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Cheltenham December Gold Cup 2014
Thu, Dec 11th, 2014

The 2012 December Gold Cup (the old Massey Ferguson) will be run in 2014 as the The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.

Cheltenham December Gold Cup Sponsors

The race was introduced at Cheltenham in 1963, three years after the successful Mackeson Gold Cup (now the Paddy Power Gold Cup) which is held the previous month during the Cheltenham meeting which is now called The Open. Originally under the sponsorship of Massey Ferguson , the valuable and prestigious handicap chase had a number of backers before settling with the title, the Tripleprint Gold Cup, in 1992. In 2005, it was called the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup in remembrance of the former Foreign Secretary and great racing enthusiast, who passed a way in August of the same year. Irish bookmakers Boylesports sponsored the race bet ween 2006 and 2009. In 2010 the valuable handicap chase was run as the Vote A P Gold Cup, gi ving impetus to the successful campaign to crown multiple champion Jump jockey A P McCoy as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The Stewart Family sponsored the race between 2011 and 2013. It was run as the Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup in 2011, the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup in 2012 and the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup last year.

Cheltenham December Gold Cup History

The Irish took the first three runnings, thanks to the efforts of Limeking (1963), Flying Wild (1964) and Flyingbolt (1965). The Tom Dreaper-trained Flyingbolt was an exceptional horse. After winning the 1965 renewal by 15 lengths under top-weight of 12st 6lb, he went on to The Festival, where he captured the 1966 two-mile Champion Chase and followed up by running third to Salmon Spray in the Champion Hurdle the next day. Flyingbolt triumphed in the Irish Grand National the following month under the huge burden of 12st 7lb to earn comparisons to his illustrious stablemate, Arkle. Illness and injury thereafter prevented the chestnut gelding from showing his full potential.

Bob Turnell had two successes as a trainer, the fir st with The Laird in 1966, ridden by Jeff King. The Laird went on to finish runner-up in the 1968 Cheltenham Gold Cup. The handler’s second winner, Arctic Bow in 1972, was partnered by his son Andy Turnell and they easily beat Soloning by six lengths for owner Jim Joel. Fulke Walwyn, one of the greatest-ever Jump trainer s, captured the 1968 running with Tassilo, while th e admirable Titus Oates, trained by Gordon Richards a nd ridden by Ron Barry, defied 11st 13lb in 1969. Richards, who was based in Cumbria, also trained tw o other winners, Clever Folly (1989) and Addington Boy (1996). Leap Frog, from Dreaper’s stables, was another Iris h winner in 1971 off 12st 1lb, after earlier in tha t year running second to L’Escargot in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Fred Winter gained the first of his three wins in t he race as a trainer courtesy of the great Pendil i n 1973. His other training successes were with Observe in 1 982 and Fifty Dollars More the following season. Pendil won back-to-back King George VI Chases at Kempton Park in 1972 and 1973, and was just caught by The Dikler in the 1973 Cheltenham Gold Cup. He is the only winner of the race to have also won the other feature race at The International, the StanJames.com International Hurdle, which he did in 1970.

David Nicholson was responsible for sending out Another Coral to victory in the 1992 renewal. The nine - year-old received a marvellous ride from Richard Dunwoody to get the better of Second Schedual by five lengths. Norman Williamson was in the plate on Irish challenger Go Roger Go, trained by Edward O’Grady, who triumphed in a great finish in 2000, beating the Mary Reveley-trained Robbo by a neck. Mick Fitzgerald partnered the Nicky Henderson-trained Iris Royal to a head success over Risk Accessor in 2003 and the same partnership was successful in 2002 with Fondmort, who beat Foly Pleasant by six lengths. Fondmort became the seventh horse to win both the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, albeit in different seasons, when he was given another magnificent ride by Fitzgerald to land the first-named contest in 2003 by eight lengths from Poliantas.

Richard Johnson captured his second Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in 2004 when Monkerhostin capitalised on Our Vic’s last fence fall to stride home seven l engths clear of Thisthatandtother to give trainer P hilip Hobbs an initial success in the race. Johnson’s previous Caspian Caviar Gold Cup triumph came aboard Legal Right for trainer Jonjo O’Neill in 1999. The latest Irish-trained winner was Sir Oj in 2005, who came with a tremendous late run to prevail by a length from Le Passing for trainer Noel Meade and jockey Paul Carberry. Exotic Dancer in 2006 captured both the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, becoming the eighth and latest horse to complete the double. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding demonstrated tremendous improvement throughout the season, taking the Grade Two Argento Chase at Cheltenham in January and then finding only Kauto Star too strong in theCheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival.

Cheltenham December Gold Cup Trivia

Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006) are the three horses to have captured the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in the same season.

The biggest shock in the history of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup came in 2007 when Tamarinbleu put up a superb front-running performance to record a 22/1 success. Trained by David Pipe and ridden by Denis O’Regan, the gelding’s victory was certainly no fluke as he went on to win a Grade One chase at Ascot.

In 2009 and 2010, the contest went to Poquelin. The Paul Nicholls-trained chaser, owned by the then- sponsors the Stewart Family, prevailed by seven lengths under Ruby Walsh in 2009 and in 2010 was partnered by then five-pound claimer Ian Popham to see off Great Endeavour by a length and become the race’s first dual winner. T

he 2011 renewal was won in thrilling fashion by Quantitativeeasing, who stayed on dourly under Barry Geraghty to score by three quarters of a length over Medermit. The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding was gaining compensation after filling the runner-up sp ot in the Paddy Power Gold Cup the previous month. Paul Nicholls also celebrated a third victory in 2012 when French-bred Unioniste prevailed under his nephew, conditional jockey Harry Derham. Four-year- old Unioniste created history by becoming the youngest horse ever to win the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. Double Ross gave both trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his jockey son Sam their first success in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup when successful in 2013. The seven-year-old, a novice at the time, scored by two lengths from Cantlow and returned to Cheltenham on New Year’s day to land another Grade Three handicap chase over the same distance.

Unioniste became the first 4 year old to win the race giving Paul Nicholls is 3rd win th the last 4 renewals.

December Gold Cup Stats 2002-2013

  • Just one favourite has won since 1996
  • 23 of last 28 winners came from first 4 in the betting
  • 8 of the last 11 winners officially rated between 142 and 151
  • Paul Nicholls has trained 3 of the last 5 winners
  • Nicky Henderson has trained 3 of the last 12 winners
  • Since 1993 all bar one winner have been aged between 6 and 8
  • 17 of last 20 winners at least placed on their most recent start
  • Last 10 winners had previously won or been placed in a race at Cheltenham

December Gold Cup Winners 2002-2013

Year

Winner

Trainer

Age

Wgt

OR

Jockey

Odds

2013

Double Ross

N Twiston Davies

7

10-8

133

S Twiston- Davies

7-1

2012

Unioniste

Paul Nicholls

4

9-09

143

Harry Derham

15-2

2011

Quantitativeeasing (IRE)

N J Henderson

6

10-7

145

Barry Geraghty

6-1

2010

Poquelin (FR)

Paul Nicholls

7

11-7

163

Ian Popham

16-1

2009

Poquelin (FR)

Paul Nicholls

6

11-8

151

Ruby Walsh

7-2

2008

No race

2007

Tamarinbleu (FR)

David Pipe

7

11-8

150

Denis O'Regan

22-1

2006

Exotic Dancer (FR)

Jonjo O'Neill

6

11-4

149

Tony Dobbin

8-1

2005

Sir Oj (IRE)

Noel Meade

8

10-0

132

Paul Carberry

16-1

2004

Monkerhostin (FR)

Philip Hobbs

7

10-2

134

Richard Johnson

4-1

2003

Iris Royal (FR)

N J Henderson

7

10-13

142

Mick Fitzgerald

7-1

2002

Fondmort (FR)

N J Henderson

6

10-5

143

Mick Fitzgerald

5-1

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