5 Cheltenham Trials Day winners that went onto Cheltenham Gold Cup glory
Cheltenham Trials Day provides racegoers with the chance to savour great National Hunt action and could point to a few of the main contenders for the Gold Cup in March.
This year has a number of Gold Cup contenders in the Cotswold Chase with Santini, Bristol De Mai and Delta Work all entered.
Below we list off 5 great Cheltenham Trials Day winners that went on to claim Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.
Bobs Worth – Classic Novices’ Hurdle (2011) / Gold Cup (2013)
A horse famed for his bravery as well as his ability. His trainer Nicky Henderson once hailed him as “an absolute legend.”
In only his fifth start, Bobs Worth triumphed on Trials Day and the talent was there for everyone to see even that early on in his career.
He took the 2011 Classic Novices’ Hurdle in front of future Champion Hurdle winner Rock on Ruby by two and half lengths.
Bobs Worth went on to become one of the best horses of his generation- he won at the Festival three years in-a-row picking up the Albert Barlett, RSA Chase and the big one, the Gold Cup.
Looks Like Trouble – Cotswold Chase (2000) / Gold Cup (2000)
A stunning performance from Looks Like Trouble on Trials Day, his display every bit as impressive as his Novices’ Chase victory at the Cheltenham Festival the previous year.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup was next on the agenda and the premier event of the Festival certainly didn’t disappoint.
The race finished with an epic tussle up the Cheltenham hill as Florida Pearl and Looks Like Trouble locked horns after front runner Gloria Victis fell at the last.
Looks Like Trouble’s stronger stamina eventually proving the difference between the two as he prevailed by five lengths
See More Business – Cotswold Chase (1998) / Gold Cup (1999)
See More Business played a pivotal role in the rise of Paul Nicholls’ career, Nicholls described him as a “horse of a lifetime”.
The horse was fresh off his King George victory going into Cheltenham Trials Day, and the form showed with a four length victory despite a bad mistake in the running – “a remarkable performance”.
(Cotswold Chase – formerly the Pillar Property Investments Chase)
See More Business would go on to race in the Gold Cup in the following season but to be taken out by Cyborgo on the seventh fence.
However, he went on to win the Gold Cup the following year despite the poor form leading into the race.
A little luck with a few of the favoured horses picking up injuries but he showed his staying power to hold off his rivalries and win the most coveted prize at the Festival.
Master Oats – Cotswold Chase (1995) / Gold Cup – (1995)
Master Oats was the very definition of a late bloomer, it took him many years to grow into his large frame and truly live up to his potential.
His early career runs were underwhelming to say the least; his first run for trainer Kim Bailey saw him pulled up long before the finish in an ordinary looking Novice Chase at Newbury.
When he did go on to claim victory at Southwell two starts later, it was so unimpressive that the jockey Marcus Armytage commented, “you’ll be lucky to win another race with this thing”.
After developing into his massive frame and taking well to a new training regime under Bailey, he’d go on to win five out of his seven races as an eight-year-old.
In the 1994 / 1995 season, Master Oats won five races on the trot, the last two were the Pillar Property Investments Chase (now Cotswold Chase) and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, both won by 15 lengths in scintillating style.
Little Owl – Cotswold Chase (1981) / Gold Cup (1981)
The Peter Easterby trained superstar was undefeated in his first eight completed starts over fences, he was once described by Timeform as “potentially one of the most talented steeplechasers since Arkle”.
Little Owl claimed victory in the Cotswold Chase (formerly known as the Tote Double Chase) with relative ease despite only having a week’s rest since his last victory at Haydock.
The 1981 Gold Cup was regarded as one of the strongest renewals of the time with superstars such as Silver Buck and stablemate Night Nurse lining up against Little Owl.
Little Owl’s leap over the last was something to behold which in the end set him apart from Night Nurse on the day as well as having the stamina to hold off his rivalries up the Cheltenham hill.
Sadly Little Owl was hampered by injuries which meant he was unable to reach the very top of the sport again in his career.