Cheltenham Gold Cup Past Winners
Get all of the Cheltenham Gold Cup results this century below – including the three won by Best Mate and two by Kauto Star. Plus, scroll past the results to get the Timeform comment for each race.
Rewind 10 years and it was Denman vs Kauto Star in a most compelling Gold Cup duel, and although the 2018 renewal of National Hunt racing's most prestigious contest may not have had the same pre-race draw or quite the same level of quality it did develop into an enthralling showdown between 2 of the market leaders, fantastic viewing as Native River and Might Bite went head-to-head from flagfall, admittedly not at a strong early pace, but neither put a foot wrong and piled the pressure on the chasing pack a long way out, with only the odd one of them even threatening to get involved in the battle up ahead; the winner had been third in the race 12 months earlier, behind Sizing John, who was ruled out by injury this time around, whilst Minella Rocco - second in 2017 - was pulled out on the day because of worsening ground.
A trio of 7-y-os, who had all run well in novice races at the meeting in 2016, filled the places, the winner Sizing John the youngest since 6-y-o Long Run of chasing's blue riband, his performance not in the same league as that horse, or that of Don Cossack, last season's victor, sadly now retired, but while this wasn't an outstanding Gold Cup in terms of form, it was still well up to standard and promising more, the winner only just starting to show what he can do as a stayer, the performances of the second and third the finest endorsement yet for the changes made to the NH Chase in the last decade; there were notable absentees, the King George winner Thistlecrack most obviously, though the 2015 winner Coneygree and the much lamented Many Clouds were others that would have enhanced the field; it was a race run at an even gallop, ensuring stamina came to the fore late on, the second and third both strong stayers, and it was a notably fair race, with no hard-luck stories, Cue Card falling when in touch but not going so well as others 3 out, in all likelihood the end of a notable Cheltenham Festival career which included wins in the 2010 Champion Bumper and 2013 Ryanair as well as a second to Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle.
Only once this century - Bobs Worth's year in 2013 - has the Gold Cup attracted so few runners, but any numerical shortfall was more than compensated by a near-stellar line-up missing only long-since injured reigning champion Coneygree and the previous day's Ryanair winner Vautour, the current holders of the Hennessy, King George and Lexus all in attendance, not to mention last year's runner-up, providing context to another bona fide top-notch performance by Don Cossack, cementing his status as the best chaser in training; there was a contested pace - if not so searching as last year's - that lifted again from 5 out, though the main players had still to reveal their hands when Cue Card crashed out at the third last, robbing the British challenge of its only realistic contender, the unknown as to how he'd have fared the only slight on an otherwise fair and representative renewal.
A terrific field for the 2015 Gold Cup, as intended bringing together the top staying chasers in Britain and Ireland, among them the first 5 from last year and no fewer than 7 in their first season out of novice company, though victory went to one from neither category, front-running Coneygree rewarding his connections' courage in becoming the first novice to win this great race since 1974; a strong gallop on rain-softened ground made for a proper test of stamina and jumping and provided a magnificent spectacle, everything that the season's leading chase should be, each of the first 3 coping admirably well as they pulled clear of the rest after 3 out, the form between them top-class and well up to scratch for a Gold Cup, if not quite at the level of some outstanding renewals over the last decade; it's worth noting the way the race took shape meant there were no hiding places and most had hard races to varying degrees, which needs bearing in mind should any of them show up at Aintree and/or Punchestown.
This might have been as dramatic a finish to a Cheltenham Gold Cup as there's been in years, all change on the run-in after there'd been very little to separate 6 of them at the last, but the bunched finish - less than 7 lengths between the winner and sixth-placed Lyreen Legend at the line - is indicative of a renewal that not only falls well below standard - this is one of the lowest-rated Gold Cups in Timeform's history - but also of a gallop that was on the steady side; the leader got to the thirteenth only slightly quicker than was the case in the Foxhunter, and it wasn't until after 4 out that they got racing in earnest, which coupled with drying conditions made for a rather messy affair that tested stamina less than is expected in this race.
An unusually small field for the blue riband of steeplechasing, the withdrawal on the day of Bog Warrior and Sunnyhillboy, an outsider whose self-certified absence allowed his rider A. P. McCoy to switch to Sir des Champs in the absence of Davy Russell, resulting in the first single-figure field for the race since 1992; among those absent were Tidal Bay, Imperial Commander, Katenko, First Lieutenant and Flemenstar, several of whom would have relished the conditions in what was a proper old-fashioned soft-ground Gold Cup, though there's limited evidence that any of them would have been able to match the winner on the day, Bobs Worth's performance well up to standard for the race, even if a shade behind the very best recent editions; his success looked unlikely 3 out and owed much to his reserves of stamina, Long Run and Sir des Champs looking to have the race between them turning in only to be outstayed, the pair arguably having done a shade too much; Silviniaco Conti fell 3 out when travelling best, but he had stamina to prove and he went too far out to be confident of where he would have finished; last year's runner-up The Giant Bolster was the other to emerge with credit, his performance simply underlining the substandard nature of that renewal.
A race so long anticipated can seldom have proved such a let-down on the day, the decider between Kauto Star and Long Run deciding nothing, the former clearly not himself and pulled up on the first circuit, the latter nothing like the horse he was earlier in the season, let alone last; several among the more likely to take advantage if that pair came up short also failed to deliver and the form is clearly well below the recent standard for the race, the winner somewhat flattered in picking up the pieces off a good gallop, the fifth shaping like the best horse on the day before his exertions told going to the last_all in all an unsatisfactory race, with the principals decidedly vulnerable in future to the pick of the season's novices, Sir des Champs, Bobs Worth and Last Instalment not least among them.
A most memorable renewal of National Hunt's blue riband event, bringing together_amongst others_a truly top-notch up-and-comer in Long Run and a pair of outstanding veterans in Denman and Kauto Star, neither of whom were at their imperious best but both ran hugely creditable races to be placed and provide plenty of substance to the form itself; the winner's bare rating is slightly lower than the previous 3 Gold Cups yet still some way ahead of the overall standard in recent years, testament to an outstanding era of staying chasers, and there's no reason whatsoever to doubt this result_a sound gallop was ensured by Midnight Chase (underlined by a course record time) and the principals asserted quickly once the screw was really turned after 4 out; Imperial Commander was the only high-profile disappointment of the race, whilst Diamond Harry and Weapon's Amnesty were the obvious absentees from an otherwise fully-loaded line-up.
A Festival which produced a succession of unexpected results and at which plenty of the star names underperformed had one last trick up its sleeve in the eclipse of Kauto Star, the best chaser in more than 40 years, whose bid for a third Gold Cup ended on the floor, but that failed to stop this being a race of rare quality, a tremendous duel between 2 top-notch horses resulting in one of the best-ever performances in this great race, the first 2 drawing a long way clear after 3 out; the early pace wasn't so strong as anticipated but it had picked up by halfway and ensured this was a proper test of stamina, a test worthy of the Blue Riband of steeplechasing.
A Cheltenham Gold Cup that will live long in the memory, one of the best for many a year, with the winner producing an outstanding performance, arguably the best in this race since the days of Arkle, but one supported by good efforts from a strong field behind him (the third produced an effort that would have been good enough to win several recent runnings), the majority running some sort of race and none having a hard-luck story; the pace was not that strong early on but built as the race developed, with plenty still in contention 4 out before the winner asserted into the straight; the form has a really solid look to it, though the fifth and sixth might be marginally flattered by the run of things; 4 of the first 5 were trained by Paul Nicholls, who clearly deserves much credit, especially for getting Denman back after his effort at Kempton.
The most eagerly anticipated Gold Cup of modern times brought with it a huge publicity drive as the 2 stablemates who've dominated the chasing scene since winning this and the SunAlliance last season clashed for the first time; in a race where the dead wood was dropped early on, Denman returned the best Gold Cup performance in over 10 years as he galloped his rivals into submission, though it wasn't the all resolving contest it might have been with Kauto Star not at his best; while Paul Nicholls' 1-2-3 doesn't quite match Michael Dickinson's 'Famous Five' of 1983 it further highlighted the dominance of his stable in jump racing at the moment, a day on from Master Minded's hammer blow in the Champion Chase and cementing his third trainers' title at the meeting on the bounce.
A race that saw the crowning of a Champion, though in terms of what he actually had to achieve Kauto Star didn't put up the performance of even an average Gold Cup winner; whilst the 2 (both 7-y-o's) with the most potential came to the fore, they were unable to show their true worth in a muddling race, with over a third of the field still bunched turning in after the gallop had been steady, and the runner-up never had the opportunity to land a blow with jockeyship and a loose horse playing their part early in the straight.
The absences of previous winners Best Mate and Kicking King left this looking a wide-open Cheltenham Gold Cup, with the field at its largest since 1982; it still took a top-class performance to win it, however, with the well-backed War of Attrition emulating 6 of the last 9 Irish-trained Gold Cup winners by scoring at the age of 7, in the process leading home the first Irish 1-2-3 in the race's history_you have to go back to 1977 for the last 1-2 (when another 7-y-o Davy Lad beat Tied Cottage); with several front runners in the field, the pace was always going to be a good one and it duly exposed the jumping frailties of most with problems in that department.
The climax of the first 4-day Festival, but not the race the script anticipated, with no Best Mate (virus after Leopardstown and serious bleed a week before this) to try and make it 4 in a row; he was joined on the sidelines by, among others, Kingscliff (scoped badly), Farmer Jack (dropped dead), Rule Supreme (ran in the World Hurdle instead) and Ollie Magern (injured); in a field containing perhaps no more than 2 runners up to winning an average Gold Cup, one of which ran appallingly, this was a far from vintage renewal, and the proximity of the second and the fourth means it's very hard to take that high a view of the form; the pace was no better than fair on the first circuit, increasing at the twelfth.
A Gold Cup where the echo of history drowned out almost everything else; this wasn't the strongest Gold Cup field, with injury robbing the race of 3 significant contenders in recent weeks (Jair du Cochet breaking a leg on the gallops, Florida Pearl and Kingscliff meeting with setbacks), nor did it require Best Mate to produce his very best form to win it; it was though a thrilling race, set up by the strong pace set on First Gold, with defeat for Best Mate_looking a distinct possibility; a couple of the supporting cast, inevitably, were found wanting faced with such a searching test but great credit should go to the other horses in the frame, all running at least as well as they ever have; as a general point on the whole fixture, much credit should be given to the starters who did a tremendous job in getting races off with the minimum of fuss, in stark contrast to the faffing around of last year, and that was clearly building confidence in the riders as to what was going to happen as the meeting went on.
This wasn't the best Gold Cup field ever and there were quite a few who weren't seen to advantage under the conditions, the field was rather disappointing in appearance in the paddock and as usual with the Gold Cup (Lake Kariba, Commanche Court, Cool Dawn, etc.) there were some who ran well above anything they had previously achieved, and yet the winner looked one of the best Gold Cup winners of the last 30 years or so, a really special horse who could go on and win the race again; the race was run at a searching gallop, one which found out any lack of jumping ability and tested both speed and stamina; there is an argument that the Gold Cup is run over a trip too far for the best horses, as the other top races are run at 3m, but this denies the uniqueness of this event which requires a special mix of abilities.
This looked beforehand the most open Gold Cup for years, one with considerable strength in depth, more than half the field having plausible claims; although some inevitably failed to run up to expectations it didn't disappoint as a race, the best horse on the day emerging the winner in a truly-run contest in which there were no real hard-luck stories; there were also few notable absentees, First Gold and Rince Ri probably the only 2 of significance; though a lot of rubbish is written about this not being a true championship because it is run over 3¼m rather than 3m, therefore favouring stamina too much over speed (perhaps the same writers might start a campaign to have the Derby run over 1¼m), there can be little doubt that Best Mate's performance was the best by a chaser in Britain or Ireland this season and is unlikely to be surpassed at either Aintree or Punchestown.
2001 Cheltenham Gold Cup Result
Cancelled due to foot and mouth.
A vintage Gold Cup with at least 4 top-notch chasers coming into the race at the peak of their form and only Legal Right of those who'd shown themselves possible contenders during the season absent through injury; for once, too, almost all the principals ran their race, only See More Business of the front 4 in the market performing below his best, though a thrilling race was marred by the death of Gloria Victis who suffered a serious leg injury when falling 2 out_a cruel blow for a stable which has had more than its share of fatalities in good races over the years; as usual there was a surprise package, this time in the shape of Lake Kariba, but it would be wrong to write down the race because of his effort under very different conditions from those he'd previously encountered_there's little doubt this was a good Gold Cup and the winner's performance has been bettered in this race in recent seasons only by Master Oats and Imperial Call; the pace was sound, increasing going out on the final circuit.