How many times did Jenny Pitman win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Jenny Pitman will always be remembered as the first woman to train the winner of the Grand National. However, the year winning the National, with Corbiere, in 1983, she also became the first woman to train the winner of the other premier steeplechase in Britain, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Her second landmark victory in as many years came courtesy of the hugely talented, but fragile, eight-year-old Burrough Hill Lad, ridden by Phil Tuck, who also would win the Hennessy Gold Cup and the King George VI Chase later in1984 . Seven years later, in 1991, ‘Mrs. P.’ won the Cheltenham Gold Cup again, with another eight-year-old, Garrison Savannah, ridden by her son, Mark, who prevailed by just a short head.

Less than a month later, Garrison Savannah was sent off 7/1 co-favourite for the Grand National, as he attempted to become the first horse since the legendary Golden Miller, in 1934, to win both races. He jumped the final fence with a healthy lead and, although weakening in the closing stages, eventually finished an honourable second, beaten 5 lengths.

Which are the biggest outsiders to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Unlike, say, the Grand National, which has been a handicap for most of its existence, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a conditions, or weight-for-age, steeplechase. Horses aged six years and upwards carry 11st 10lb, five-year-olds carry 11st 8lb and mares receive a 7lb allowance so, as might be expected, the ‘Blue Riband’ event of the British National Hunt calendar is rarely won by an outsider.

Far and away the biggest outsider to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup since it was first run, as a steeplechase, in 1924, was Norton’s Coin, who defied odds of 100/1 when defeating Toby Tobias and Desert Orchid by three-quarters of a length and four lengths in 1990. Owned and trained by Sirrell Griffiths, a dairy farmer and permit-holder based in Nantgaredig in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales, Norton’s Coin was described, justifiably, as the ‘Shock of the Century’ on the front page of the ‘Racing Post’ the following day.

Indeed, in the entire history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup no other horse has won at odds longer than 33/1; the two 33/1 winners were Gay Donald, trained by Jim Ford, in 1955 and L’Escargot, trained by Dan Moore, in 1970. Cool Ground, trained by Toby Balding, prevailed at odds of 25/1 in 1992, as Cool Dawn, trained by Robert Alner, in 1998, but the only other winners that could be classified as ‘outsiders’ were the 20/1 winners Mr. Mulligan in 1997 and Lord Windermere in 2014.

Has any horse won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season?

The Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National are the premier steeplechases in the British calendar and, as such, are highly sought after by jockeys, owners and trainers alike. The Cheltenham Gold Cup, part of the prestigious Cheltenham Festival ,was inaugurated, as a steeplechase, in 1924, 85 years after the first ‘official’ running of the Grand National at Aintree in 1839. However, in the time the races have co-existed – that is, the better part of a century – just one horse has won both in the same season.

That horse was, of course, was the legendary Golden Miller, owned by Dorothy Paget, trained by Basil Briscoe and ridden to both victories by Gerry Wilson, in 1934. Fresh from a bloodless, 6-length win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – the third of his five consecutive victories in what has since become known as the ‘Blue Riband’ of steeplechasing – Golden Miller won the Grand National by 5 lengths, under 12st 2lb, 17 days later. In so doing, he set a record time, 9 minutes and 20.04 seconds, which stood until beaten by the illustrious Red Rum in 1973.

Both races continue to enthrall  racing crowds year on year, and are steeped in history. Fans of the Cheltenham Festival not only get to enjoy the Gold Cup, but also other prestigious goup one races such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle and the  Stayers’ Hurdle. A Cheltenham win is top on the list for most trainers, jockeys and owner. Al Boum Photo won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in both 2019 and 2020. Who will win in 2021?

What were Ruby Walsh’s first and last winners at the Cheltenham Festival?

County Kildare-born Rupert ‘Ruby’ Walsh, who retired from race riding on May 1, 2019, just two weeks shy of his fortieth birthday, was one of the greatest National Hunt jockeys of all time. All told, in his 24-year riding career, Walsh rode 2,756 winners in Britain and Ireland, include a record 59 at the Cheltenham Festival, where he won the leading jockey award no fewer than 11 times.

Indeed, Walsh rode his first Cheltenham Festival winner, Alexander Banquet, trained by Willie Mullins, in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, as an 18-year-old amatuer, in 1998. Having turned professional later that year, Walsh went on to enjoy a remarkable career during which he would win each of the main ‘championship’ races at the Cheltenham Festival at least twice. Indeed, he won the Stayers’ Hurdle five times, the Champion Hurdle four times, the Queen Mother Champion Chase three times and the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice. His last Cheltenham Festival winner came courtesy of Klassical Dream, again trained by Willie Mullins, in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2019.

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