With the Cheltenham Festival now little under a month away, it’s time to start eyeing up who’s set to take the lead in this year’s races and which horses you should be putting your bets on. With the Gold Cup being the highlight race of the event, let’s take some time to look back at the previous winners over the last two decades as we celebrate in the run up to this year’s Gold Cup!
About the Gold Cup Race
As one of the most prestigious races in the horse racing calendar, the Gold Cup is held on the last day of the four day event and is open to horses aged five years and older. The event is run on the new course at Cheltenham race course, with a distance of over three miles and two and a half fur longs, as well as 22 fences to be jumped in total. It also has a historical background, with the first Gold Cup being ran as far back as 1819.
One of the main reasons for first establishing the Gold cup was to encourage farmers to breed high-class horses, with the hopes of the farmers and hunting men participating in the first Gold Cup Races. It was hoped that this initiative would bring back the ‘Golden Age’ of racing by cutting down some of the lower-class breed that were kept mainly for betting purposes.
A look back at previous winners of the Gold Cup
2019 winner – Al Boum Photo
The winner of 2019 was Al Boum Photo with Jockey Paul Towend. Al Boum Photo has been described as a lightly raced 8 year old horse who was well in command last year and is again showing promise for winning this year’s race.
Mullin’s had previously been saddled the runner up six times, describing the previous years as a ‘disappointment’. However, after spotting Townend as a natural with Al Boum Photo, the trainer described Townend as ‘well-balanced on the horse, with a loose rein and the horse just going along in a rhythm, fence by fence’, Mullins quickly spotted that they had a lifeline.
Whilst it was predicted than Native River was more likely to win last year, with his superior stamina coming into play die to the testing ground, it seems we were proved wrong as Al Boum Photo managed to take the lead.
2018 winner – Native River
As one of the strongest contenders in the Golden cup previously, this year Native River has unfortunately been ruled out of the Golden Cup due to a tendon injury. Native River was also set to race in the Grand National this year, although this now seems to be a little too hopeful after the recent injury.
Last year, Richard Johnson, a champion jump jockey who has recently been recovering from a broken arm, rode Native River, who has previously won three minor hurdle races. The horse is described as a ‘specialist long-distance steeplechaser known for his front-running style and apparently inexhaustible stamina’.
2017 winner – Sizing John
The winner of the 2017 Gold cup was Sizing John, with jockey – Robbie Power. This was the year that he set records straight by becoming the first horse to win the Gold Cups at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown in a single season. However, whilst the contender showed initial promise, a pelvic injury at the end of 2017 sadly kept him on the sidelines for just over two years.
Whilst the 10 year old is yet to make a significant comeback, it’s predicted that the Cheltenham festival will be used as a stepping-stone to make his comeback this year! It will be interesting to see if many fans are willing to bet on him this time around.
Getting ready for the Gold Cup 2020
With the Cheltenham festival being less than a month away, it’s now time to start doing your research by checking the latest Cheltenham Gold Cup betting tips to find out who the top contenders of this year are! As this year’s early jump fans prepare to be a part of history, will you be placing your bets on the usual strong contenders, or venturing away from the usual stars of the show this year?
Overall, it’s set to be another year of interesting events, and with one of the top contenders – Native River, now out of the race, the odds are getting interesting. With not long left until the event, be sure to start researching who to bet on ahead of the big day!