Steeplechasing’s Ascot returns this week as the horse racing communities of Britain and Ireland descend on Cheltenham for the finest springtime, national hunt racing. Royals to rebels, wrapped in furs and tweeds, have long been attracted to the Gloucestershire course with the highlight being Friday’s Gold Cup.
Considered the most prestigious national hunt race, the Gold Cup has a long history of producing superstar racehorses. First run over jumps in 1924, British Pathé’s cameras captured the victory of little known Red Splash.
However, it was Golden Miller who dominated the inter-war years winning five gold cups between 1932 and 1936. Golden Miller remains the race’s most successful winner.
Despite Golden Miller’s success, few horses have ever matched the magic of Arkle. Paired with leading jockey Pat Taaffe, the duo won three cups in a row from 1964 to 1966 beating their talented, arch-rival, Mill House. Retired due to injury in 1966, Arkle remains the shortest priced winner in Gold Cup history and is the highest rated, Timeform horse ever.
In more recent years Best Mate, Kauto Star and Denman have continued the legend of the Gold Cup. As punters prepare for this year’s race the question is…who’s your money on?!