Of course, the most successful horse in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was the indomitable Golden Miller, owned by the equally indomitable Dorothy Paget, who won the ‘Blue Riband’ event five years running between 1932 and 1936. However, since World War II, three horses have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times.
The first of them was Cottage Rake, trained by Vincent O’Brien, who completed a hat-trick in 1948, 1949 and 1950. He was ridden on all three occasions by Aubrey Brabazon, who also won the Champion Hurdle twice, in 1949 and 1950, on Hatton’s Grace for the same trainer. Collectively, their successes increased the appeal of the Cheltenham Festival to an Irish audience.
So, too, did the three victories of Arkle, trained by Tom Dreaper, in 1964, 1965 and 1966. On the first occasion, he dethroned Mill House, previously considered the best steeplechaser since Golden Miller, winning easily by 5 lengths. On the second, he beat the same horse by 20 lengths and, on the third, cantered to a 30-length victory over Dormant, at odds of 1/10, to confirm his position as arguably the greatest steeplechaser of all time.
Since Arkle, just one horse, Best Mate, has completed a hat-trick in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He did so in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and was ridden on each occasion by Jim Culloty, who also won the race as a trainer with Lord Windermere in 2014.