As the 162nd Cheltenham Festival is almost upon us, it’s a good time to take a nostalgic look back through some of the festival’s most famous past records and historical facts. We will get started with some interesting facts first.
Record: Most Successful Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival
Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey to ever ride a horse at the Cheltenham racecourse. Some of his records are not just ahead of everyone else at this time, but they will also remain beyond the reach of anyone for the coming decade.Walsh has won:
- The highest number of races ever at the Cheltenham Festival: 59 winners
- The highest number of Cheltenham Festival races in a single year: 7 (2009, 2017)
- Top Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival more times than anyone else: 11 (2004, 2006, 2008 to 11, 2013 to 17)
- Top Jockey at the festival for the highest number of times in a row (4x & 5x)
Record: The Most Successful Female Jockey at the Cheltenham Festival
Rachael Blackmore won Top Jockey last year (2021) at the Cheltenham Festivaland she did so from six wins in a single year. Given that she is the only female jockey to have ever won the Ruby Walsh (Top Jockey) Trophy at Cheltenham, she created a new record, as well as becoming the most successful female jockey seen so far at the festival.
If she can win again this year, Blackmore will create another new record by becoming the only female jockey to have won Top Jockey for two consecutive years. Stay updated with the daily Cheltenham festival results, odds, news updates and more to see if any new records are created at the 2022 Cheltenham Festivalas well.
Record: The Most Successful Racehorse to Race for the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Golden Miller was an Irish-borne, English trained thoroughbred racehorse who monopolised the Cheltenham Gold Cup by winning it in five consecutive years from1932 to 1936.
Cottage Rake(3x wins in 1948, 1949, 1950), Arkle (3x wins in 1964, 1965, 1966) and Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004)are the only three other racehorses to havewon the Cheltenham Gold Cup more than two times in a row. Each of them won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on three consecutive years, but no horse has yet come even close to touching Golden Miller’s record yet.
Fact: Cheltenham Festival had a Different Name
Originally known as the Grand National Hunt Meeting, it was a multivenue event until 1911. Messrs. Pratt and Company introduced several improvements to the Cheltenham Racecourse over the years until finally in 1911, Prestbury Park (now mostly occupied by the Cheltenham Racecourse) became the permanent home of what we now know as the Cheltenham Festival.
Fact: Cheltenham Gold Cup: A Flat Race?
It might surprise you to know that the Cheltenham Gold Cup is older than the Cheltenham Festival itself. 41years before even the first Grand National Hunt Meeting was held in 1860, the first Cheltenham Gold Cup race was being contested over three miles as a flat race on Cleeve Hill. Shocking as it may sound, the Cheltenham Gold Cup was a flat race for 104years before it was made a part of the National Hunt.
Fact: The Gold Cup was Not Always a Main Event at the Festival
Given how big the Cheltenham Gold Cup is today, it’s hard to believe that it was not even a featured event once. As a matter of fact, the Gold Cup began its humble journey as a jump race in 1924, ranking even below the Grade 3 County handicap Hurdle (£1,000 in 1924) in terms of prestige and prize money (£685). For several decades after the Gold Cup’s introduction to jump racing, the Cheltenham Festival’s featured race continued to be the National Hunt Challenge Cup.
Fact: There is a Flat Race on the Festival’s Schedule
Being the largest National Hunt event in the UK, newcomers might be surprised by the fact that the Cheltenham Festival actually features a Grade I flat race. Only established in 1992, the Champion Bumper (2-mile½ furlong) is the most prestigious of all flat races which are a part of the National Hunt season today. It’s the last race on Day 2 (Wednesday, 16th March) which will start at 5:30 pm.
Hopefully, we will see at least a few old records being broken at the Cheltenham this year. Keep your eyes on the calendar for the Cheltenham Festival races in between 15th – 18thMarch 2022.