Cheltenham Gold Cup

Gold Cup

Gold Cup - Friday 18th March 2022 (15:30)

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the highlight of the 4 day long Cheltenham Festival. It always takes place at 15:30 on the Friday and final day of the Festival. The race has an impressive purse of £625,000 and will see an estimated 10-20 runners compete for the ultimate prize in the national hunt racing calendar.

The race is a steeplechase event and is run over a distance of 3 miles 2 and a half furlongs (5,294m), horses will have to deal with 22 fences laid out over the length of the racecourse during the event. Entries must be aged 5 years or over up to any age, two 12-year-old horses have won the event in the past. Some huge names in racing have won the Gold Cup including the likes of Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller, Kauto Star, Denman and Mill House.

Brief History of the Gold Cup

A race first named the Cheltenham Gold Cup took place in 1819 and was originally run as a flat race over 3 miles at Cleeve Hill. It was 105 years before the Gold Cup was first run as a jumps race like it is today and the purse for this race was £685 which when taking inflation into account is around £30,000 and far from the numbers we see these days. In these earlier years, this event was overshadowed by both the National Hunt Chase and the County Handicap Hurdle. It wasn’t until the early 50’s that the race began to really pick up some popularity, this was especially with the Irish crowd.

In 1959 the Gold Cup switched to the “New Course” that we see still to this current day every year in March. The first horse to step up and dominate the new course was legendary horse Arkle. So dominant was his display in the race that on the third year that we won it he was given odds of 1/10 and to this day that still stands as the shortest price to ever run the race.

The first race sponsor came in 1972 and was Piper Champagne followed by Totesport then called ‘The Tote’ in 1980. During the 80’s the race saw a special feat that hasn’t happened since as Michael Dickinson was responsible for training the first 5 horses to finish in the race.

The second Gold Cup race of the new millennium was cancelled in 2001 due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The following year saw Best Mate win the race, he continued to do the same for the next two years becoming the last horse to win the race three or more times consecutively.

Al Boum Photo

Previous Gold Cup Winners

Over the years there have been many winners since the first Gold Cup was run back on the 12th of March 1924 when Dick Rees rode winner Red Splash to victory at odds of 5/1. Below we’ll take a look at the previous 6 years and how the Gold Cup race went down:

2020 - Al Boum Photo (J: Paul Townend | T: Willie Mullins)

Al Boum Photo last year became part of a special group of horses to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup in two consecutive years. Going off as the 100/30 favourite he saw off Santini in the final stages of the race to land the Grade One event for a second year running, also giving trainer Willie Mullins his second ever win in the prestigious race. Lostintranslation for Colin Tizzard managed to stay on well to grab third on the day, with Morale for Henry De Bromhead also running a credible race in fourth.

2019 - Al Boum Photo (J: Paul Townend | T: Willie Mullins)

In last years 91st iteration of the race on the 15th March 2019 the going was ‘Good to Soft’. This saw Willie Mullins trained Al Boum Photo storm to victory at odds of 12/1. This win gave Willie Mullins his first-ever Gold Cup victory after coming second in 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016. 16 horses took place in the race with Anibale Fly in second followed by Bristol de Mai in third place.

2018 - Native River (J: Richard Johnson | T: Colin Tizzard)
The 2018 version of this event was an exciting one which saw 1st, 2nd & 3rd place go head to head down the final straight with Native River eventually just pulling away and securing victory at 5/1 for Colin Tizzard. 15 other horses ran this race and at 7:02.60 it was the second longest race since 1989 which may have been due to the soft conditions on the day.

2017 - Sizing John (J: Robbie Power | T: Jessica Harrington)

In 2017 Sizing John comfortably won the Gold Cup at odds of 7/1 seeing off some tough competition from rivals. This was the very first time that Robbie Power had ridden an entry in the Gold Cup and the first time Jessica Harrington had entered a horse into the race too.

2016 - Don Cossack (J: Bryan Cooper | T: Gordon Elliot)

Back in 2016 was the last time a favourite won the race with Don Cossack winning the race as a 9/4 favourite ahead of the equally short priced Djakadam (2nd) & Don Poli (3rd) who were both priced at 9/2 respectively. This duel made for the 12th quickest ran Gold Cup ever with Don Cossack eventually pulling away down the home straight to win by 4 and a half lengths.

2015 - Coneygree (J: Nico de Boinville | T: Mark Bradstock)

This was a special race in recent years as Coneygree crossed the line with a margin of a length and a half on 2nd place and became the first ‘novice’ horse to win the race for over 30 years since 1974. Price at 7/1 Coneygree beat 10/1 Djakadam (2nd) & 8/1 Road to Riches (3rd) with the help of jockey Nico de Boinville who claimed his first and only Gold Cup win.


Notable Gold Cup Records

The race has occurred many times since it’s introduction in 1924 with the exception of a few years where it was abandoned due to factors such as frost, flooding, wars & disease etc. This has meant that many records have been set by the horses, jockeys and trainers that have taken part in it. Here are a few of the most impressive:

Most successful horse (5 wins):

  • Golden Miller – 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936

Leading jockey (4 wins):

  • Pat Taaffe – Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966), Fort Leney (1968)

Leading trainer (5 wins):

  • Tom Dreaper – Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966), Fort Leney (1968)

Leading owner (7 wins):

  • Dorothy Paget – Golden Miller (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936), Roman Hackle (1940), Mont Tremblant (1952)

Quickest winning finish time (6:15.6):

  • Poet Prince - (1941)

Slowest winning finish time (8:00.6):

  • L’Escargot - (1971)

Oldest Winner (12 Years Old):

  • Silver Fame - (1951), What a Myth - (1969)

Youngest Winner (5 Years Old):

  • Red Splash - (1924), Patron Saint - (1928), Golden Miller - (1932)

Odds changes for the Cheltenham Gold Cup

The odds at the Cheltenham Gold Cup are usually fair with it rare that a horse is priced evens or below due to the competitive nature of the event. The highest price ever winner of the Gold Cup was Norton’s Coin which won that race at impressive odds of 100/1 back in 1990. In contrast, the shortest price to ever the race was the famous Arkle who secured his 3rd Gold Cup in a row with odds of 1/10.

In the last three years, all of the winners have been priced between 5/1 and 12/1 with the highest odds in the last decade being 20/1 back in 2014 when Lord Windermere secured victory.

If you’re going to be betting on the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year that we’d recommend comparing the odds from different bookmakers in order to find the best price for your chosen horse. You can do this easily by heading to our Gold Cup Odds page where you’ll be greeted by a live odds table displaying the odds from the UK’s top bookmakers. From here you can choose the horse and odds you want by clicking on them and adding them straight to your bet slip.

betting on course at cheltenham

Using Free Bets on the Gold Cup

As the Gold Cup is by far the biggest event of the festival it’s one that most punters will try to pick the winner. Due to the competitive nature of the race, there are generally some good odds to be had both Ante-post and on the day of the race. For that reason, it can often be a great race to look at using free bets. Bookmakers will generally feature some great offers for the Gold Cup race such as enhanced odds on specific horses. This means it may be great to sign up to any bookmakers you aren’t currently a member of in order to get the best free bet offers. To see all the best Gold Cup Free Bets we have in offer head over to our Cheltenham Free Bets page to see a full list of everything that is available.

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