Is the Cheltenham Gold Cup actually made of gold?

The simple answer is yes, it is. The original Cheltenham Gold Cup, created by Blanckensee & Sons of Birmingham for the inaugural running of the race in 1924, was returned to Cheltenham Racecourse in 2018. Originally presented to Major Humphrey Wyndham, owner of the first winner, Red Splash, the trophy dropped out of sight for decades, but had reportedly been in private ownership, in a bank vault, since the Seventies.

Ian Renton, Regional Director of the Jockey Club, which owns Cheltenham Racecourse, welcomed the return of the trophy, saying, ‘To bring the first ever Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy back to its rightful home and to use as the perpetual trophy really demonstrates the rich history and heritage of the race.’

The original Cheltenham Gold Cup was mounted on a plinth bearing the names of all the previous winners of the race and has been presented, as a perennial trophy, to the winning owner since 2019. Indeed, that was the first time the Cheltenham Gold Cup had changed since 1972. The Cheltenham Gold Cup, itself, consists of 23 ounces, or 644 grams, of nine carat gold – worth nearly £30,000 at current prices – and is coated with 18 carat gold to create a rich, lustrous sheen.