Bet365 Gold Cup

As the name suggests, the Bet365 Jump Finale is a one-day meeting staged on the last day of the National Hunt season, in late April, at Sandown Park Racecourse. It is, in fact, a mixed meeting, featuring both National Hunt and Flat races, but the undisputed highlight is the Bet365 Gold Cup.

Bet365 Gold Cup

Inaugurated by Colonel Bill Whitbread, chairman of Whitbread Brewers, in 1957, the race was run as the Whitbread Gold Cup from its inception until 2001. Still known as the “Whitbread” in some quarters, despite various changes of sponsor in recent years, the Bet365 Gold Cup remains a Grade 3 handicap steeplechase, run over 3 miles 5 furlongs and open to five-year-olds and upwards. Participants must negotiate a total of 24 stiff fences – 11 per circuit, including the famous Railway Fences at the end of the back straight – before climbing the infamous Esher hill to the finish line.

The Bet365 Gold Cup has produced many exciting finishes down the years, but perhaps none more so than in 1984, when Lettoch and Plundering jumped the last together, but were joined on the run-in by Diamond Edge and Special Cargo; the latter finished best of all to win by a short head from Lettoch, with Diamond Edge a further short head back in third and Plundering just 1½ lengths away in fourth place. The victory of Special Cargo was, in fact, the last of seven wins in the Bet365 Gold Cup for the late Fulke Walwyn, who is the most successful trainer in the history of the race.

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