Lots of people ask, what is the Gold Cup Horse Race? The answer is it is a Group 1 Race run over 2 miles 3 furlongs and 210 yards at Royal Ascot. This race is the true Gold Cup but is often referred to as the Ascot Gold Cup.
That is because there are also several other gold cups in horse racing. The second most famous gold cup in horse racing is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. This is also a grade 1 race, as are the Irish Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup. There is also the Bet365 Gold Cup and the Ayr Gold Cup which, by being handicaps, some would argue dilutes the idea that the gold cup is the most prestigious race to win in horse racing.
What Is The Ascot Gold Cup?
The Gold Cup is now traditionally run on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot and was established in 1807. It is currently open to horses aged four and older and is regarded as the most prestigious race to win for staying horses on the flat.
The Gold Cup is also the first-leg of the Stayers’ Triple Crown, with the winner needing to go on to win the Goodwood Cup at Glorious Goodwood and the Doncaster Cup at the St Leger Meeting to become a Triple Crown winner.
The first winner of the Gold Cup was Master Jackey. Yeats is the winning most horses with four wins in consecutive years between 2006 and 2009. Those wins by Yeats contribute four of the seven wins registered by leading Gold Cup trainer Aidan O’Brien. All of O’Brien’s winners were also achieved in the colours of leading Gold Cup owner Sue Magnier.
Despite claiming his last Gold Cup victory in 1982, Lester Piggott remains the leading Gold Cup jockey with 11 wins. Piggot’s victories came aboard Zarathustra, Gladness, Pandofell, Twilight Alley, Fighting Charlie, Sagaro (three), and Le Moss, Ardross (two).
What Is The Cheltenham Gold Cup?
If you ask National Hunt fans what is the gold cup horse race, most will say the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Jump racing’s blue riband event takes place over 3 miles 2½ furlongs on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival and is the race that most national hunt owners would dearly love to win.
Despite being a jumps race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup was originally a flat race that took place over 3-miles. It was established in 1819, 12 years later than the Gold Cup at Ascot. The first winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was a horse called Spectre.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the Cheltenham Gold Cup became a jumps race, with Red Splash being the first winner over fences. Horses that have been immortalized by the Cheltenham Gold Cup are five-time winner Golden Miller, as well as three-time winners Cottage Rake, Arkle, and Best Mate. Kauto Star also became a Gold Cup legend by becoming the first horse to regain his title when winning the 2009 edition.
What Is The Irish Gold Cup?
The popularity of the Cheltenham Gold Cup inspired other big national hunt racing festivals to create their own gold cups. If you ask an Irish racing fan what is the gold cup horse race, many may say the Irish Gold Cup that is run at Leopardstown as part of the Dublin Racing Festival in February.
The Irish Gold was created in 1987, with Forgive ‘n’ Forget winning the inaugural running. Run over 3-miles, the race quickly established itself as a great race in its own right, as well as being a potential stepping-stone to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which comes just under six weeks later. Three horses have managed to complete this prestigious double, Jodami, Imperial Call, and Sizing John.
Several horses have also managed to win more than one Irish Gold Cup, Nick The Brief (2), Jodami (3), Florida Pearl (4), Beef Or Salmon (2), and Carlingford Lough (2).
The Punchestown Gold Cup
The success of the Irish Gold Cup lead to the creation of the Punchestown Gold Cup in 1999. It is run at the Punchestown Festival and the finish is often fought out by horses that have run in either the Cheltenham Gold Cup or the Irish Gold Cup or both.
The Punchestown Gold Cup is run over 3 miles and ½ a furlong and Imperial Call won the first edition. High-profile winners since then have included Florida Pearl, Beef Or Salmon, Kicking King, War Of Attrition, Don Cossack, Carlingford Lough, and Sizing John.
Neptune Collonges is the only horse to win more than one Punchestown Gold Cup, while Sizing John is the only horse to have won the Irish Gold Cup, Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Punchestown Gold Cup in the same season.
The Bet365 Gold Cup
The Bet365 Gold Cup traditionally takes place on the final day of the national hunt season at Sandown and, though it offers a decent prize to the winner, it does not carry the prestige of the other national hunt gold cups. That’s because it is a handicap, meaning the horses carry different weights.
The race takes place over 3 miles 4 furlongs and 166 yards and legends such as Arkle and Mill House both carried huge weights to victory in the 1960s. Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Desert Orchid and Grand National winner Mr. Frisk have also claimed it. However, it is more often won by an unexposed handicapper than horses of Cheltenham Gold Cup class.
The Ayr Gold Cup
If you asked horse racing fans in Scotland what is the gold cup horse race, some would say the Ayr Gold. Some may say it with a twinkle in their eyes, as this race is only a handicap. However, it’s worth noting that the race was created three years before the Gold Cup at Ascot.
The Ayr Gold Cup also remains the top race of the flat season at Ayr and is often contested by horses that are group or listed race class. The irony of the Ayr Gold Cup is that it is run over six furlongs, whereas the Gold Cup at Ascot is run over more than three times as far.
We hope that’s answered your question, what is the gold cup horse race?