Cheltenham Festival Order of Running

The International – The December Gold Cup Facts & Figures

Here are some Facts & Figures about The December Gold Cup which is run at The International Meeting, Cheltenham in early December each year:

* The December Gold Cup usually takes place over two miles and five furlongs on the New Course at Cheltenham. In 2003, because of the lack of rain over the summer and during the autumn, the handicap chase was run over two miles and four and a half furlongs on the Old Course at Cheltenham.

* First run in 1963, there have been seven abandonments. Frost intervened in 2001, 1995 and 1976, snow in 1990 and 1981, while the 1967 event was lost due to a foot and mouth epidemic. The 2008 race was lost due to a waterlogged course.

* Limeking, trained in Ireland by Danny Morgan, won the inaugural running, defeating Flying Wild by two lengths.

* In all, there have been seven Irish-trained winners of the December Gold Cup. The victories of Limeking (1963), Flying Wild (1964) and Flyingbolt (1965) ensured that the first three runnings all went to Ireland. However, no horse hailing from the Emerald Isle was successful between Leap Frog (1971) and Go Roger Go, victorious in 2000. Sir Oj became the sixth Irish-trained winner when successful in 2005. There were no further winners for the Irish until 2020 when Michael Winters-trained Chatham Street Lad took the honours.

* Arkle, the greatest steeplechaser of all time and triumphant in the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, suffered a rare reversal in the 1964 December Gold Cup. Anne Duchess of Westminster’s charge was saddled with the burden of 12st 10lb (which included a 3lb penalty for winning the Hennessy just seven days beforehand) and stayed on in third behind the useful Irish mare Flying Wild (receiving 32lb) and Buona Notte (receiving 26lb).

* The highest weight ever carried to victory in the December Gold Cup was the 12st 7lb shouldered by Pendil in 1973. Other notable weight-carrying performances were Flyingbolt with 12st 6lb in 1965 and Leap Frog with 12st 1lb in 1971. Pendil is the only horse to have also won the other major race at The International, the Grade Two hurdle now run as the International, which he did in 1970.

* In addition to holding the weight-carrying record for the December Gold Cup, Pendil also has the distinction of being the shortest-priced winner, at 8/11.

* 11 favourites or joint-favourites have won the December Gold Cup – Flyingbolt (1965, 5/2), Titus Oates (1969, 9/4), Leap Frog (1971, 3/1), Arctic Bow (1972, 9/2), Pendil (1973, 8/11), Fifty Dollars More (1983, 3/1), Oregon Trail (1986, 3/1), Kings Fountain (1991, 7/4), Addington Boy (1996, 7/4), Poquelin (2009, 7/2) and Quantitiveeasing (2011, 6/1).

* A fancied horse – if not the favourite – usually wins the December Gold Cup, with 37 victors having been returned at single-figure odds, including six of the last 10. In 2007, Tamarinbleu became the longest-priced winner in the contest’s history when scoring at 22/1.

* Female trainers have saddled the December Gold Cup winner four times – Auriol Sinclair with Simian (1970), Jenny Pitman with Bueche Giorod (1980), Susan Nock with Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Venetia Williams with Niceonefranike (2014).

* Bryony Frost became the first female jockey to win the December Gold Cup aboard Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon in 2018, at odds of 7/1.

* Historically, Gordon Richards and Fred Winter were the most successful trainers of the December Gold Cup with three winners each. Richards sent out Titus Oates (1969), Clever Folly (1989) and Addington Boy (1996), while Winter had Pendil (1973), Observe (1982) and Fifty Dollars More (1983). However in recent times Paul Nicholls has become the most successful trainer of this race, with five winners – Poquelin (2009, 2010), Unioniste (2012) and Frodon (2016, 1018). 

* Richard Johnson won on Monkerhostin (2004), Legal Right (1999) and Village Vic (2015) making him the winning-most jockey to date.

* Poquelin (2009, 2010) and Frodon (2016, 2018) are the only horses to have won the December Gold Cup twice.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Eclipse Magazine

Racing News, What to Wear, Competitions, Features, Betting Tips and More

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. We'll bring the news to you about once a month. We NEVER share your data.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Scroll to Top