Paddy Power Gold Cup

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The two-and-a-half-mile Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham is one of the first big handicap chases of the National Hunt season.

The race was formerly known as the Mackeson Gold Cup and takes place in mid-November.

Notable past winners include Gay Trip (1969, 1971), Cyfor Malta (1998, 2002), Exotic Dancer (2006) and Imperial Commander (2008).

Find out more about the Paddy Power Gold Cup:


Paddy Power Gold Cup

Race Overview – The Paddy Power Gold Cup

Horses must be four years old or older to compete in the Grade 3 National Hunt, the Paddy Power Gold Cup in Great Britain.

There are sixteen fences to jump during the race, which is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of around 2 miles and 4 and a half furlongs (2 miles 4 furlongs and 44 yards, or 4,064 metres).

It takes place in the middle of November every year.

Famous Paddy Power Gold Cup Winners

There have been five dual winners of the Paddy Power Gold Cup. The first was Fortia in 1960 and 1962, trained in Ireland by Tom Dreaper and ridden by Pat Taaffe. The second was Gay Trip in 1969 and 1971. He won the Aintree Grand National in 1970, defying top weight of 11st 5lbs. Only Red Rum has managed to win with top weight in the National since. Gay Trip was also runner-up to Well To Do in the 1972 Grand National.

Half Free (1984, 1985), Bradbury Star (1993, 1994) and Cyfor Malta (1998, 2002) were the most recent dual winners.

Cyfor Malta’s second victory was notable for being four years’ after winning it for the first time at the age of five.

2006 winner Exotic Dancer also won the December Gold Cup and the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in the same season. He finished runner-up in both the King George VI Chase at Kempton and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was denied by Kauto Star on both occasions. His other victories included the Lexus Chase (2008) and the Cotswold Chase (2007).

The 2008 winner Imperial Commander did manage to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2010. He defeated the Paul Nicholls-trained duo of Kauto Star and Denman. He had won the Ryanair Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival the previous season and successfully stepped up in distance. Unfortunately he was plagued by injury for the remainder of his career and was retired after being pulled up in the 2013 Grand National.

Al Ferof was another high-class winner in 2012. The grey was top class over hurdles, winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2011 for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh. His other victories over fences included the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, the 1965 Chase and the Peterborough Chase.

Key Paddy Power Gold Cup Trials

It is difficult to isolate a particularly influential trial for the Paddy Power Gold Cup. However, this race has a big influence on the outcome of the December Gold Cup over course and distance. Seven of the last twelve winners of that race ran in the Paddy Power, although all eight winners who ran in that race next time were beaten. It is certainly a race worth watching closely for horses unlucky in running.

The Cheltenham Festival targets for Paddy Power winners are the Festival Plate and the Ryanair Chase. Eight of the last twelve winners ran in one or other of those races but all were beaten.

The Irish-trained Tranquil Sea landed a gamble in 2009 but the last thirteen Paddy Power Gold Cup favourites have all been beaten.

The average winning SP over that period has been around 12-1 with long-priced winners including Splash Of Ginge (2017) at 25-1, Little Josh (2010) at 20-1 and Happy Diva (2019) at 14-1.

The age of the winner has varied between five to nine years while eleven of the last twelve winners had all raced at Cheltenham at least twice previously.

It is difficult to establish a favoured weight range with winners carrying between 10st 2lbs (Johns Spirit) and 11st 11lbs (Taquin Du Seuil).

Only one of the last twelve winners managed to win on their most recent start.

Class is often a factor in this race with seven of those twelve having at least one previous win at Grade 1 to 3 level.

Official ratings of the winners also provide few clues with a range of 134 (Splash Of Ginge) to 160 (Al Ferof).

Paddy Power Gold Cup – Top Trainers and Jockeys

The leading Trainer in the history of the Paddy Power Gold Cup is Martin Pipe with eight victories; Beau Ranger (1987), Challenger Du Luc (1996), Cyfor Malta (1998, 2002), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001), Celestial Gold (2004) and Our Vic (2005).

Fred Rimell won the race for four successive years from 1968 to 1971, including twice with 1970 Aintree Grand National winner Gay Trip.

In more recent times, Jonjo O’Neill and Nigel Twiston-Davies have trained three and four winners respectively. O’Neill won with Exotic Dancer (2006), Johns Spirit (2013) and Taquin Du Seuil (2016). Nigel Twiston-Davies won with Tipping Tim (1992), Imperial Commander (2008), Little Josh (2010) and Splash Of Ginge (2017).

The leading jockey in the history of the race is Tony McCoy who won it four times; Cyfor Malta (1998), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001) and Exotic Dancer (2006).

Betting on the Paddy Power Gold Cup

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is regarded by many as the first big handicap chase of the National Hunt season. It has a rich history of producing high-class winners and always has a big influence on the outcome of the December Gold Cup the following month.

A difficult puzzle for punters to solve but always very competitive with plenty of each-way betting opportunities.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Facts

  • The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase race held annually in November at Cheltenham Racecourse in England.
  • The race was first run in 1960 and was originally called the Cheltenham Gold Cup Trial.
  • The race is open to horses aged five years and over and is run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs.
  • The race is sponsored by Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker and online gambling company.
  • The purse for the race is £150,000, making it one of the most valuable races in the National Hunt calendar.
  • The race is a major trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is run in March of the following year.

Popular Questions

When is the Paddy Power Gold Cup?

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is taking place on Saturday 18th November at 2:15 pm.

The 14:15 race is being held on the Old Course at Newmarket.

What are important facts about Paddy Power Gold Cup?

Here are some important facts about Paddy Power Gold Cup:

  • The Paddy Power Gold Cup is run at Cheltenham Racecourse, Great Britain
  • The Paddy Power Gold Cup is for horses aged 4 and older
  • The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a National hunt chase in Great Britain
  • The Paddy Power Gold Cup distance is 2 miles and 4½ furlongs

Summary of the Paddy Power Gold Cup

Thank you for reading our Paddy Power Gold Cup guide.

It is one of the most competitive handicap chases of the season, with large fields and good prize money. Runners from the race tend to go on and perform well in races later in the season.

If you enjoy watching races at Cheltenham then make sure to check out our guide for Cheltenham tips.

Check out more November horse races in our guide.

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