How many times did Fred Winter win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?
The late Frederick ‘Fred’ Winter, who died in April, 2004, aged 77, was a force majeure in British National Hunt racing for over three decades, first as a jockey and latterly as a trainer. As a jockey, he rode a then-record 923 winners and won the National Hunt Jockeys’ Championship four times, in 1952/53 and 1955/56 to 1957/58 inclusive. As a trainer, he saddled 1,557 winners and won the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship eight times, in 1970/71 to 1974/75 inclusive, 1976/77, 1977/78 and 1984/85.
As far as the Cheltenham Gold Cup is concerned, Winter also has the distinction of being one of just four men – the others being Danny Morgan, Pat Taaffe and Jim Culloty – to win the ‘Blue Riband’ event as a jockey and a trainer. Indeed, as a jockey, Winter won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice in as many years. His first success came on Saffron Tartan, trained by Don Butchers at Priam Lodge, Epsom, in 1961 and was quickly followed by his second, Mandarin, trained by the legendary Fulke Walwyn at Saxon House, Lambourn, in 1962.
Winter retired from race riding in 1964 and took to training at Uplands, which would become one of the most famous racing stables in Upper Lambourn, Berkshire. Remarkably, Winter saddled the winner of the Grand National in each of his first two seasons as a trainer. He had to wait a little longer to saddle a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, but did so in 1978, courtesy of Midnight Court, ridden by his stable jockey, John Francome.