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Who will win this year's bet365 Gold Cup based on previous trends?

Jack Tudor (right) celebrates another notable win aboard Kitty's Light
Who is best equipped to land Saturday's bet365 Gold Cup won last season by Kitty's Light?Credit: Edward Whitaker

The bet365 Gold Cup (3.35 Sandown, Saturday) is the last major staying handicap chase of the 2023-24 jumps season and Weekender tipster Alistair Jones takes a look at the race trends as he attempts to find the winner.


Since Desert Orchid’s 1988 victory, 27 of the 34 winners carried less than 11st.

Potterman won with 11st 9lb in 2021 and he’s no Gold Cup horse, but history suggests you need one bordering on that level to threaten with a big weight. Hewick defied 11st 4lb two years ago and he’s now a King George winner.

This year’s top weight is Threeunderthrufive with a handicap mark of 156, closely followed by Does He Know and Sam Brown on 154. None of that trio are even close to top class and only Tidal Bay (154) has defied a higher mark than 148 in the last dozen years. Threeunderthrufive would become only the second horse to win off top weight since Life Of A Lord in 1996.


Three 11-year-olds won this with high mileage on the clock between 2008 and 2012, but it generally pays to side with a more progressive profile.

Kitty’s Light is the only winner since Tidal Bay in 2012 to have had more than 12 runs over fences, with Step Back (three), Talkischeap (five) and Hewick (six) particularly light on experience.

Nine novices have won since 1989, with their highest winning mark 149.

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It is no real wonder that Cheltenham form has stood up to be counted down the years.

Twenty-seven of the last 48 winners had run at the festival, although tellingly only one happened to win there.

The key race from Cheltenham is the staying chase on day one that has produced ten winners since 1985.

Kitty’s Light won this 12 months ago a week after winning the Scottish National but that preparation is hardly copybook. Indeed, it’s rare for the winner to emerge from Aintree or Ayr.

Last year’s winner went through the wringer to finish fifth in the National only two weeks ago and that hard race is a worry, despite having an extra week of recovery than 12 months ago.

Last run

This race invariably attracts the defeated from Aintree and the key is to avoid a punishing race. Only four of the last 102 horses to have had their previous outing in the National managed a top-four finish at Sandown, but since 1973 it has produced ten winners and seven of those failed to get beyond Becher’s second time.

Wherever your fancy warmed up, it ideally needs to have been fairly recent. Alan King has performed wonders in winning this with Talkischeap and Potterman on the back of 63 and 147 days off, but the other ten winners in the last dozen years had been in action within the previous two months. This rules out third favourite Amirite, who will be returning from 122 days away.


Nick Rockett appeals most of those towards the top end of the handicap as he’s better than he showed when a beaten favourite in the Irish National. However, 11st 5lb is plenty of weight when ideally you want to be beneath 11st.

A chance is taken on the seven-year-old novice Weveallbeencaught, who lurks on 10st 4lb. He was quietly fancied for the influential handicap chase on day one of the festival and yet didn’t appear to relish the heavy ground. There will be none of that on Saturday.

The second choice is Kempton winner Slipway.

Weveallbeencaught15:35 Sandown
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Jky: Tnr: Nigel Twiston-Davies

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Alistair JonesWeekender tipster

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