The Gold Cup – often referred to as the ‘Ascot Gold Cup’, to distinguish it from similarly-titled races, such as the Ayr Gold Cup or Cheltenham Gold Cup – is run over an advertised distance of 2 miles 4 furlongs as has been a fixture of the Royal Meeting at Ascot, traditionally staged in mid-June, since 1807. In its long, illustrious history, a total of 22 horses have won the Gold Cup at least twice, but the most successful of all, so far, was Yeats, who won four consecutive renewals between 2006 and 2009.
Yeats was trained by Aidan O’Brien and, perhaps not altogether surprisingly, the current ‘Master of Ballydoyle’ is the most successful trainer in the history of the Gold Cup. Since Yeats, whom O’Brien hailed as ‘an unbelievable horse’, the training legend has saddled three more winners of the Gold Cup, for a career total of seven.
In 2011, the 5-year-old Fame And Glory, ridden by Jamie Spencer, justified favouritism with a clear-cut, 3-length win over Opinion Poll. In 2014, the 4-year-old Leading Light, ridden by Joseph O’Brien, son of the trainer, did likewise, but only just prevailed in a driving finish. In 2016, another 4-year-old, Order Of St. George, ridden by Ryan Moore, was again sent off favourite and ran out an impressive, 3-length winner from Mizzou. Indeed, the same horse started favorite again in 2018 and went agonisingly close to winning again, losing out by a short head to Big Orange.