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The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in Great Britainmarker which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run on the New Course at Cheltenhammarker over a distance of 3 miles and 2½ furlongs (5,331 metres), and during its running there are twenty-two fences to be jumped. The race is scheduled to take place each year during the Cheltenham Festivalmarker in March.

It is the most prestigious of all National Hunt events, and it is sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband of jump racing. Its roll of honour features the names of such highly acclaimed chasers as Arkle, Golden Miller, Best Mate and Mill House. The Gold Cup is at present the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain, and in 2009 it offered a total prize fund of £475,000.

History

The first horse race to be known as the Cheltenham Gold Cup took place in July 1819. This event was a flat race, and it was contested over a distance of 3 miles on Cleeve Hillmarker, which overlooks the present racecourse. The inaugural winner, Spectre, won a prize of 100 guineas for his owner.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup was first run in the form of a jumps race on March 12, 1924. A prize of £685 was awarded to the owner of the winning horse, Red Splash. The event originally took place on what is now known as the "Old Course" at Cheltenham. In its early years it was overshadowed at the Cheltenham Festival by another race, the National Hunt Chase, a four mile chase which had been established in 1904.

The Gold Cup was abandoned in 1931 (because of frost) and 1937 (flooding), but the five intervening years saw the emergence of the most successful horse in the event's history. All five races from 1932 to 1936 were won by Golden Miller, who also won the Grand National in 1934.

During World War II the Gold Cup was cancelled twice, in 1943 and 1944. The first multiple winner of the post-war years was Cottage Rake, who won the three runnings from 1948 to 1950. Cottage Rake was trained in Irelandmarker by Vincent O'Brien, and his successes helped to popularize the Gold Cup, and the Festival itself, with the Irish public.

In 1959 the Gold Cup was switched to Cheltenham's "New Course", and since then this has been the regular track used for the event. In the mid 1960s the race was dominated by Arkle, who won three consecutive runnings from 1964 to 1966. Such was Arkle's perceived superiority before the last of these victories that he was given a starting price of 1/10 (a £10 bet would have won £1). This remains the shortest priced winner in the race's history.

The first commercial sponsorship of the race was by the company Piper Champagne, which began supporting the event in 1975 and continued until 1979. Since 1980 it has been sponsored by The Tote (now known as Totesport).

The most remarkable feat in the Gold Cup by a trainer came in 1983, when Michael Dickinson was responsible for all of the first five horses to finish – Bregawn, Captain John, Wayward Lad, Silver Buck and Ashley House. The 1986 winner, Dawn Run, is the only horse to have ever won both this race and the leading hurdle event, the Champion Hurdle. One of the most popular horses to win the Gold Cup was Desert Orchid, a grey who won the event in 1989. The following year's running was won by Norton's Coin, whose starting price of 100/1 represents the race's longest ever winning price.

The entire Cheltenham Festival was cancelled in 2001 because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. A replacement for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Gold Trophy Chase, was contested at Sandownmarker in late April, but the Racing Post stated that this "lacked any strength in depth and was no substitute for the Gold Cup" . The next three runnings were all won by Best Mate, who is the most recent of the four horses to have won the race three or more times.

In 2009 Kauto Star became the first horse to regain the Gold Cup, overcoming his stablemate and conqueror in 2008, Denman, who had recovered from a heart condition to take his place in the race. Timeform spokesperson Kieran Packman said of Kauto Star's performance, "it is the best Gold Cup-winning figure since the Arkle era in the mid-1960s."

Records

Most successful horse (5 wins):
Leading jockey (4 wins):
  • Pat TaaffeArkle (1964, 1965, 1966), Fort Leney (1968)

Leading trainer (5 wins):
  • Tom DreaperPrince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966), Fort Leney (1968)

Leading owner (7 wins):
  • Dorothy PagetGolden Miller (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936), Roman Hackle (1940), Mont Tremblant (1952)


Winners

  • Amateur jockeys indicated by "Mr".
Year

Winner

Age

Jockey

Trainer

Owner

1924 Red Splash 5 Dick Rees Fred Withington Humphrey Wyndham
1925 Ballinode 9 Ted Leader Frank Morgan Christopher Bentley
1926 Koko 8 Tim Hamey Alfred Bickley Frank Barbour
1927 Thrown In 11 Mr Hugh Grosvenor Owen Anthony Lord Henry Stalbridge
1928 Patron Saint 5 Dick Rees Stanley Harrison F. W. Keen
1929 Easter Hero 9 Dick Rees Jack Anthony John Hay Whitney
1930 Easter Hero 10 Tommy Cullinan Jack Anthony John Hay Whitney
1931 no race 1931
1932 Golden Miller 5 Ted Leader Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget
1933 Golden Miller 6 Billy Stott Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget
1934 Golden Miller 7 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget
1935 Golden Miller 8 Gerry Wilson Basil Briscoe Dorothy Paget
1936 Golden Miller 9 Evan Williams Owen Anthony Dorothy Paget
1937 no race 1937
1938 Morse Code 9 Danny Morgan Ivor Anthony Dealtry C. Part
1939 Brendan's Cottage 9 George Owen George Beeby Jean Smith-Bingham
1940 Roman Hackle 7 Evan Williams Owen Anthony Dorothy Paget
1941 Poet Prince 9 Roger Burford Ivor Anthony David Sherbrooke
1942 Medoc II 8 Frenchie Nicholson Reg Hobbs 7th Earl of Sefton
1943 no race 1943–44
1945 Red Rower 11 Davy Jones Lord Stalbridge Lord Henry Stalbridge
1946 Prince Regent 11 Tim Hyde Tom Dreaper Jimmy Rank
1947 Fortina 6 Mr Richard Black Hector Christie 3rd Baron Grimthorpe
1948 Cottage Rake 9 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien Frank Vickerman
1949 Cottage Rake 10 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien Frank Vickerman
1950 Cottage Rake 11 Aubrey Brabazon Vincent O'Brien Frank Vickerman
1951 Silver Fame 12 Martin Molony George Beeby 1st Baron Bicester
1952 Mont Tremblant 6 Dave Dick Fulke Walwyn Dorothy Paget
1953 Knock Hard 9 Tim Molony Vincent O'Brien Moya Keogh
1954 Four Ten 8 Tommy Cusack John Roberts Alan Strange
1955 Gay Donald 9 Tony Grantham Jim Ford Philip Burt
1956 Limber Hill 9 Jimmy Power Bill Dutton James Davey
1957 Linwell 9 Michael Scudamore Charlie Mallon David Brown
1958 Kerstin 8 Stan Hayhurst Verly Bewicke George H. Moore
1959 Roddy Owen 10 Bobby Beasley Danny Morgan 12th Earl of Fingall
1960 Pas Seul 7 Bill Rees Bob Turnell John Rogerson
1961 Saffron Tartan 10 Fred Winter Don Butchers Guy Westmacott
1962 Mandarin 11 Fred Winter Fulke Walwyn Peggy Hennessy
1963 Mill House 6 Willie Robinson Fulke Walwyn Bill Gollings
1964 Arkle 7 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper Duchess of Westminster
1965 Arkle 8 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper Duchess of Westminster
1966 Arkle 9 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper Duchess of Westminster
1967 Woodland Venture 7 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell Harry Collins
1968 Fort Leney 10 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper John Thomson
1969 What a Myth 12 Paul Kelleway Ryan Price Lady Lucy Weir
1970 L'Escargot 7 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore Raymond R. Guest
1971 L'Escargot 8 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore Raymond R. Guest
1972 Glencaraig Lady 8 Frank Berry Francis Flood Patrick Doyle
1973 The Dikler 10 Ron Barry Fulke Walwyn Peggy August
1974 Captain Christy 7 Bobby Beasley Pat Taaffe Jane Samuel
1975 Ten Up 8 Tommy Carberry Jim Dreaper Duchess of Westminster
1976 Royal Frolic 7 John Burke Fred Rimell Sir Edward Hanmer
1977 Davy Lad 7 Dessie Hughes Mick O'Toole Anne-Marie McGowan
1978 Midnight Court 7 John Francome Fred Winter Olive Jackson
1979 Alverton 9 Jonjo O'Neill Peter Easterby Snailwell Stud Co.
1980 Master Smudge 8 Richard Hoare Arthur Barrow Arthur Barrow
1981 Little Owl 7 Mr Jim Wilson Peter Easterby Robin & Jim Wilson
1982 Silver Buck 10 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson Christine Feather
1983 Bregawn 9 Graham Bradley Michael Dickinson James Kennelly
1984 Burrough Hill Lad 8 Phil Tuck Jenny Pitman Stan Riley
1985 Forgive 'n Forget 8 Mark Dwyer Jimmy FitzGerald Tim Kilroe & Sons Ltd
1986 Dawn Run 8 Jonjo O'Neill Paddy Mullins Charmian Hill
1987 The Thinker 9 Ridley Lamb Arthur Stephenson Tom McDonagh
1988 Charter Party 10 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Smith / Mould
1989 Desert Orchid 10 Simon Sherwood David Elsworth Richard Burridge
1990 Norton's Coin 9 Graham McCourt Sirrel Griffiths Sirrel Griffiths
1991 Garrison Savannah 8 Mark Pitman Jenny Pitman Autofour Engineering
1992 Cool Ground 10 Adrian Maguire Toby Balding Whitcombe Manor Racing
1993 Jodami 8 Mark Dwyer Peter Beaumont John Yeadon
1994 The Fellow 9 Adam Kondrat François Doumen Marquesa de Moratalla
1995 Master Oats 9 Norman Williamson Kim Bailey Paul Matthews
1996 Imperial Call 7 Conor O'Dwyer Fergie Sutherland Lisselan Farms Ltd
1997 Mr Mulligan 9 Tony McCoy Noel Chance M. & G. Worcester
1998 Cool Dawn 10 Andrew Thornton Robert Alner Dido Harding
1999 See More Business 9 Mick Fitzgerald Paul Nicholls Barber / Keighley
2000 Looks Like Trouble 8 Richard Johnson Noel Chance Tim Collins
2001 no race 2001
2002 Best Mate 7 Jim Culloty Henrietta Knight Jim Lewis
2003 Best Mate 8 Jim Culloty Henrietta Knight Jim Lewis
2004 Best Mate 9 Jim Culloty Henrietta Knight Jim Lewis
2005 Kicking King 7 Barry Geraghty Tom Taaffe Conor Clarkson
2006 War of Attrition 7 Conor O'Dwyer Mouse Morris Gigginstown House Stud
2007 Kauto Star 7 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Clive D. Smith
2008 Denman 8 Sam Thomas Paul Nicholls Barber / Findlay
2009 Kauto Star 9 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Clive D. Smith
 The race was abandoned in 1931 because of frost.


 It was not run in 1937 due to flooding.


 In 1943 and 1944 the race was cancelled because of World War II.


 Tied Cottage finished first in 1980 but was subsequently disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance.


 The 2001 running was cancelled due to a foot-and-mouth crisis.



References





See also




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