In the years since Cheltenham Festival became a globally recognised horse racing spectacle in the early 1900s, it has produced several worthy winners. It is, after all, the culmination of horse racing and having been held in one of the world’s most celebrated racecourses for over 100 years, it has attracted some of the world’s most renowned horses and jockeys to its 350-acre raceway. To familiarise yourself with Cheltenham Festival’s most memorable winners from over the years, continue reading.
In a true testament to his name, Golden Miller, owned by Dorothy Paget, is one of the most memorable winners to have ever graced the famous racecourse at Cheltenham Festival. In the years between 1932 and 1936, for example, the gelding won the Gold Cup every single year and, to this day, remains the only competitor to have achieved such a feat. It was in 1934, however, that Golden Miller truly showcased his horse racing skills by winning both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National within the same year and setting yet another record in the process. In 1939, at the age of eleven, he retired with a total of 29 wins from 52 races under his belt.
It may be Golden Miller that remains on the top of everyone’s tongue when it comes to Cheltenham Festival’s most memorable winners but if we are talking about the Gold Cup, in particular, Arkle undoubtedly takes the lead. If it wasn’t his somewhat unconventional style of running that stole the headlines, for example, it was his ability to remain consistently brilliant by winning the Champion Hurdles three years in a row and, in doing so, eventually becoming the first equine millionaire. The most memorable winners simply can’t be celebrated without also celebrating some of the most memorable Cheltenham Festival trainers, however, with Tom Dreaper responsible for leading Arkle to victory time and time again. It may have been an injury that cut his award-winning career short but with the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Arkle Novice Chase named in his honour, his legacy continues to live on.
It may not necessarily sound like the most menacing of names but in 2002, 2003, and 2004, Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Catherine Knight, cemented himself as a true Cheltenham Festival legend by winning the Gold Cup three consecutive times with a triple threat that remains difficult to beat to this day. The gelding may not have had the opportunity to race for a fourth consecutive title as a result of his untimely death at the Exeter Racecourse in 2005 but with one of the most impressive racing resumes under his belt, he will always be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to the horse racing industry throughout the world.
It may still feel like the beginning of the year but with the 2022 Cheltenham Festival fast approaching, there is no time like the present to familiarise yourself with some of the event’s most memorable winners. This includes Golden Miller, Arkle, and Best Mate.