The course record for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in its current guise – that is, run over a distance of 3 mile 2½ furlongs on the New Course at Prestbury Park – stands at 6:29.70. The record was set by the 6-year-old Long Run, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen, who, in 2011, won a vintage renewal of the ‘Blue Riband’ event, which featured previous winners Kauto Star, Denman and Imperial Commander, among others.
Surprisingly, though, the current course record does not represent the fastest winning time ever in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The 1941 winner, Poet Prince, ridden by Roger Burford – deputising for owner David Sherbrooke, who had been badly shaken in a fall the previous day – and trained by Ivor Anthony, clocked a remarkable 6:15.60. However, his win not only came at a time when the Cheltenham Gold Cup was still run on the Old Course, which is less of a stamina test than the New Course, but over a distance of just 3 miles.
A decade later, favourite Silver Fame clocked a time of 6:23.40 when edging out Greenogue, by a short head, in the 1951 renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, that race was notable for the fact that it was postponed until late April because of inclement weather and, while it was run over an advertised distance of ‘3¼ miles’, was staged, once again, on the Old Course.