Has the Cheltenham Gold Cup ever produced a dead heat?
Since its inauguration, as a steeplechase, in 1924, 92 runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup have failed to produce a dead heat. That said, several horses have taken their place on the roll of honour by virtue of victories achieved by narrow margins. Indeed, the very first winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Red Splash, only scraped home by a head and a neck but, since then, the ‘Blue Riband’ event has produced five even more thrilling finishes.
In 1951, in the days before photo-finish cameras, the 12-year-old Silver Fame justified favouritism, but only just, when edging out Greenogue by a short head. Two decades later, in 1973, the boot was on the other foot, so to speak, when The Dikler caught the odds-on Pendil in the shadow of the winning post to give Fulke Walwyn his fourth and final Gold Cup winner by the same margin. Fast forward another two decades and The Fellow, trained in France by François Doumen, had the dubious distinction of being beaten a short head not once, but twice, in consecutive years. In 1991, he failed, narrowly, to overhaul Garrison Savannah and, in 1992, just came off worst in a protracted duel with Cool Ground.
Last, but by no means least, the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup produced a controversial finish, with the main protagonists veering right on the run-in and Davy Russell, jockey of the eventual, short-head winner, Lord Windermere, suspended for a day for careless riding. However, after a 15-minute inquiry, the stewards decided that the result should stand.