The Cheltenham Gold Cup: everything you need to know about this historic race

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  • The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade One National Hunt steeplechase, run over 3 miles 2.5 furlongs with 22 fences, that is held on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival in March. It is the most prestigious race at the Festival, which runs from Tuesday-Friday, and a massive highlight of the National Hunt season.

    When is the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup?

    The race is due to get underway at 3.05pm on Friday 19 March.

    Who are the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup runners?

    The following 29 horses, listed alphabetically, are entered at the time of writing. By the time the race comes around, a maximum of 24 horses are permitted to line up.

    Horse: Al Boum Photo
    Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
    Owner: Mrs J. Donnelly

    W. P. Mullins, Ireland
    Cheveley Park Stud

    A Plus Tard
    Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
    Cheveley Park Stud

    Venetia Williams
    The Bellamy Partnership

    How to watch the Cheltenham Gold Cup

    If you’re looking forward to settling down the watch the race from home at 3.05pm on Friday 19 March, then don’t miss our armchair viewing guide, which includes how to watch the Cheltenham Gold Cup on TV and much more.

    What is the prize money for winning?

    The total prize pot for the 2021 WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase £625,000 and the winner takes home £263,766 making it the most valuable jumps race in Britain and Ireland after the Grand National.

    Recent winners

    2020: Al Boum Photo – read the race report
    2019: Al Boum Photo – read the race report
    2018: Native River – read the race report
    2017: Sizing John – read the race report
    2016: Don Cossack – read the race report
    2015: Coneygree – read the race report
    2014: Lord Windermere – read the race report
    2013: Bobs Worth – read the race report
    2012: Synchronised – read the race report
    2011: Long Run – read the race report

    Winning-most trainer, horse, jockey and owner

    The all-time leading Cheltenham Gold Cup trainer is Tom Dreaper, who won it a total of five times, thanks to Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964-66) and Fort Leney (1968). The all-time most successful horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup is Golden Miller, who won it a total of five times across five consecutive years – 1932 to 1936. The top all-time Cheltenham Gold Cup jockey is Pat Taaffe, who won a total of four times – three times on Arkle (1964-66) and one on Fort Leney (1968). And the leading Cheltenham Gold Cup owner, Dorothy Paget won it seven times – five times with Golden Miller (1932-36), as well as with Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952).

    Most successful previous winners

    Golden Miller: won five consecutive Gold Cups from 1932 to 1936 and in 1934 became the only horse ever to win the Aintree Grand National and the Gold Cup in the same season.

    Cottage Rake: won three consecutive Gold Cups from 1948-1950.

    Arkle: won three consecutive Gold Cups in 1963-1965.

    L’Escargot: won the Gold Cup twice in 1970 and 1971.

    Best Mate: won the Gold Cup three times in 2002-2004, the first three-timer since Arkle.

    About the Gold Cup trophy

    A new Gold Cup is cast every year for the winner of this race each year. The trophy is worth approximately £10,000 and made of 10 ounces of gold. In 2010, a Gold Cup won in 1988 was stolen by thieves from racehorse owner Raymond Mould. Mr Mould won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Charter Party, ridden by Richard Dunwoody and trained by David Nicholson.

    Continued below…

    The history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup

    The first horse race known as the Cheltenham Gold Cup was a flat race run over three miles during a three-day meeting in 1819 and won by a horse called Spectre. The race was run on a course on Cleeve Hill, which overlooks the current Cheltenham racecourse site. The races on Cleeve Hill became popular over the next decade and then interest diminished as steeplechasing became popular.

    On 12 March 1924 the Gold Cup was first run as a chase race at Prestbury Park. The winner was a horse called Splash and he took home prize money of £685.

    It was not until some years later that the Cheltenham Festival and the Gold Cup became the prestigious events that they are today.

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