A look at the last three Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup winners

A look at the last three Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup winners

There are a few fixtures on the National Hunt racing calendar that UK & Irish fans circle every year – and the Gold Cup at the annual Cheltenham Festival is one of them. The three-mile and two-and-a-half-furlong Grade 1 affair consists of 22 fences and is open to horses aged five year or older – and is considered by many to be the pinnacle of jumps racing from a talent perspective.

The Gold Cup’s stature and popularity transcends jumps racing, with the prestigious event attracting casual fans from all over the country who want to see the elite chasers the sport has to offer. There’s no greater achievement for a trainer and owner than having one of their stable join the famed Gold Cup roll of honour – and with that in mind – read on as we take a look at the past three thoroughbreds to have that honour bestowed upon them.

A Plus Tard – 2022

Entering 2022’s Gold Cup off the back of a string of solid performances that included triumphs at Haydock and Leopardstown, to coincide with narrow defeats at Leopardstown and in the Gold Cup a year prior – the Henry De Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard had proven himself to be a contender every time he took to a Grade 1 contest.

It wasn’t an easy field with to contend with however, with the likes of 2021 Gold Cup victor and stablemate Minella Indo, multiple-time Gold Cup champion Al Boum Photo and Manifesto Novices’ Chase Protektorat just a handful of the big names A Plus Tard would have to overcome.

The French-bred horse managed to do so with relative ease, dominating the field to reign supreme by 15 lengths from the aforementioned Minella Indo – and in doing so – secured De Bromhead with his second consecutive Gold Cup success.

A Plus Tard is likely to saddle up for this year’s renewal also, and currently sits as the third favourite in the Cheltenham betting odds at 7/1 to go back-to-back – behind that of Noble Yeats who comes in at 6/1 and the short-priced Galopin Des Champs (13/8).

Minella Indo – 2021

Securing De Bromhead with his maiden Gold Cup triumph was Minella Indo, who stunned pre-race favourite A Plus Tard by just over a length to win from 9/1. It was a stark contrast from the gelding we had seen at Leopardstown a month prior, who was beaten handily by Kemboy, The Storyteller and Delta Work in the Irish Gold Cup.

Jack Kennedy managed to give him a much better ride at Cheltenham however, tracking the leaders nicely before launching their attack four out and travelling beautifully up the straight to finish first past the post.

What followed was a lean 18 months for De Bromhead’s gelding, who failed to secure a win for the remainder of 2021 and all of 2022. The ten-year-old did manage to find himself back in the winner’s circle earlier this year however, taking home the spoils in the Grade 3 New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore.

As a result of his performance in Ireland, De Bromhead has entered Minella Indo into the Gold Cup once again in 2023. He is much wider in the betting lines compared to year’s past however, with him garnering a price of 20/1 with some operators – which is good for eighth favourite at the time of writing.

Al Boum Photo – 2020

With the opportunity to become the first horse to win back-to-back Gold Cups at Cheltenham since Best Mate in 2003, there was plenty of pressure on trainer Willie Mullins to etch himself even further into the jumps racing history books.

In what proved to be an absolute classic, Al Boum Photo and the Nicky Henderson-trained Santini battled it out over the final furlong in front of thousands of roaring fans at Prestbury Park. Al Boum Photo would ultimately hold on to reign supreme by a neck, needing every bit of his toughness and stamina down the stretch to secure Mullins with his second Gold Cup triumph.

The all-time great gelding would go on to win a couple more races at Tramore, before losing in the 2021 and 2022 Gold Cup renewals. Mullins then made the decision to retire Al Boum Photo in May of last year, referring to him as a “tremendous servant”.