Our Cheltenham Gold Cup tips are now live on site and the Irish will be praying they can land this year’s renewal as it will be run on St. Patrick’s Day. The best steeplechasers in the world will go head to head in what is always a war of attrition. Known as the world’s most prestigious jumps race, the three mile and two furlong contest is the pinnacle of the national hunt calendar. We now have a look at the top five most memorable Gold Cup moments, some of which you may remember, some of which you may not as you probably were not even born.
1935 – GOLDEN MILLER
Although it was a very long time ago, Golden Miller has to go down as the greatest Gold Cup horse ever as he won the race a staggering five times in a row. In 1932, he won his first Gold Cup at the very young age of five and he would have probably won six Gold Cups in a row only for the 1937 renewal to be called off due to heavy snow. That’s not all, he also won the Grand National in 1934 just to put the icing on the cake. Sadly, probably every single person reading this piece would never have seen the horse in action but luckily we can catch a glimpse of the mighty horse going on to win the 1935 Gold Cup. Watch and enjoy.
1966 – ARKLE
Officially the greatest steeplechaser of all time according to the ratings, Arkle is a household name and of course, “The Arkle Chase” at the Cheltenham festival was named after his legacy. Timeform gave him a rating of 212 which is absolutely ridiculous. If that rating stood up, he would beat every Gold Cup winner in this century by a fence or more so it is very hard to gauge how good he actually was in comparison to the horses we see nowadays and frankly, they can’t be compared really. One thing is for certain, and our video clip below will highlight it, he was an absolute tank. After a gruelling Gold Cup, he was still full of running each and every time he crossed the line going up that hill. He won the Gold Cup three teams between 1964 and 1966. To beat a fantastic horse i Mill House by twenty lengths in the 1965 renewal was an unbelievable performance and he won it by thirty lengths in 1966, the year England won the World Cup. Sadly, he fractured a pedal bone in the 1966 King George Chase and he never raced again, what could have been! The late Sir Peter O’Sullevan described “Himself” (Arkle’s nickname) as a “freak of nature”.
1989 – DESERT ORCHID
Certainly the horse who was a huge favourite with horse racing fans, Desert Orchid touched the heart of many a person. OK, he didn’t win four or five Gold Cup’s but the 1989 Gold Cup he did win has to go down as one of the best races of all time. Described as a grey even though he was white in colour, he was a King George Chase winner four times; 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1990. Always written off in the Gold Cup due to a much stiffer and tougher course and the extra distance, he silenced his doubters in 1989 and proved he was a stayer and a warrior. Nobody knows how he won from that uncompromising position as he looked legless when eventual second Yahoo breezed past him at the foot of the hill. The 58,000 crowd went mental when he won, a historic moment.
2004 – BEST MATE
In the year 2004, Henrietta Knight trained Best Mate to Gold Cup victory for the third time and he became the first horse since Arkle to win a hat-trick of Gold Cup’s. Only the mighty Golden Miller has achieved more but back then the Gold Cup was very uncompetitive and what Best Mate did in the modern era is nothing short of astounding. Not only was the 2004 renewal the last of his three wins in the race, it was also by far the most exciting from a viewer’s perspective. The reason for this was the soft ground; he was an out and out good ground horse so the rain that came really made life a whole lot tougher. Turning for home, he got sandwiched between two rivals and lost a length or two in the process but he got a gap and surged to the front two out and although he was tiring up the hill, he just saw off Sir Rembrandt by half a length to land the famous three. A true legend and a cool ride from Jim Culloty.
2009 – KAUTO STAR
If we speak to any person who can only remember the modern era, then most will say that Kauto Star is the greatest of them all. What he achieved during his eight years is nothing short of miraculous and a lot of credit has to go to his trainer Paul Nicholls for his success too. He is the only horse to ever win the King George Chase four years in a row and he won his fifth King George in 2011. A winner of the Gold Cup in 2007 after being sent off the 5/4 favourite, his pride was severely dented by the amazing Denman in the 2008 renewal, beat seven lengths. He had a lot to prove in 2009 as many had written him off but the 7/4 favourite was right back to his best to beat Denman by an astonishing thirteen lengths and produce a flawless round of jumping in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
The final day of the Cheltenham Festival and all eyes will be on the feature race of the week, the Cheltenham Gold Cup! Away from the main attraction the apprentices get their chance to shine in the Conditional Jockeys Hurdle, while the Triumph Hurdle for 4 year olds also showcases the horses to watch for at Cheltenham Festival 2018! Our Cheltenham Gold Cup tips is now online and offers excellent value.