Cheltenham Gold Cup History

Cheltenham Gold Cup history is synonymous with some of the greatest names in National Hunt racing. Horses such as Arkle (1964 – 1966) and Golden Miller (1932 – 1936). More recently, Best Mate (2002 – 2004), War of Attrition (2006) Kauto Star (2007) and Denman (2008), have become legends at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup was run for the first time on 12 March 1924. Initially run as a preliminary for the Grand National, it was soon established as a race in its own right. Since 1924, the Gold Cup has been held every year with only a few exceptions. It was cancelled in 1931 and 1937 because of adverse weather conditions, in 1943 and 1944 because of World War II, and most recently, because of a foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001.

Like the Grand National, the Cheltenham Gold Cup was designed to provide conditions in which all horses could compete with equal chances, through the use of handicapping and an age allowance. Nevertheless, Cheltenham Gold Cup history has been dominated by strong horses – seeing, for example, five consecutive wins by Golden Miller in the 1930s. With three consecutive wins each, Cottage Rake (1948-1950), Arkle (1964-1966), and Best Mate (2002-2004) are also Cheltenham Gold Cup legends.

The Cheltenham Festival, for which the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the finale race, was traditionally run over the course of three days until changes were made in 2005 allowing for a fourth day of racing.