The Cheltenham Festival is one of the highlights of the horseracing calendar. During the 2013 event, an astonishing 235,000 people made their way to Cheltenham Racecourse over the four-day festival – and it’s easy to see why. The Festival has no fewer than 11 Grade One races, the pinnacle being the Gold Cup Chase, which traditionally takes place on Friday.
Usually, the festival has four days – Champion Day, Ladies’ Day, St Patrick’s Thursday and Gold Cup Day on the Friday. Over the course of each day, dozens of horses will take to the course, which is just over three miles long. The Gold Cup will have 22 daunting fences dotted across its length.
Gold Cup is king.
As the biggest race of the festival, the Gold Cup attracts the most attention from punters, with good reason. Some of the greats of the sport including Best Mate and Kauto Star have made their names in the race, as have jockeys including Ruby Walsh and Richard Dunwoody.
Another marquee race at the festival is the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Last year, a whopping 61 horses were down to take part in the World Hurdle – eventually, 18 ran. In total, there were 27 races for the 2013 event.
Cheltenham usually attracts a large Irish crowd or around 10,000 people, being so close to St Patrick’s Day. With a number of famous Irish jockeys and trainers involved, the creation of a day to celebrate all things Irish during the festival always ensures an impressive turnout.
Usually, the winner of the Gold Cup tends to be among the favourites, while it’s rare that a long shot in such a small field manages to take the big prize. However, there have been a few shocks over the years. 25/1 shot Cool Dawn in 1998 and Mr Mulligan in 1997 at 20/1 won to the amazement of millions of punters.
The biggest shock of all in Gold Cup history was in 1990 when Norton’s Coin, ridden by Graham McCourt, defied odds of 100/1 to become champion. It’s exceedingly rare for a 100/1 shot to win any race, but Norton’s Coin’s win at Cheltenham took the racing world by storm.
Top Five Jockeys In Gold Cup History
Top Five Trainers in Gold Cup History
Top owners in Gold Cup history
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Most successful horses in the Gold Cup