-15

Nine of the last ten winner have been officially rated 135 or higher. This is a key statistic given that five of the last six winners have specifically come from the 135-146 rated bracket.


Trainer Form

Paul Nicholls is the trainer you have to give the upmost respect to in this race. He won it in 2001 and 2003 with Ad Hoc, Tidal Bay in 2012 and Just A Par in 2015. Given his record this season when pairing up with Bryony Frost you have to give any Ditcheat horses the once-over when making your picks.

Philip Hobbs trained the winner in 2006 and 2008 and is worth following even though he is having a relatively quite season by his standards.

Nicky Henderson last won this race in 2014 with Hadrian’s Approach.


Starting Price

Seven of the last ten winners have been priced between 13/2 and 14/1, with a 20/1, 25/1 and a 40/1 thrown in for good measure.

Favourites have an appalling record over the last ten years. None have won and just six have been placed.



Pick a horse that matches some or all of the following criteria:

  • Ran in a race at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival
  • Is aged between seven and eleven
  • Ran in the last 50 days
  • Is rated 135 to 146
  • Carrying 10st 7lb to 11st 5lb
  • Finished in the first six on its last chase start
  • Ideally priced up in the first six in the betting but not the favourite


Interesting Contenders

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Blaklion was brought down at the first fence in the Grand National a fortnight ago and the nine-year-old makes a swift return to action. He is clearly the classiest horse in the field but it is going to take a monumental effort to carry the top-weight of 11st 12lb to victory.

Neil Mulholland’s The Young Master will be hoping to take advantage of a first fence unseat in last week’s Scottish Grand National by lining up at Sandown a fresh horse.

The Young Master won this race 2016 and is now racing off 13lb lower mark after losing his way a little bit. He did run with promise however when finishing sixth behind Missed Approach at Cheltenham.

Missed Approach won the Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and will be suited by the track at Sandown believes his Lambourn trainer, Warren Greatrex.

Missed Approach gave Greatrex his second ever Festival winner after amateur Irish jockey Noel McParlan rode him to perfection in the Kim Muir in March.

The eight-year-old gelding has contested some of the top staying chases this season. He finished sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on his seasonal return, ran third in the Classic Chase at Warwick, then came second at Musselburgh in the Edinburgh National before doing the business at Cheltenham.

The Stuart Edmunds yard boasts a 40% strike-rate at Sandown making Domesday Book an interesting outsider. The eight- year-old was last seen when winning the Kim Muir at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival and has clearly had problems since. However Edmunds has already sent out winners this week and if this gelding is fully tuned-up for this he could easily belie his big odds.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has three runners in the race and whilst many punters will be getting stuck into the familiar name of Blaklion, his Bigbadjohn could easily sneak in under the radar.

The nine-year-old fell last time out at The Chair in Aintree’s Topham Chase but a return to form for the 2017 Reynoldstown Novices' Chase winner could see jockey Jamie Bargary ending his season on a high.



With the favourite Blaklion having a whole load of trends and statistics to overcome it should pay to side with a runner just marginally behind him in the betting.

Missed Approach is a staying chaser through and through as he has proved this season and he should give punters a good run for their money.

888sport suggests: Missed Approach e/w.


*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

About the Author
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horseracing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He writes for a number of websites and online publications and you can sometimes hear him at the weekend discussing racing on a number of local radio stations. 

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