Thursday, October 31, 2013
The excitement of winter jump racing will reach a crescendo on Haldon Hill next Tuesday (November 5) when the BetVictor Haldon Cup, Devon’s richest race, comes under starters orders at 2.50pm.
Last year’s winner Cue Card is on target to make his reappearance in the race.
The seven-year-old thrilled with his magnificent jumping at the course last year when he firmly put his rival in their place and won by 26 lengths.
He went on to score grade one successes in the Betfair Ascot Chase and the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and ran the brilliant Sprinter Sacre to four and a half lengths in the John Smith’s Melling Chase at Aintree.
The BetVictor Haldon Gold Cup has been the long-term target for the Colin Tizzard-trained gelding, who has amassed nearly £½ million in prize money since he made a winning start to his racing career in 2010 when he won a bumper at Fontwell.
“The plan has always been to start him off at Exeter and we’re looking at the King George, but we might go for the Betfair Chase at Haydock to find out he truly stays three miles,” said Tizzard.
For the first time ever past winners of the prestigious race will parade at 1.05pm, 45 minutes before the first race which comes under starter’s orders at 1.50pm.
Stepping into the limelight will be Monkerhostin, Planet of Sound and Medermit who won the race in 2005, 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Philip Hobbs trained both Monkerhostin, who famously beat Kauto Star by four lengths, and Planet of Sound who went on to win the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup the same season.
Medermit’s triumph in 2011 was followed with consistently high placings in grade one and two races.
This year’s BetVictor Haldon Gold Cup is worth £62,500 and is one of three top two-miles races sponsored by BetVictor which also includes the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Tingle Creek at Sandown Park. The Haldon Gold Cup is regarded as the first major race over this distance of the season.
BetVictor’s Charlie McCann said: “We are thrilled to break new ground in sponsoring the BetVictor Haldon Gold Cup and it will be wonderful to see some of previous winners of the great race parading before the event. We are delighted that last year’s winner Cue Card is reported on target to make his reappearance in such a valuable and prestigious race.”
Tim Darby, managing director of Exeter Racecourse, added: “The Haldon Gold Cup is our most high-profile race and it is great news that BetVictor are sponsoring it. We are very much looking forward to the likelihood of seeing Colin Tizzard’s star Cue Card making his seasonal reapperance in the race. Haldon Gold Cup day is the most prestigious raceday staged in Devon and one that people from far and wide come along to enjoy.”