Galloping into History: 5 Legendary Horses that Conquered the Cheltenham Gold Cup


The Cheltenham Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious events in the world of horse racing, has witnessed the triumph of numerous legendary horses over the years. These equine athletes have etched their names in the annals of racing history, captivating the hearts of enthusiasts with their exceptional speed, stamina, and determination. In this article, we delve into the stories of five iconic horses that left an indelible mark by clinching the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

1) Arkle - The Invincible Force (1964-1966):

Arkle, often hailed as one of the greatest steeplechasers of all time, dominated the Cheltenham Gold Cup from 1964 to 1966. Trained by Tom Dreaper and ridden by Pat Taaffe, Arkle's majestic leaps over fences and unparalleled speed made him an unstoppable force. His three consecutive victories in the Gold Cup solidified his status as a racing legend, and he remains an enduring symbol of excellence in the sport.

Kauto Star - The Dual Champion (2007-2009): 

Kauto Star, the remarkable French-bred steeplechaser, etched his name in history by becoming the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh, Kauto Star's victories in 2007 and 2009 showcased his versatility and resilience. The rivalry with Denman, another stalwart of the sport, added an extra layer of drama to Kauto Star's triumphs, making him a fan favorite and a true icon of Cheltenham.

Best Mate - A Hat-Trick Hero (2002-2004):

Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Knight and ridden by Jim Culloty, achieved the rare feat of securing three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup victories from 2002 to 2004. This remarkable bay gelding exhibited a perfect blend of speed, agility, and impeccable jumping ability. Best Mate's hat-trick endeared him to racing enthusiasts and cemented his place in history as one of the all-time greats.

Golden Miller - The Five-Time Champion (1932-1936): 

Long before Arkle and Best Mate, there was Golden Miller, a horse whose name is synonymous with Cheltenham Gold Cup dominance. Trained by Basil Briscoe, Golden Miller secured an unprecedented five consecutive victories from 1932 to 1936. This bay gelding's achievements remain unmatched, and his legacy as a trailblazer in the early years of the Cheltenham Gold Cup is firmly intact.

Dawn Run - A Trailblazing Mare (1986):

In 1986, history was made when Dawn Run, a courageous mare, triumphed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Trained by Paddy Mullins and ridden by Jonjo O'Neill, Dawn Run's victory was a groundbreaking moment, as she became the first and only mare to win the prestigious race. Her tenacity and sheer determination showcased the resilience of female horses in a traditionally male-dominated arena.


The Cheltenham Gold Cup has witnessed the triumphs of many legendary horses, each leaving an indelible mark on the rich tapestry of horse racing history. From Arkle's invincibility to Kauto Star's comeback, Best Mate's hat-trick, Golden Miller's unprecedented five victories, and Dawn Run's groundbreaking achievement as a mare, these horses have become immortalized in the hearts of racing enthusiasts, ensuring that their legacies endure for generations to come. As the Cheltenham Gold Cup continues to captivate the world, these equine heroes serve as a testament to the timeless allure and magic of the sport of kings.

The Gold Cup and Other Battles We Can’t Wait to See at Cheltenham 2020

The Gold Cup and, indeed, the entire Cheltenham Festival has a rich history of classic races, but within those contests, there have always been superb rivalries that capture the imagination. Think of Kauto Star and Denman going at it, or the legendary battle of Mill House and Arkle in the 1964 Gold Cup.

While the history of the 2020 Festival has yet to be written, there are some tantalising match-ups we are looking forward to this year. Some are old acquaintances renewed, whereas others are new rivalries that could set the tone for the 2020s.

Let’s dive in and have a look at the battles we can’t wait for next month:

Cheltenham Gold Cup: Al Boum Photo vs Native River

Yes, there are at least half a dozen names in the mix to win the Gold Cup, including the likes of Delta Work, Santini and Kemboy. But there is something to be said for the two previous champions lining up together. 2019 winner Al Boum Photo is the 4/1 Gold Cup favourite (Bet365), but Native River is taking on a bit of money and can be found at 10/1 with William Hill. If anything, we know that the latter’s style will ensure he runs a gutsy race, and really unsettle Al Boum Photo and the rest of the field. It looks like one of the most open Gold Cups in years, but the class of Al Boum Photo and the competitiveness of Native River ensures that both will be among the main protagonists.

Champion Chase: Altior vs Defi Du Seuil vs Chacun Pour Soi

The price fluctuations in the odds are all over the place for this one, so take a look at the best available betting offers for Cheltenham Festival 2020 from top bookies to ensure you get the best price. At the time of writing though, Altior is a squeak ahead at 2/1 with most major bookmakers, with Defi Du Seuil best-priced at 9/4 with Betfair (other have him as 7/4 favourite) and Chacun Pour Soi floating around 5/2. It’s a tough call, but the markets seem to be backing Altior not to be at his very best. The four-time festival winner could make his doubters look very foolish.

Mares’ Hurdle: Benie Des Dieux vs Honeysuckle

Connections of both Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle have been teasing entry into the Champion Hurdle (they would have to be supplemented), but the Mares’ Hurdle looks the most likely option. This could quietly become one of the best rivalries in horse racing, and while most favour Benie Des Dieux to come through as the even-money favourite, it would be ludicrous to discount the brilliant Honeysuckle (best-priced 15/8 at Betfair). This race on the 10th March could really kickstart the festival.

There is a real feeling of Super Thursday at Cheltenham 2020, with Faugheen appearing in the Marsh Novices’ Chase to start the day and Paisley Park ready to defend his Stayers’ Hurdle crown. However, the show-stealer could be the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. We’ve seen plenty of Min down the years, and Frodon has a great story with jockey Bryony Frost. A Plus Tard is now the 3/1 market leader and he looks likely to swerve the Champion Chase, but the 4/1 for Min and 7/1 for Frodon from William Hill both look like tempting prices. The Ryanair Chase has quickly become one of the best national hunt races in its relatively short history, and this year’s looks like a classic.   

Cheltenham Gold Cup: Mullins Doing Everything Right with Al Boum Photo

As we get closer to the Cheltenham Festival, the biggest story will inevitably be Al Boum Photo's attempt to secure a third consecutive Gold Cup triumph. The 9-year-old, trained by Willie Mullins, is the clear favourite to win on March 19th, where a victory will emulate the likes of triple Gold Cup winner, Best Mate, and go down as one of the great feats of modern jumps racing.

Nevertheless, there is a sense that Al Boum Photo is hurtling towards his third Gold Cup, not because he is an all-time great in tremendous form, but because he is the least-worst option. By that we don't mean any disrespect to Al Boum Photo – to win two Gold Cups makes him a great in everyone's eyes. It is a simple fact that the competition he faces has been, at best, erratic over the last year, and, in some cases, terrible.

Al Boum Photo the Clear Favourite

Now, does that mean Al Boum Photo is a shoo-in to win the Gold Cup? Bookmakers have priced him at 3/1, with the rest of the field coming in at 8/1 or above. That's quite a margin of daylight in a race that is notoriously difficult to call, and much more so when it's still weeks until Gold Cup Day. Al Boum Photo has had one race – and one win – since last year's Gold Cup triumph. That came in the Savill's New Year's Day Chase at Tramore, which Al Boum Photo won handily. But it wasn't the kind of test of mettle that punters like to see. In short, we learnt nothing about Al Boum Photo in that race.

Nonetheless, you can see why bookmakers have put Al Boum Photo out on his own – almost every other horse in the race has had some sort of blot on their copybook in the last year. The second-favourite, Minella Indo (8/1), for example, fell in his last outing at Leopardstown. Santini (9/1), who is the third-favourite, hasn't had a win since the Cotswold Chase in January last year.

But that really doesn't mean Al Boum Photo will have it all his own way. As rightly pointed out in MBet's blog for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Santini actually had a decent 2020. Alongside that Cotswold Chase win, he finished second to Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup, and he was only a length behind Lake View Lad in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree in December. The main concern was a poor showing in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

Santini has the attributes of a Gold Cup winner

Santini, however, is the kind of horse that can beat anyone on his day. The key for trainer Nicky Henderson is that day being Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham. Several others who will line up for the bog race also share that characteristic, and nobody would be truly surprised if it is someone like Minella Indo, Champ or A Plus Tard that we see in the Winners' Enclosure.

However, you have to say that trainer Willie Mullins has played a blinder with Al Boum Photo. The horse is lightly raced (just six races across the last two years), and he will come into the Gold Cup fresher than any of his rivals. It’s almost like a boxer carefully picking their opponents – the right time, the right fight. But this is the Gold Cup, and nothing is decided on paper. Al Boum Photo might look like a logical three-time winner, but some very good horses might have something to say about that.

How to Pick Horse Racing Bets with High Probability of Winning?

Horse racing games are one of the sporting events that most people wanted to witness. It is only the sports where horses are the superstars. Aside from that, a single horse racing tournament gets attended by more than ten entries, which makes the whole show more exciting and interesting to watch out for.

In line with this, a lot of horse racing games are set to commence in the first quarter of 2020, such as the U.S. Triple Crown Series and the Gold Cup. These horse racing events will feature the finest thoroughbreds who will vie for a million-dollar purse prize. Also, you will see a lot of sports bettors wagering for this type of sports as the prizes are also massive.

While it's a fun thing to bet on horse racing game, picking the right bet with high chances of winning requires a lot of work. Remember that betting costs a lot of money, and your goal is to win, or at least top up the money you used for betting.

That said, let us give you the most realistic ways on how to pick the best horse racer to be part of your odds for the Kentucky Derby and some other notable horse racing shows.

Check the Overall Form of the Horse

Every horse racer undergoes specific training courses depending on the guidelines set by their trainers and jockeys. In this way, the overall form of the horse is the fundamental consideration of every bettor to wager for them.

Also, the form of the horse racer is determined based on several factors, such as the previous racing games they undertake. Moreover, the distance of the races, their former competitors, the weather condition, and the type of track they saddled up are also factors that help in formulating the overall outlook of the horse.

Check the Stamina and Fitness

Every horse racer is capable of winning a horse racing show if it carries perfect stamina and the right fitness. Obviously, every bettor will gamble for a colt that looks great and is fit to run in any kind of race track.

Moreover, horse racers should not suffer any health issues during the racing game. It will affect the racer's overall performance, even if it has the best racing records in the past.

Evaluate the Jockey's Form

No matter how strong the horse racer looks like, he cannot win the competition without the right command from the jockey.

Do know that the jockey has its own ways of controlling the horse racer inside the field. As a bettor, you must also consider the background of each jockey so you can pick the best entry to bet.

Consider the Class and Type of the Race

The U.S. Triple Crown Series and the Gold Cup are horse racing games that take place in a dirt track. In this case, you can pick a deserving bet by considering the records of each horse racer who has done great in dirt tracks before running to this kind of race.

There are also racing games that happen in many classes like Turf, Sprint, etc. and you must understand these type of racing classes to select which thoroughbred to bet.

Check the Speed and Pacing Skills of the Horse Racer

Horse racing is a race of the fastest horse racer inside the field. Obviously, the racer who finishes the race first will be the winner. It is crucial that you check from time to time the racing record of your said bets and assess their rates in their previous competitions they took part in.

It is the only way to make sure that you are wagering for a possible winner and end up winning the betting games. No matter what the circumstances are, the speed of the horse racer is an essential factor you must check before betting.

Evaluate the Trainer's Overall Skill

Aside from the jockey, the trainer plays a significant role in honing the skills of each horse racer. They are the ones who develop the way how the colt saddles inside the field. Trainers also have specific techniques on how to improve the speed of each horse racer. Thus, check the profile of the trainer of the thoroughbred you’re eyeing to bet.

Many legendary horse race trainers had produced big winners in many horse racing shows like Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, and Jason Servis.


Undeniably, the horse racing games in line this year excites every fan and bettor as it offers massive wagering games that can practically grow everyone's bankroll. Also, the festivity it provides to every fan can surely help relieve your stress way of you took part in the said event.

Therefore, if you are one of the bettors who would like to wager for upcoming horse racing shows like the Gold Cup and the U.S. Triple Crown Series, applying the practical ways on how to analyze a rightful bet listed above will surely help you bring home the bacon. 

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021 Market Movers (Antepost)

It's getting to that time of year when the Flat turf racing transcends to the National Hunt. Both codes detail a different type of gambler. Myself, I'm a Flat racing man, but even I take a glancing look at the Cheltenham Festival when it appears on the horizon.

Ante-post bettor's of the Magners' Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021 are taking note and listening to the news from stables large and small. If you put your ear to the ground, you can feel the vibrations of galloping horses, distant shouts, cheers and jubilation. I'm sure Del Boy would say to Rodney: ''This time next year we'll be millionaires''

In fact, those who have an eye for ante-post betting may well have a few points on their side and hoping horses earmarked for Prestbury Park continue to shine until the big day comes around and your betting slip says: ''20/1''.

Time will tell.

Taking a look at the Cheltenham Gold Cup ante-post betting there has been some money flying about.

At the top of the betting sits Al Boum Photo who won the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup and steady at 5/1.

Santini has been well backed from 12/1 – 7/1. Considering Nicky Henderson's gelding was beaten just half a length when a running-on second to Willie Mullins' charge it did look a big price.

Another horse that has caught the imagination of late is Henry De Bromhead's Minella Indo who pulverised his opposition at Wexford when winning by 25-lengths, eased the last 100 yards, comfortably. It proved this son of Beat Hollow is thriving and although a 8/13f there was much to like about that performance. Clearly someone thought the same and backed from 14/1 – 8/1. Considering his trainer said the gelding had been a difficult to get fit in the past this must be a very good sign. Bromhead has detailed Minella Indo will most likely go to Navan next time out to contest the Grade 2 Bet Victor Make Your Best Bet Chase. There's a lot to be encouraged by what we are hearing from Knockeen, County Waterford.

Topofthegame hasn't been seen for a very long times but there is a good word for Paul Nicholls' RSA Chase victor. It could well be the case he is better than before after his minor tendon injury and it says a lot about connections for waiting it out. Well backed from 20/1 – 12/1 we should get a chance to see how this gelding is progressing with his impending return to racing.

Lostintranslation, trained by Colin Tizzard, is another horse that's done little wrong in his career and a noble third place in last year's Gold Cup when travelling well and leading for most only to be collared in the closing stages. He has a couple of entries including the Betfair Chase (21st November) and the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton (26th December). Backed from 25/1 – 14/1 suggests this eight-year-old gelding will be making a bold attempt to lead all the way if getting to the Gold Cup fit and well.

A couple of outsider that have been nibbled in the market include Presenting Percy (50/1 – 33/1) and Champagne Classic (100/1 – 50/1).

Clearly, the Betfair Chase will be a good indicator and a test for a number of these leading hopes.

By the time the King George VI has been concluded on Boxing Day we should have a real indicator. 

Topofthegame Well Backed for Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021

Successful in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham 2019, Paul Nicholls made the decision to give Topofthegame a year off after a minor tendon injury with the words: ''He'll come back even better than before.''

Only time will tell if his statement holds true - but there's growing ambition he can win the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021. One thing's for sure, punters are eagerly awaiting the return of this son of Flemensfirth who is earmarked for Haydock's Betfair Chase (21st November). It's a time of much excitement and a long-await return.

This eight-year-old chestnut gelding has raced just eleven times. After winning in style at Belclare, Ireland, Topofthegame has won three under rules races. Generally, a consistent horse who has, at times, been second best by narrow margins. However, his last six races have seen brilliant performances including his noted success over Santini in the RSA, when prevailing by a dogged half length to bag a first prize a little shy of £100,000. This gelding has relished the step up in distance and a live contender for the Gold Cup. In fact, he's been backed from 20/1 – 14/1 with Paddy Power. He could well meet his old rival Santini, who is presently second favourite for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021, which takes place on the 19th March (3:30) at Prestbury Park.

Looking at future entries, we can see the Chris Giles and Mr & Mrs P K Barber owned gelding has a couple of future engagements this month including the Haydock Betfair Chase (21st November) and priced 20/1.

However, it seems the Newbury Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (3m 2f) could be the race punters fancy they can win. In fact, if he takes this Grade 3 race it will be after an absence of 603 days.

Whichever race is on the cards, the return of Topofthegame will be one of great interest and hope for the Gold Cup 2021.

How to Identify a Potential Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race of the year and it always attracts a stellar field packed full of superstars. All the leading trainers descend upon the famous racecourse to battle it out for glory, and it always results in a fascinating spectacle. It is also one of the biggest betting events of the year. Bookmakers offer ante post odds well in advance of the big race, and punters pore over the form in an effort to identify the winner. These are the key statistics that you should bear in mind before handing over your hard-earned cash to the bookies:


Eleven of the last 12 Cheltenham Gold Cup winners were between seven and nine years of age. The only exception was Long Run, a six-year-old from the Nicky Henderson stable who went off as the 7/2 favourite in 2011. That was widely considered as one of the greatest races ever witnessed at Prestbury Park, as he saw off the threat of experienced warriors Denman and Kauto Star to clinch a famous victory. However, the real sweet spot to aim for is seven to nine, as the last eight winners have come from that bracket. Older horses appear to struggle with the long, daunting trip: in 2019, the two oldest runners – 10-year-old Might Bite and 11-year-old veteran Thistlecrack – were both pulled up.


The temptation is always to back the favourite in the Gold Cup, as that horse arrives in terrific form. However, it is worth noting that only four out of the last 12 SP favourites have finished first in this famous race. The last to secure victory was Gordon Elliott’s Don Cossack in 2016. He went off as the 9/4 favourite and lived up to the hype by surging to victory ahead of Willie Mullins’ duo, Djakadam and Don Poli. Kauto Star in 2009, Long Run in 2011 and Bobs Worth in 2013 were the other favourites to win the Gold Cup in the past dozen years. However, seven of the past 12 winners came from the top three in the betting. The longest priced winners were Coneygree at 20/1 in 2015 and Al Boum Photo at 12/1 in 2019. Rank outsider Norton’s Coin defied odds of 100/1 to win it in in 1990, but we have not seen a freak result like that since then. You can learn more about odds at


Nine of the past 12 Gold Cup winners had run within the previous 77 days, suggesting that it is risky to back horses that could be rusty. Ten of the last 12 winners had won their previous race, so you might want to rule out any that come into it on a losing run. Al Boum Photo was not among the favourites in 2019, but he had still won his previous race – the Listed Savills Chase at Tramore in January.

Key Pointers

The King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day is a natural build-up race to the Gold Cup. The Triple Crown of Jumps Racing has always been the Betfair Chase, the King George and the Gold Cup, and several horses still go down that route. Three of the last 12 Gold Cup winners ran in the King George, and two of them won it. Another three of the last 12 winners ran in the Denman Chase at Newbury on their previous appearance, and all three won it. The winner of the Denman Chase could, therefore, make an interesting bet for Gold Cup glory.

Course Form

Every single one of the last 12 Cheltenham Gold Cup winners had at least one Cheltenham run under their belts. Half of them had won on the course, so beware of any runner that is making a Cheltenham debut and pay extra attention to any horse that has previously tasted success at Prestbury Park. Most winners of this race have displayed strong form over the course of the season. Coneygree had won all three races before triumphing in 2015, while Don Cossack had won three of four before his 2016 victory. Sizing John won two of three races before winning the Gold Cup in 2017, and the past two winners – Native River and Al Boum Photo – had only raced once during the season and both eased to victory. In the past 12 years, only 2010 winner Imperial Commander and 2014 champion Lord Windermere were winless for the season before clinching the Gold Cup.

Distance Form

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is an epic stamina test and you should be wary of any horses that are unproven over a long distance. Eleven of the last 12 winners had won a race in which the distance was at least 3 miles, standing them in good stead for the 3miles, 2 furlongs and 70 yards Gold Cup trip. Eight of the last 12 winners had triumphed at least twice over a distance of more than 3 miles, so look out for horses with the proven ability to win at that trip.


By the time the Cheltenham Gold Cup rolls around in March, the officials generally have a good idea of how strong each runner is. Three-quarters of the past 12 winners were rated 166 or higher and half of them were rated 170 or higher. However, it is worth noting that the past three winners were rated below 167: Sizing John was 164, Native River was 166 and Al Boum Photo was 164. The lowest-ranked winner of the past decade was Lord Windermere (152) and the highest was Long Run (179).

Grade 1 Victories

You should also consider ruling out any horses that have not displayed an ability to win at Grade 1. The past 12 victors had all won at least one Grade 1 race, and half of them had previously won at least two Grade 1 races. If a horse is bidding for its first-ever Grade 1 victory in the biggest race of the year, that should set alarm bells ringing. Seven of the past 12 Gold Cup winners had won at least two Grade 2 races, so that is another trend to bear in mind.

Season Form

Ten of the past 12 Gold Cup winners had been given at least two runs that season, although Native River and Al Boum Photo – the last two winners – were the exceptions. Eight of the last 12 winners had at least three season runs and 10 out of 12 had at least one win that season. Lord Windermere was the last horse to secure his first victory of the season at the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which would explain the long odds of 20/1 he was assigned.