Cheltenham Festival Special: Six of the Best Golden Moments; Tom Peacock Looks Back at the Best Gold Cups in the History of the Festival

The Birmingham Post (England), March 18, 2005 | Go to article overview

Cheltenham Festival Special: Six of the Best Golden Moments; Tom Peacock Looks Back at the Best Gold Cups in the History of the Festival


Byline: Tom Peacock

ARKLE

1964

Near-hysteria surrounded the Gold Cup of 1964, with the clash of two of the greatest chasers in history, Arkle and Mill House.

Four runners went to post, but only two mattered, and although both horses where Irish-bred and ridden, it was a classic England versus Ireland tussle.

Mill House had been brought across the Irish Sea to Fulke Walwyn's stable, while Arkle remained in the Emerald Isle with Tom Dreaper.

`The big horse', as Mill House was known, had won the previous year's event and had beaten Arkle in that season's Hennessy Gold Cup, although jockey Pat Taaffe reported that his horse had slipped three from home and claimed Mill House would never beat him again.

Up to the hour of the race, everyone had an opinion about who would win.

Snow threatened to ruin the big day, but it cleared in time as Willie Robinson made all the running until Arkle began to close running down the final hill.

Battle was joined at the second-last, but Robinson had to go for his whip first, and Arkle started to forge ahead before taking the last in front and bounding away up the hill to land the spoils by five lengths. A legend was born in that moment

BREGAWN

1983

Michael Dickinson was just 33 at the time, but boasted an incredibly strong team of chasers, and completed the remarkable triumph of saddling the first five horses home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

It was Bregawn who took the lion's share of the

prize-money, making all the running under Graham Bradley and gaining compensation for finishing second the previous year.

Five lengths behind was David Goulding aboard Captain John, with multiple King George winner Wayward Lad taking third spot.

The previous year's winner Silver Buck finished fourth, with even the fading Ashley House welcomed into the winner's enclosure as a champion when he managed to hold on to fifth.

The following year Dickinson decided to switch to training on the Flat andsubsequently moved to America, but his quite astonishing feat has secured his place in jump racing's history books forever

DAWN RUN

1986

Dawn Run was an incredibly brave character and was the star of one of the most emotional moments in racing in recent memory, becoming part of Irish folklore in the process. Having won the 1984 Champion Hurdle, and having also taken the Irish and French versions, her

attentions were switched to chasing by Paddy Mullins.

Four horses were still in contention at the second-last at Cheltenham, but the eightyear-old looked beaten as her rivals gathered for the final thrust up the hill. Yet somehow the mare rallied under Jonjo O'Neill to get back in front close home.

The bookmakers were hammered into the ground as she was backed into 15-8, and the cheers almost echo around Cleeve Hill to this day. Dawn Run remains the only horse to have won both Cheltenham's main feature races

DESERT ORCHID

1989

There are very few horses in the history of racing that have excited the public like Desert Orchid. …

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