1. The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain. The total prize money for the 2012 running will be £500,000. The first Cheltenham Gold Cup was a three-mile Flat race in 1819, won by Mr Bodenham’s Spectre. The chase as we now know it was introduced in 1924, and won that year by Red Splash. The winning prize money was £700.
2. The joint biggest Gold Cup field ever was in 2006, with 22 runners going to post. Since the race was first run in 1924, there has only been one other renewal with more than 20 runners – in 1982 when Silver Buck defeated 21 rivals. The current maximum field is 24.
3. Golden Miller holds the record for the most Gold Cup victories, with five consecutive wins from 1932–36. The race is fiercely competitive – so much so that before Best Mate in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the last horse to win more than once was L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971. Kauto Star was the first horse to regain the Gold Cup, winning in 2007 and 2009.
4. Golden Miller’s owner, Dorothy Paget, is also the most successful owner in the race with an amazing seven victories, with Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952) adding to Golden Miller’s five wins.
5. The most successful trainer was Tom Dreaper, who won five Gold Cups with three separate horses, namely Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964-66) and Fort Leney (1968). Paul Nicholls is the most successful current handler with four victories to his name – See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) and Denman (2008).
6. Tony McCoy’s Stan James Champion Hurdle/totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup double in 1997 on Make A Stand and Mr Mulligan was the 11th time that the big-race double has been landed by one jockey in the same year. The other jockeys to have achieved the feat were Dick Rees (1929), Tom Cullinan (1930), Ted Leader (1932), Bill Stott (1933), Gerry Wilson (1935), Aubrey Brabazon (1949 and 1950), Tim Molony (1953), Fred Winter (1961) and Norman Williamson (1995).
7. Alderbrook and Master Oats in 1995 enabled Norman Williamson and Kim Bailey to join a very select group of jockey and trainer partnerships who have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in the same year. The other partnerships were Tom Cullinan and Jack Anthony in 1930, Ted Leader and Basil Briscoe in 1932, Bill Stott and Basil Briscoe in 1933, and Aubrey Brabazon and Vincent O’Brien in both 1949 and 1950.
8. Dawn Run is the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. She was successful in 1984 and 1986 respectively.
9. The longest-priced winner of the Gold Cup is Norton’s Coin, who started at 100/1 in 1990, while the shortest-priced winner was Arkle, the 1/10 favourite in 1966.
10. The last grey Gold Cup winner was Desert Orchid in 1989.
11. Following the acquisition of the Tote by Betfred in 2011, the 2012 renewal will be run as the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Tote previously backed the contest from 1980 onwards.
12. In the Gold Cup's history only seven horses have won more than once, and the most recent of them is Kauto Star, who took the spoils in 2007 and 2009. The others were Best Mate (2002/03/04), L'Escargot (1970/71), Easter Hero (1929/30), Golden Miller (1932/33/34/35/36), Cottage Rake (1948/49/50) and Arkle (1964/65/66).
13. While Best Mate, L’Escargot, Easter Hero, Golden Miller, Cottage Rake and Arkle all recorded consecutive victories, Kauto Star became the first horse to regain the Gold Cup in 2009 – two years after his first Gold Cup victory in 2007, after Denman took the spoils in 2008.
14. Since 1980 10 nine-year-olds, nine eight-year-olds, six seven-year-olds and five 10-year-olds have been successful. The last horse over the age of 10 to win was 12-year-old What A Myth in 1969. In 2011, Long Run became the first horse since Mill House in 1963 to win the Gold Cup at the age of six.
15. Ten favourites since 1980 have justified the market confidence – Long Run in 2011, Kauto Star in 2007 and 2009, Kicking King in 2005, Best Mate in 2003 and 2004, Master Oats in 1995, Desert Orchid in 1989, Dawn Run in 1986 and Bregawn in 1983.
16. The four Irish-trained winners since 1980 were War Of Attrition in 2006, Kicking King in 2005, Imperial Call in 1996 and Dawn Run 10 years before that. Irish-trained horses did better between 1946 and 1977 when 16 successes were achieved. The only French-trained winner was The Fellow in 1994, while there has also been a Welsh-trained victor in Norton’s Coin (1990).
Pictured: Long Run by Ian Yates www.eyewhy.co.uk