The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the most illustrious races in the world of National Hunt Racing and is the highlight of the famed Cheltenham Festival. The race is open to horses aged five and over and is run over a distance of three miles two and half furlongs on the new course at Prestbury Park. The Gold Cup is considered the Blue Riband race of the season for National Hunt fans and any horse that wins the race will immediately be remembered as a great staying champion. The race is currently sponsored by the bookmaker Betfred and the prize money for the 2012 race was a healthy £491,850 which makes it one of the highlights of the season. There is no doubt that the Gold Cup is a true test for the horses with stamina and jumping tested to the full on what is an undulating and unique track.
The first Gold Cup over fences was run in 1924 and it has grown in popularity with every passing year. There have been some legendary names to have won the race including the great Golden Miller who won on no less than five consecutive occasions in the 1930s which has to go down as one of the greatest achievements in the history of the sport. Arkle is a horse considered by many to be the greatest of all time and he confirmed his place in Gold Cup history with three consecutive wins between 1964 and 1966 at the Cheltenham racecourse.
In more recent times we have been enjoying a golden period for the Gold cup with some great winners of the race emerging in the 21st century. The Henrietta Knight trained Best Mate won three years on the bounce between 2000 and 2004 and he became a national hero during that period. Perhaps the most famous recent winner though was the great Kauto Star who became the first horse ever to regain the Gold Cup in 2009 having won previously in 2007. The Gold Cup has proven to be a decent race for the favourites in recent years with no less than six jollies claiming the spoils in the big race since Best Mate won at 13/8 back in 2003.
Recent Winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup