One of the biggest festivals on the calendar is underway as Cheltenham has begun its four-day event. Thousands are expected to attend whilst millions is expected to be placed on the races themselves.
The biggest race of the event, the Gold Cup, takes place on the final day, Friday, with the best horses and jockeys all competition for the rich prize.
Here’s a look at some fascinating facts of the race from over the year:
1/10 – In 1966, Arkle was perceived be so superior that the rest of the field he had a starting price of 1/10. He remains the shortest-priced winner in history.
4 – Pat Taaffe rode four winners in five years – Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966) and Fort Leney (1968) – no other jockey has won as many Gold Cups.
5 – Tom Dreaper is the leading trainer having produced five victories more than 20 years apart – Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966) and Fort Leney (1968).
6 – Golden Miller is the most successful horse in Gold Cup history having won the race a staggering six times – in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1936.
7 – Dorothy Paget has been the luckiest owner, having seen seven winners from her stable – Golden Miller (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936), Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952).
8 – Eight of the last 14 pre-race favourites have gone on to win the Gold Cup. Cue Card is currently the narrow favourite with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.
11 – Cue Card is looking to become the oldest horse to win the Gold Cup since 1962. The 11-year-old fell in this race last year when bidding to win a £1,000,000 bonus after winning the previous two races of jump racing’s Triple Crown. Cue Card currently has the shortest Cheltenham betting odds heading into Friday’s race.
1924 – The first Cheltenham Gold Cup took place in 1924 with 5/1 Red Splash becoming the inaugural champion.
1983 – In 1883, trainer Michael Dickinson was responsible for all of the first five horses to finish – Bregawn, Captain John, Wayward Lad, Silver Buck and Ashley House.
2016 – Last year’s winner Don Cossack is now retired through injury and will therefore not be attempting to defend its title this year.
Some more interesting facts, stats and information can be found in the graphic below: