How many times did Yeats win the Gold Cup at Ascot?
Run over 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 210 yards and, nowadays, open to horses aged four years and upwards, the Gold Cup was inuagurated in 1807 and, when the European Pattern Race system was introduced 1971, was the one and only Group One race staged during Royal Ascot. Prior to 2008, just one horse, Sagaro, trained by François Boutin in Lamorlaye, near Chantilly, had won the Gold Cup three times. However, on June 19 that year, Yeats, trained by Aidan O’Brien, was sent off 11/8 favourite to become the second horse to complete a hat-trick in what is the longest Group One race in the world and duly obliged, drawing clear in the closing stages to beat Geordieland by 5 lengths.
Not only that, but the following year, as an eight-year-old, Yeats returned to Royal Ascot to attempt an unprecedented fourth win in the Gold Cup. Sent off 6/4 favourite, ahead of Geordieland and Paktai, who had finished first and second in the Group Two Henry II Stakes at Sandown the previous month, Yeats never gave his supporters an anxious moment; having taken a commanding lead inside the final quarter-of-a-mile, Yeats galloped on resolutely to beat Paktai by 3½ lengths with his old rival Geordieland 15 lengths further back in third place. Yeats was retired from racing the following October as was subsequently described by Timeform as ‘a giant who will be virtually impossible to replace on the track’.