It is only two weeks since all the drama and excitement of the Aintree Grand National Meeting and although we have had the Scottish Grand National together with the Classic Trials for the Guineas since, the racing to me has been low key. However the two day Bet 365 Meeting gets underway on Saturday the 23rd at Sandown Park with the feature race being the Bet 365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase worth £140,000.00 and run over 3 miles and 5 furlongs. To us old timers this is still referred to as the “Whitbread”. There is nothing like the class of past winners Arkle (pictured), Mill House or Desert Orchid in the field. Arkle won the race in 1965, Mill House in 1967 and Desert Orchid in 1988.
Last years winner, Church Island, heads the weights and if fit must run well. Church Island was only the fourth Irish trained winner of the “Whitbread” since Arkle in 1965 and whose not to say he could become the fifth. Poker De Sivola was heavily backed in last Saturdays Scottish Grand National and was unfortunate to be bought down by another runner. Baby Run is an exciting front runner and will no doubt put up a bold display.
The Whitbread or Bet 365 Meeting does signal the end of the current “Jumps” season. The new season starts straight away on Sunday and then us “Jumps” enthusiasts will be counting down to next years Cheltenham Festival closely followed by the Aintree Grand National Meeting.