Which horse won the inaugural Cheltenham Gold Cup?
By way of clarification, by ‘Cheltenham Gold Cup’ we mean the Cheltenham Gold Cup in its current guise, as a steeplechase, which was first run on March 12, 1924, rather than the three-mile Flat race, which was first run at nearby Cleeve Hill, rather than Prestbury Park, over a century earlier. Nowadays, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious contest in National Hunt racing but, in its early days was overshadowed by other races, notably the National Hunt Chase.
Nevertheless, the inaugural running was covered by British Pathé News, under the title ‘Chasing’s Ascot’, and produced a thrilling finish. The eventual winner, Red Splash, trained by Fred Withington and ridden by Dick Rees, edged his nearest pursuers, Conjuror II and Gerard L by a neck and a head and won the princely sum of £685 for his trouble.
As a footnote, the original Cheltenham Gold Cup presented to winning owner Major Humphrey Wyndham, which consists of nearly a pound-and-a-half of nine carat gold, plated with 18 carat gold, was returned to Cheltenham Raecourse by its previous owner in 2018; since 2019, it has been presented to winning connections as a perpetual trophy.