Devon’s richest raceday takes place on Tuesday (November 1) when high class horses will be heading to Exeter Racecourse to contest the grade 2 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup.
The prestigious two-mile one-furlong race is fast, furious and spectacular and with £62,500 in prize money it’s one that trainers make an early season target.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has saddled five winners of the race including last year’s victor Vibrato Valtat. He said: “It’s one of the early chasing highlights of the season and I try and save a nice horse for it. It’s a very good start for two-mile horses. Kauto Star finished second in the race in 2005 before he went on to win the Tingle Creek, and we’ve won it with Lake Kariba, Flagship Uberalles, Azertyuiop, Tchico Polos and, of course, Vibrato Valtat.”
The Haldon Gold Cup is a race that typically attracts some of the country’s best chasers, including past winners Edredon Bleu, Best Mate, Viking Flagship, Cue Card and Somersby, and is widely regarded as the first major contest over two miles in the jump racing calendar. It is also considered a stepping-stone to the world’s most prestigious race over this shortest distance a horse can run over fences – the Queen Mother Champion Chase which takes place at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Henrietta Knight has won the Haldon Gold Cup four times with Best Mate (2001), Edredon Bleu (2002 and 2003) and Impek (2006). She said: “It is always exciting to win that particular race. You get a tremendous reception and everyone is so welcoming. It’s at the beginning of the season and a prestigious race to win. If you do well, you really look forward to the rest of the season.”
General manager Daniel Thompson said: “Haldon Gold Cup Day at Exeter is a superb day, and one that people come to enjoy from far and wide. The 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup is always a brilliant race, but the supporting card often attracts the stars of the future too. Last year Yanworth’s win was hugely impressive and Native River won the three mile novices’ chase and he went on win the grade one Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the Aintree Festival. It’s a terrific social occasion with a wonderful atmosphere and has to be considered as one the best sporting events Devon has to offer.”
188BET’s Managing Director Nigel Singer said “As part of a programme of high profile autumn horse racing sponsorship initiatives, we are delighted to sponsor the 188BET Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. This is one of the highlights of the jumps season with previous winners including the likes of Cue Card, Best Mate and Edredon Bleu. This sponsorship reinforces our commitment to the continued support of UK horse racing and will follow the 188BET Old Roan Chase at Aintree at the end of October.”
The first of seven races comes under starters’ orders at 1.20pm and sponsors include Bathwick Tyres, Smith & Williamson and 188Bet. The gates open at 11.20pm. A free bus service to the racecourse is available from Exeter St David’s at 11.40 and the Bus and Coach Station at 11.55 returning half an hour after the last race.
Tickets are available from £15 if pre-booked online and hospitality packages are available with details at www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk.