Cheltenham Racecourse is pleased to announce a 20 per cent increase in the total prize fund for the G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, staged on day two of The International, Saturday, December 16.
The famous handicap chase will be worth £120,000, as against £100,000 last year. Caspian Caviar will be sponsoring for the fourth time next month, having backed the handicap chase since 2014.
Entries for the 2017 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, which is run over an extended two and a half miles, close at noon on Tuesday, November 28 and will be revealed 24 hours later.
Last year's renewal of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup went to Frodon, who handed trainer Paul Nicholls a record-breaking fourth winner of the contest following Poquelin (2009 & 2010) and Unioniste (2012).
The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup follows on from the BetVictor Gold Cup, which is run over a similar distance at The November Meeting. Three horses have won both races in the same season - Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006).
Simon Shepherd, Director of Caspian Caviar, said: "We are delighted to sponsor the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup again, and thrilled that it becomes more prestigious year on year.
"We love attending The International at Cheltenham, our local course, and the meeting is an established part of the run up to Christmas.
"The quality of the racing and our support of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup makes the Saturday a very special day out."
Carey Weeks, Regional Head of Partnerships, Jockey Club Racecourses South West, added: "We are thrilled that the value of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup has risen to £120,000 for the 2017 renewal on December 16.
"Cheltenham Racecourse is extremely grateful to Caspian Caviar for its continued long-term sponsorship at the Home of Jump Racing, which cements the race's position as the highlight of The International.
"We look forward to continue working alongside Simon Shepherd and all the team at Caspian Caviar."
Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Facts & Figures
The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup takes place over nearly two miles and five furlongs (2m 4f 166y) on the New Course at Cheltenham. There have been 47 runnings, the first in 1963, with seven abandonments.
Poquelin created history in 2010 when becoming the first dual winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
There have been six Irish-trained winners of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. The victories of Limeking (1963), Flying Wild (1964) and Flyingbolt (1965) ensured that the first three runnings all went to Ireland. However, no horse hailing from the Emerald Isle was successful between Leap Frog (1971) and Go Roger Go, victorious in 2000. Sir Oj became the most recent Irish-trained winner when triumphant in 2005.
The highest weight ever carried to victory in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup was the 12st 7lb shouldered by Pendil in 1973. Other notable weight-carrying performances came from Flyingbolt with 12st 6lb in 1965 and Leap Frog with 12st 1lb in 1971. Pendil is the only horse to have also won the other major race at The International, the Grade Two hurdle now run as the Unibet International, which he did in 1970. The current top-weight is 11st 12lb.
Pendil also has the distinction of being the shortest-priced victor at 8/11. Only 10 favourites or joint-favourites have won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in 47 runnings - Flyingbolt (1965, 5/2), Titus Oates (1969, 9/4), Leap Frog (1971, 3/1), Arctic Bow (1972, 9/2), Pendil (1973, 8/11), Fifty Dollars More (1983, 3/1), Oregon Trail (1986, 3/1), Kings Fountain (1991, 7/4), Addington Boy (1996, 7/4) and Poquelin (2009, 7/2). However, a fancied horse - if not the favourite - usually captures the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, with 35 victors having been returned at single-figure odds. Tamarinbleu became the longest-priced winner in the contest's history when scoring at 22/1 in 2007.
Unioniste (2012) and Frodon (2016) are the youngest winners, having scored as four-year-olds. Tassilo (1968) and Garnishee (1974) were both 10 when successful and are the two oldest winners. The age breakdown is 4yo (2), 5yo (1), 6yo (11), 7yo (11), 8yo (15), 9yo (5) & 10yo (2).
Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the history of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with four winners - Poquelin (2009 & 2010), Unioniste (2012) and Frodon (2017). Female trainers have saddled the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner four times - Auriol Sinclair with Simian (1970), Jenny Pitman with Bueche Giorod (1980), Susan Nock with Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Venetia Williams with Niceonefrankie (2014).
Richard Johnson is the most successful jockey with three victories on Village Vic (2015), Monkerhostin (2004) and Legal Right (1999).
Did you know?
Arkle, the greatest chaser of all time and triumphant in the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, suffered a rare reversal in the 1964 renewal. Anne Duchess of Westminster's charge shouldered top-weight of 12st 10lb (which included a 3lb penalty for winning the Hennessy just seven days beforehand) and stayed on in third behind the high-class Irish mare Flying Wild (received 32lb) and Buona Notte (received 26lb).
Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006) are the only three horses to have landed both the BetVictor Gold Cup and the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in the same season. Five other horses have won both races but in different years. Fondmort took the 2003 BetVictor Gold Cup and the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup the previous season, while Dublin Flyer (BV 1995, CCGC 1994), Another Coral (BV 1991, CCGC 1992), Beau Ranger (BV 1987, CCGC 1984) and Fifty Dollars More (BV 1982, CCGC 1983) also won both races.