The Cheltenham Festival is renowned for creating historic scenes that will be etched in the minds of racing fans for years to come. With the four-day showcase just around the corner (15-18 March), H&H takes a trip down memory lane to look at the triumphs that have pulled at the heartstrings over the past 20 years…
Undoubtedly one of the most popular racehorses of his era, the Henrietta Knight-trained gelding became the first horse since the great Arkle to win three successive Gold Cups in 2002, 2003 and 2004. All races were under Irishman Jim Culloty, with whom he built a formidable partnership.
Another equine hero to capture the heart of the racing world, Kauto Star romped home to win the Gold Cup not once but twice, in 2007 and 2009 for his trainer Paul Nicholls — joining the top ranks as one of the most successful chasers of his time.
Also formerly trained by Somerset’s Paul Nicholls, Denman — known at home as ‘The Tank’ — denied his stablemate Kauto Star three successive Gold Cups by winning the great race in 2008. The gelding’s triumph provided jockey Sam Thomas with his finest moment in the saddle.
Last but by no means least, the homebred gelding became the first novice chaser to claim a Gold Cup for more than 40 years. Nico de Boinville — riding in his first Gold Cup — steered the gelding to victory in 2015 and provided the Bradstock family with their greatest triumph to date.
Credit: Bill Selwyn