The pinnacle of National Hunt racing is here and what better way to get excited for the Cheltenham Festival than to look back at some of its most memorable horses.
From Kauto Star to Arkle, there have been some horses of a lifetime winning across the Festival and we have taken a trip down memory lane to remember them.
The Paul Nicholls-trained fan-favourite became a hero of the Cheltenham Festival. Winning the Gold Cup on two separate occasions is what this French-bred superstar was most well-known for.
Kauto Star became one of the most successful steeple chasers, finishing with an incredible £3,775,883 in prize money.
He is synonymous with the Gold Cup, winning in 2007 and 2009. He became the first horse to regain the Gold Cup after a 2008 defeat by Denman. In the 2008/09 season, Kauto Star ended the season as the highest-rated chaser for the second time.
Arguably Cheltenham’s most legendary horse, Golden Miller was dominant throughout the 1930s where he won the Gold Cup five consecutive times between 1932-1936.
This is a record that no other horse has been able to beat since and shows just how good this horse was. He is also the only horse to win the Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year.
Cheltenham racecourse erected a statue of Golden Miller to forever remember his incredible achievements.
Arkle will forever go down as a Cheltenham legend. A true great in the sport, Arkle won the Gold Cup consecutively between 1964-66. This feat took nearly 50 years to replicate and is only topped by Golden Miller.
In the 1966 renewal of the race, Arkle was the shortest-priced favourite to ever run in the race, starting at 1/10. He was the highest-ever rated steeplechaser with a time form rating of 212. Other Cheltenham great, Kauto Star managed 191.
Arkle was the grandson of unbeaten flat horse Neacro and his sire was Achieve. With an impressive pedigree, Arkle was destined for greatness.
Similar to Golden Miller, Arkle had a statue erected at Cheltenham to celebrate his career.
In 2002, 2003 and 2004 Best Mate won the Gold Cup. This matched Arkle’s incredible achievement. Best Mate was then favourite for the race in 2005 but had to withdraw due to a burst blood vessel.
Best Mate was an incredible jumper – in a career spanning 22 races he never once fell at a fence or hurdle.
One of the most popular horses in the UK, Best Mate’s sudden death in late 2005 made front-page news and sent shockwaves through the racing community.
Already a legend, Altior has been decimating the competition for many seasons. He hasn’t gone off a price higher than Evens since 2016 and has made a habit out of winning at Cheltenham.
Altior has thrived at Cheltenham, winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase twice, the Arkle and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He looks to win the Champion Chase once again this time around.
Altior has had a controversial season thus far, coming second to Cyrname at Ascot and then being pulled out of the Silvianco Conti Chase by trainer Nicky Henderson.
Altior seems to be back to his best after his Newbury win last time out. Having already built legendary stature within the racing industry, we can’t wait to see what else his career brings.