This race is the single most prestigious National Hunt event hosted in the United Kingdom. Both spectators and racing professionals anticipate the running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup for months. We get the chance to observe the preliminary races as trainers and stable hands prepare the finest jumpers their stables have to offer. If you are looking for National Hunt racing of the highest order, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is as far as you need to go.
In addition, together with the Betfair Chase at Haydock and King George VI Chase at Kempton, the Gold Cup forms a 'Triple Crown'with a huge amount of bonus cash awarded to the winner. For the past three years running, Jockey Club Racecourses has offered £1 million to the winner of this trio of races further increasing the prestige of the historic Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is an iconic Grade One National Hunt Chase, hosted in March as the highlight of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. The race includes twenty-two notoriously difficult fences. It stretches over a distance of three miles and two and a half furlongs on a left-handed course.
The Gold Cup is open to horses aged five and older. The weight requirement depends on both age and gender. Male horses that are five years of age must carry 11st-8lbs, and their female counterparts must carry 11st-1lb. Older horses must carry 11st-10lbs or 11st-3lbs respectively.
location: Cheltenham Racecourse
grade: Grade 1
race type: Steeplechase
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is deeply rooted in UK racing history. It began as a flat race in 1819 before being converted to a jump race a century later. Since 1924, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has been run as a jump race with few interruptions, apart from a handful of natural disasters and a racing break during the Second World War. It is currently part of a prestigious event in March referred to as 'The Festival' which lasts four days and features five major races including the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers' Hurdle and Ryanair Chase.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is very much a meeting place for the season's greatest steeplechase contenders. Great jockey's like Pat Taaffe and Tommy Carberry made their names in this event while new talents like Ruby Walsh and Jim Culloty are continuing to carry the torch for the sport in general - and this outstanding event in particular. It is considered the ultimate test for National Hunt stayers and awards a purse of£575,000 (as of 2017) to the winner as well as a guaranteed place in the National Hunt history books. Listed below is the honour roll of past winners since 2007.
Since becoming a jump race in the early twentieth century, top-quality thoroughbreds have raced at Cheltenham and set lasting records that have yet to be broken. A recent exception to this is the record for the fastest time which was set in 2011 and made for a thrilling moment in Gold Cup history (as of 2017) .
Golden Miller was an Irish bay gelding who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup five times consecutively from 1932 to 1936, making his owner Dorothy Paget the most successful in the race's history with a total of seven wins.
A few decades later, Tom Dreaper won five Gold Cups from 1946 to 1968 for the honour of becoming the trainer with the most wins.
In 1986, Dawn Run became the only horse to ever win the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle. Only eleven jockeys have managed to take the double from Dick Rees in 1929 to Norman Williamson in 1995.
The longest-priced winner was no-hoper Norton's Coin at 100/1 in 1990.
2011 winner, Long Run, holds the record for the fastest time of 6 minutes and 29.70 seconds.
The most successful jockey is Tom Dreaper who won on four occasions from 1946 to 1968 with Arkle and Fort Leney.
Arkle won his third Gold Cup by 30 lengths in 1966 as the 1/10 favourite making him both the widest margin and the shortest-priced winner in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Kauto Star is the only horse to have won the Steeplechase 'Triple Crown' with victories in the King George VI Chase (2006), Gold Cup (2007), and Betfair Chase (2007).
Below are a few of the best moments and greatest competitors in the history of this race since its inaugural running in 1924 (as of 2017) .
No history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup can be complete without mentioning Best Mate. He won three consecutive Gold Cups between 2002 and 2004. Best Mate was the horse that launched the career of jockey Jim Culloty.
In recent years, the rivalry between Kauto Star and Denman has been the biggest highlight of the Gold Cup. In a toughly fought race in 2007, the highly impressive Kauto Star held off serious challenges from Exotic Dancer and Turpin Green to win as the 5/4f. Twelve months later in 2008, the highly rated Denman entered the Gold Cup to face off against the reigning champion Kauto Star.