A Brief History of The Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase
The Cheltenham Gold Cup has origins as far back as 1819 in the form of a three-mile flat race that took place on Cleeve Hill, overlooking Prestbury Park. The winner of that inaugural race was Spectre and it was not until 1924 that the race included hurdles over the ‘Old Course’.
During the 1930s and 1940s there were a handful of abandonments due to extreme weather conditions and the Second World War. Despite these, it was during this period that the most successful horse of the Gold Cup won five times on the trot. Also, the event became increasingly popular with the Irish when an Irish trained horse won three times in succession.
The ‘New Course’ was introduced at Prestbury Park for the 1959 Gold Cup and this has remained the track until the present day. During the mid-1960’s the shortest priced winner raced home at 1/10. In 1990 the opposite situation occurred with Norton’s Coin racing home at 100/1, surely making a few people extremely happy.
During the 1980’s an extraordinary race in 1983 saw the first five placed horses to cross the finishing line all trained by the same person, Michael Dickinson. Dawn Run won both the Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle in 1986, both feature races of the Cheltenham Festival and the only horse to do so.
Foot and Mouth disease caused the race to be abandoned in 2001, however the Cheltenham Festival survived the recent covid outbreak and went ahead despite restrictions in crowd numbers at the 2021 event. In between foot and mouth and covid, Kauto Star made history by becoming the first ever horse to regain the Gold Cup.
Most Successful Gold Cup Winning Horses
- Golden Miller - A 5-time winner between 1932 – 1936 and also notably a Grand National winner
- Cottage Rake – A three-time winner between 1948 – 1950 trained by Irishman, Vincent O’Brien
- Arkle – A three-time winner between 1964 - 1966 with the shortest price ever at 1/10.
- Best Mate – A three-time winner between 2002 and 2004
Most Successful Gold Cup Winning Jockeys
- Pat Taafe – A three-time winner riding Arkle in 1964/65/66 and Fort Leney in 1968
- Richard Johnson – A two-time winner in 2000 on Looks Like Trouble and 2018 on Native River
- Paul Townend – A two-time winner in 2019 and 2020 on Al Boum Photo
Most Successful Gold Cup Winning Trainers
- Tom Dreaper – A five-time winner with Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964/65/66), Fort Leney (1968)
- Paul Nicholls – A four-time winner with See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007/09), Denman (2008)
- Basil Briscoe – A four-time winner between 1932 and 1936 with Golden Miller
- Henrietta Knight – A three-time winner with Best Mate (2002/03/04)
The Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase 2022
The Cheltenham Gold Cup will be under starters orders at 15:30 GMT on the 18 March 2022. For many, the Gold Cup Steeple Chase is the pinnacle race of the four-day event. Not only Cheltenham, but this race is one of the most prestigious horse races found in the National Hunt annual racing calendar. Only The Grand National has the bragging rights to be a more famous race whilst offering a bigger prize pot than the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Over the years, famous horses have triumphed in the Gold Cup and this year will be no different. Some of the elite five-year-old plus horses, mainly from England and Ireland, will battle it out to take home their share of the £625,000 prize money, with the winner securing approximately £350,000. This Grade 1 chase provides a huge challenge to the jumping, racing and stamina skills of 30 of the best staying chasers. The gruelling race covers three miles plus two and a half furlongs while navigating 22 fences before the uphill slog to the finish line along Cheltenham hill.
Featured Runners at the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022
A Plus Tard
Never out of the placings after 18 career starts including seven wins, A Plus Tard is consistent and finished as runner up ridden by Rachel Blackmore in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Yet to run in 2022, A Plus Tard’s last outing in December 2021 came at the three miles Grade one Savilles Chase in Leopardstown, finishing a close second to Galvin. In November 2021, A Plus Tard stormed to victory in a Grade one chase at Haydock clearing the pack including Royal Pagaille by over 12 lengths. Can this French 8-year-old brown gelding trained by Henry De Bromhead go one better this year?
As mentioned, Galvin kept A Plus Tard at bay by a short head in a field of eight and won the Grade one Savilles Chase in December 2021. In his prior race at Royal Down in October 2021, Galvin finished second in the Grade one Kauto Star Champion Chase yet came in ahead of Minella Indo. Galvin is an Irish 8-year-old year old bay gelding with an impressive 12 wins after 19 starts and is trained by Gordon Elliott.
Last year’s triumphant winner beating A Plus Tard by one length, Minella Indo will start the Gold Cup again in 2022. A horse that appears to enjoy racing at Prestbury Park, despite early season form not being the best when pulling up in the grade one King George VI Chase at Kempton in December. Despite this, Minella Indo has been known to start the season slowly and raced to a second place earlier this month losing out to Conflated by six and a half lengths in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Trained by Henry De Bromhead, has this run out helped to prime the nine-year-old bay gelding for the Gold Cup?
Al Boum Photo
One of a handful of horses to win back-to-back Gold Cups in 2019 and 2020, last year saw Al Boum Photo finish third. Can Al Boum Photo make one more headline run to join an elite of four other horses to win the Gold Cup three times and join Kauto Star as the only other horse to regain the title? A first run out of the season on New Year’s Day at Tramore brought a win by four lengths in a race below three miles. Has this 10-year bay gelding had its day or will trainer Willie Mullins create another all-time great?
An 8-year-old French bay gelding, Royale Pagaille has four career wins from nine races. Last year this horse finished sixth in the Gold Cup. A fast-improving horse finishing second at Newbury on 12 February in under three miles. Does this horse have the stamina to finish even stronger over three miles?
An experienced contender at 10 years old, Santini enters the Gold Cup once again. Last year Santini was pulled up during the Gold Cup. However, last time out over three miles at Cheltenham in January, a second placing by two and a half lengths to Chantry House proves this horse still enjoys running at the course.
Another 10-year-old experienced horse trained by Colin Tizzard. Since a win at Ascot last November over 2m5f, there has been a drop in form with a fifth-place finish at Kempton over three miles. Lostintranslation was recently in the lead in the Grade one Ascot Chase before losing ground and being pulled up.
Conflated has shown improving form throughout the National Hunt season winning a Grade 2 race at Navan in December. Of most importance and something that will raise a few eyebrows, Conflated recently won the Irish Gold Cup by six-and-a-half lengths at Leopardstown in a Grade one three mile race. Trailing behind this 8-year-old were big names like Minella Indo and Frodon.
An impressive career record for this 8-year-old with nine wins from 12 races, Chantry House is entered for the Gold Cup and Grand National. Chantry House struggled at Kempton on Boxing Day pulling out of the race, however, made amends at Cheltenham in January winning the 3m1.5f race. Finishing ahead of Santini the win was not made with fluency and Chantry House looked to be tiring at the finishing post.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide to betting at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. If you think you may have a problem with gambling then you can discreetly visit gambleaware.co.uk for help and support. Here at mr.play we want you to enjoy your betting within safe limits that will not create any financial hardship.