Tag Archives: Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Longest Horse Races in the UK

Grand National. (2024, January 18). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_National

Jumps season is now in full swing with some of the most significant dates in the National Hunt calendar just around the corner. Horse racing fans will soon be piling into racecourses around the country in the early months of 2024 as they watch jockeys and trainers test their mettle in some fierce conditions. UK horse racing fans have fallen in love with the National Hunt format over the years; some of the country’s most iconic and well attended races are National Hunts and have made the careers of several legendary jockeys and trainers. They are some of the most challenging races out there on the calendar given the arduous obstacles and taxing length and the UK boasts some of the best National Hunt tracks in the world. Here’s our look at some of the longest races the UK has to offer.

Grand National

Aintree hosts the world’s most famous National Hunt race every April when racing fans flock from the world to watch the Grand National. The iconic race originated in 1839 and is by far the longest race on this list at four miles, two and a half furlongs long. The event routinely sees record TV viewership and well over 70,000 fans come to Liverpool each year. Its popularity is largely down to the treacherous nature of the track as well as the massive number of entrants with 40 horses competing for the honour of winning the National. As if getting the better of 39 other runners wasn’t difficult enough, its iconic fences have ended the hopes and dreams of many a top jockey over the years. The ominous five foot high Becher’s Brook, Valentine’s and The Chair have all helped establish the Grand National as one of the most fearsome and prestigious races on the circuit. It’s considered a bucket list attraction for any racing fan worth their salt and 2024’s meet promises to be another enthralling affair. Corach Rambler is currently the frontrunner at 14/1 followed by Fastorslow but with the meet still several months away, it’s hard to say with any certainty whether the early favourites will make good on their billing. The CopyBet sign up offer will give you more to bet on these races.

Scottish Grand National

Sharing the same name as the iconic meet in Merseyside is the Scottish edition of the Grand National, the most prestigious race on the calendar north of the border. The racecourse in Ayr is known to be a slightly tamer edition of the National than the one Aintree serves up but there remains a large field to contend with as 30 runners compete each year. The 27 fences are not as taxing for the jockeys to navigate but by dint of taking place in Scotland in the early stages of Spring, the erratic weather can serve up some treacherous conditions to navigate often making it a thoroughly exciting and unpredictable contest. At four miles long it is the longest race in Scotland and comfortably one of the longest in the UK. 2024 will mark the 50 year anniversary of Red Rum’s victory at both Aintree and Ayr and hopes will be high amongst racing fans that this year’s edition can serve up another historic landmark for the sport.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Widely considered to be the best National Hunt race in the UK, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a staple of the country’s most popular horse racing event of the year in the Cheltenham Festival. The best and brightest names of the Jumps season arrive in Gloucestershire to tackle the 22 fences over a distance of three miles, two and a half furlongs. The tough downhill fences have been known to trip up plenty of riders and while the course length isn’t the longest on this list, the pressure of competing in front of 68,000 roaring fans in March has seen many of horse racing’s biggest names buckle under the pressure. It may not be the most difficult test out there for jockeys and trainers but it certainly is the most famous and the one that everyone who competes dreams of winning.

Eider Chase

Newcastle isn’t exactly renowned for its racing scene but that doesn’t mean the racecourse can’t serve up some of the most exciting meets the UK has to offer; case and point is the Eider Chase at the Newcastle racecourse. This meet takes place in February each year and features 26 fences over a distance of four miles, half a furlong with many considering it a precursor/trial to the Grand National. With a similar length and number of fences, it offers up a good indication of where the field is at coming into the famous Aintree race given the short turnaround before April and similarities between the tracks. It was first introduced in 1952 and given its significance in the buildup to the Merseyside meet, it will likely be a staple of the National Hunt schedule for years to come.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Image: Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, on display at BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2008 – winning jockey, Sam Thomas, rider of Denman, 2008.

The Cheltenham festival usually consists of 28 races, but of them all, the one to look forward to the most is the Gold Cup which takes place on the last day of the events. The Gold Cup is usually a test of character and strength for not just the runners but the riders as well. During the Gold Cup, the horses have to navigate through 22 different jumps and run a distance of 3 ¼ miles.

This year’s Gold Cup race will take place on the 15th of March and will start at 1:30pm. However, the main and the most interesting race of the Gold Cup day will take place at 3.30pm and is called the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase. Check out this link if you are looking for horse racing tips for today and tomorrow and every day after that as the Cheltenham offers so much money for not just trainers and riders, but for punters as well.

Might Bite was the favourite for last year’s Gold Cup, but Native River pulled off a surprise to win with Might Bite coming second. Third, fourth, and fifth positions were occupied by Anibale fly, Road to Respect, and Djakadam, respectively.

Native River will be hoping to defend its title, but just as last year is not the favourite for the title. This year’s favourite is Presenting Percy who won 2018’s RSA Chase. Another runner punters will keep an eye on is Kemboy, who has done incredibly well so far this season. He is some bookmakers’ favourite for the Gold Cup as well. Also worth keeping an eye on for the Gold Cup is Clan Des Obeaux who recently won the King George VI Chase.

Prize money

Native River went home with £369,821 for winning the Gold Cup last year. This year will see over £600,000 on offer.

The odds

Skybet has rated defending Native River at 7/2 to win the Gold Cup, same as Unibet, Paddypower, and a host of other bookmakers. Although Native River is the defending champion, most bookmakers have it rated as third favourite. The second favourite is Clan Des Obeaux, who is available at 9/2 via Bet365, Ladbrokes, and Williamhills.

2018’s RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy is rated higher than Native River and is favourite for the Gold Cup, but most bookmakers have him at 7/2 to win, which appears like the bookmakers think it will be: a strong contest between the three horses.

Minella Rocco Promoted to Grand National Favouritism after Finishing Second in Gold Cup

The only horse to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season is Golden Miller way back in 1934. But many have won the Aintree spectacular after running in the Cheltenham showpiece, the most recent being the ill-fated Many Clouds who finished sixth behind Coneygree in the 2015 Gold Cup before beating Saint Are by a length and three quarters at Aintree just under a month later.

The 2017 Randox Health Grand National is likely to feature several leading candidates who ran with great credit in the championship contest at Prestbury Park, namely the runner-up to Sizing John – Minella Rocco – and the Paul Nicholls-trained Saphir Du Rheu who was bang in contention for most of the race until the closing stages, eventually coming home in a respectable fifth place, beaten just over six lengths. One position further back was Minella Rocco’s stablemate More Of That who could also take his chance in the Aintree marathon, giving owner of both JP McManus the chance of a second National following Don’t Push It (ridden by the legend that is AP McCoy) in 2010.

The new 10-1 favourite with most bookmakers, on the Grand National free bets 2017, Minella Rocco will have to defy the record books if he is to prove victorious in three weeks’ time as no seven-year-old has won the great race since Bogskar in 1940. The son of Shirocco will not be found wanting on the stamina front however as his length and a quarter victory over the high-class Native River in the four mile National Hunt Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival will testify. Having failed to complete the course in two of his four starts this season, however, negotiating those formidable Grand National fences may turn out to be more of an issue for the horse who, despite set to carry 11st 6lb, could be well handicapped.

Also likely to receive a hike in the ratings is Saphir Du Rheu who will be receiving 2lb from Minella Rocco and will attempt to emulate Bindaree (2002) and Many Clouds (2015) as the third eight-year-old to win the race this century. After taking a Grade 1 over the Mildmay fences at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in 2015, the Al Namix gelding was seen as a potential Gold Cup winner, but, only six then, the grey (always popular with once-a-year players) may be about to fulfil that potential with more experience under his belt and at the 25-1 available with several bookmakers is sure to prove popular with punters come the day of the race.

More Of That took the scalp of the great Annie Power in the 2014 Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham but has not carried that form on over the bigger obstacles. Too soon to write off just yet, it would be no surprise to see this classy contender play a leading role if taking to the race, making the 25-1 on offer with Coral and Ladbrokes a tempting proposition.

Cheltenham Gold Cup, England

March 16th 2013 – Quarter of a million racing enthusiasts descended on Cheltenham last week, Britain’s premier jumping racecourse, for the four day Annual Festival, the pinnacle of the National Hunt racing season. Irish trainers launched their usual formidable challenge with 599 Irish trained entries and finished marginally ahead of Great Britain, winning 14 of the 27 races.

Festival week culminated in the much coveted Gold Cup, bringing together the ‘best of the best’ in a bid to win a slice of £550,000 prize money. Popular Irish jockey Barry Geraghty rode eight year old ‘Bobs Worth’, the 11/4 favourite to a gutsy seven length victory. In a bizarre sequence of events Barry bought the horse as a yearling for 16,500 Euros and owned him for two and a half years before selling him to his current trainer, Nicky Henderson. No one has ever bought, sold and then ridden the same horse to victory in The Gold Cup before.

Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen made the running on the 2011 winner ‘Long Run’ (also trained by Henderson) over 22 fences, pushing stamina to the limits on the taxing 3m 2f trip. Champion jockey AP McCoy chased in hot pursuit on ‘Sir Des Champs’, eventually finishing second before ‘Bobs Worth’ drew clear on the uphill run in. The win gave Lambourn based trainer, Nicky Henderson, two reasons to celebrate, this being his 50th Festival win in a training career spanning 35 years.

On a day of highly charged emotions, Barry Geraghty dedicated his victory to amateur jockey and friend, J. T. McNamara, who was critically injured in a fall earlier in the week.

By Lynn Lawson

Cheltenham Gold Cup, England, by Lynn Lawson

March 16th, 2012 – The Cheltenham Gold Cup was the climax of another spectacular week of National Hunt racing at this annual festival in the picturesque Cotswolds. Run over a distance of 3 miles 2 furlongs in a natural amphitheatre of rolling hills, this coveted race has a prize fund of £284,750. The two most fancied contenders were dual Gold Cup winner (2007, 2009) Kauto Star, the most popular horse in the country, and last year’s winner Long Run. In front of a 65,000 crowd, Long Run started favourite in a bid to retain his crown. Early on it became apparent to jockey Ruby Walsh that Kauto Star was not running well – a fall during training in the run up to the festival had previously poured doubt on his participation. He was pulled up and it is likely that this 12 year old superstar will now have a well-earned retirement after 7 successive festival appearances and winning earnings of over £2 million. Long Run failed to produce the sparkle of last year and turning for home with the long haul up the hill towards the finish, met the last fence in unison with Synchronised and The Giant Bolster. A battle of tenacity and stamina ensued. Former Welsh National hero Synchronised emerged the stronger of the trio to give 16 times Champion jockey A P McCoy his second victory in this prestigious race. Owned and bred by legendary Irishman J P McManus, Synchronised, who is small in stature compared to many, put up a gutsy performance for popular local trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

Continue reading Cheltenham Gold Cup, England, by Lynn Lawson


LONG RUN became the youngest horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for nearly 50 years in a truly enthralling race. The showpiece of the festival lived up to its name when the Nicky Henderson trained horse powered to a seven length victory ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen. Kauto Star and Denman, the previous Gold Cup winners ( 2007, 2008, 2009 ) trained by Paul Nicholls, put up an immensely brave challenge together with last year’s victor, Imperial Commander but eventually bowed down to the strength of the young contender. The 6 year old French bred gelding, owned by the father of the jockey went off as 7-2 favourite giving his Berkshire based trainer the elusive victory that he has sought for 33 years.

Denman ran a terrific race in defeat to finish runner up for the second year and stable mate Kauto Star held on to third place. Thirteen horses went to post for the 3m 2½ furlong Steeple Chase which was first run in 1924 and now boasts £500,000 in prize money.

Cheltenham Gold Cup, England


The Cheltenham Gold Cup produced more drama to end a week in which only 3 clear favourites won, producing a succession of unexpected results. Crowds reached an all time high but Britain’s bookies were last night celebrating their 45-million-pound windfall after the odds-on favourite, Kauto Star and his stable companion rival, Denman, failed to win this coveted prize.

Kauto Star was bidding for a third Gold Cup victory and a second in a row but the Paul Nicholls trained 10-year-old had a crashing fall four fences from home after making a blunder early on. Denman, who won in 2008, took up the running and a battle ensued but even with champion jockey Tony McCoy on board, they couldn’t hold off an impressive challenge by younger rival, Imperial Commander (7/1). Locally trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, this handsome son of Flemensfirth (USA) surged clear to win by seven lengths, giving trainer and jockey Paddy Brennan their first Gold Cup victories. Mon Mome who won the 2009 Grand National finished third.

A cheer of relief erupted from the crowd as Kauto Star returned unscathed. He will now have a well earned rest until next season. Mon Mome will now head to Aintree to attempt to become the first dual Grand national winner since Red Rum and Denman will likely have the Grand National as his principal target next season.

Despite his disappointment on Kauto Star, Ruby Walsh was leading jockey at the festival for the fifth time. Nicky Henderson won the top trainer award.

LYNN LAWSON      March 19th, 2010

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Cheltenham National Hunt Festival, England


Mild sunny weather welcomed the return of enthusiastic crowds to Prestbury Park with the promise of 4 days of top quality National Hunt racing and the pinnacle of the racing year – the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The first day of the Cheltenham festival hit punters pockets hard with surprise results when 5 favourites failed to win. Champion jockey Tony McCoy’s joy was evident when winning the feature race, the Champion Hurdle, on Binocular. Up until last week it was unclear if the Nicky Henderson trained gelding would run because of recent injury. This French bred six year old, who finished 3rd in 2009, was always travelling sweetly and took command between the last two hurdles to win comfortably giving his popular Irish owner, J. P. McManus, his 22nd festival success.

CheltenhamP3160013But much of the festival focus remains on Friday’s eagerly anticipated Gold Cup which will see a clash for the 3rd time of super equine heroes, Kauto Star and Denman. The Paul Nicholls trained duo have captured the hearts of the nation and Kauto Star’s bid to win this three and a quarter mile chase would secure a place in the history books with former champions Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller and Cottage Rake.

By LYNN LAWSON    16th March ‘10

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