Home News Cheltenham Gold Cup greats – Arkle and Best Mate

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The Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious races in the UK. It takes place in March every year and sees cheltenham-betting-offers.co.uk coming up with some of the most exciting offers for enthusiastic racing fans. With just a few short weeks to go, what better time to learn more about two of history’s Gold Cup greats?


It’s unlikely that the racing world will ever see another horse like Arkle. Almost everyone in the UK is familiar with his name having watched him pull off the near impossible feat of winning three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups.

When this legendary horse first entered Cheltenham’s most prestigious race in 1964, he was far from a favourite. His greatest rival, Mill House, who won the title the previous year, had defeated him in the Hennessy Gold Cup just months before, making the Fulke Walwyn-trained horse the favourite to win again at Cheltenham. However, Arkle showed his brilliance and easily outclassed Mill House to win by five lengths.

Once Arkle got going there was no stopping him. The next year he repeated the same feat and claimed the race once again. But the margin of victory this time was an extraordinary 20 lengths – no other racehorse could even come close.

In 1966, he shocked racing fans by winning the prestigious race for a record third time. He completely dominated the field and left no doubt about who would be the winner. By the time he reached the finish line, he’d established an unbelievable 30-length gap.

Best Mate

Winning three Gold Cups is a rare feat that very few horses have achieved. Golden Miller (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1936), Cottage Rake (1948, 1949 and 1950) and Arkle (1964, 1965 and 1966) have all won that distinction, but to repeat that feat in the modern age looked almost impossible. However, Best Mate defied expectations and, more than 40 years since it was last managed, he earned himself three Gold Cup titles in 2004.

Best Mate won the first race in 2002, when the favourite contender, Looks Like Trouble, finished thirteenth. The Henrietta Knight trained horse entered the next year’s competition as a favourite and claimed the race once again.

The 2004 Cheltenham Gold Cup proved to be the most challenging for Best Mate, as he aimed to match Arkle’s record. He started brilliantly and looked to be winning easily. However, he started losing his lead in the final stages of the contest with Harbour Pilot and Sir Rembrandt on his tail. It was a tense moment, but jockey Jim Culloty guided Best Mate to a third victory. This amazing horse competed in 22 races, winning 14 and coming second in seven of them.

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Horse&Rider Magazine May 2020

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