The History of the Ascot Gold Cup

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Ahead of tomorrow’s renewal of the Ascot Gold Cup let’s take a look at the history of the race.


The Ascot Gold Cup is a Group 1 flat race which was first ran in 1807 and is open to horses aged four or older. It is ran at Ascot Racecourse over 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 210 yards and is ran in June of each year. The race was worth £250,000 in 2020 with the winner receiving £148,000.

When the race was established in 1807 it was originally open to horses aged three or older and the first race was ran in front of King George III and Queen Charlotte. In 1844 the running was attended by Nicholas I of Russia who was making a state visit to England. At the time of his victory the winning horse was unnamed so was given the name ‘The Emperor’ in honour of the visiting monarch and in return Nicholas offered a new trophy for the race – the ‘Emperor’s Plate’ and this became the title of the race for a while however it’s original name was restored after 9 years.

On June 18th 1907, the Ascot Gold Cup was actually stolen by thieves, the theft was never solved. In August a replacement was finished.

The Ascot Gold Cup is the first leg of Britain’s Stayers’ Triple Crown, followed by the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup. Stradivarius was the last horse to win the Stayers’ Triple Crown in 2019.


Now onto previous winners of the race, the first winner in 1807 was three year old Master Jackey. The first multiple winner was Anticipation who won it in 1816 at four years old and winning again in 1819 at seven years old. The first horse to win two consecutive races was Bizarre who won it in 1824 at four years old and 1825 at five years old, both times for jockey Bill Arnull, trainer R D Boyce and owner Lord G H Cavendish. In 1836 (at five years old) and in 1837 (at six years old) Touchstone won for trainer John Scott and owner the 1st Marquess of Westminster. In 1836 with jockey John Barham Day and in 1837 with jockey William Scott.

In 1844 The Emperor won at three years old followed up by another win in 1845 at four years both times for jockey G Whitehouse, trainer W Edwards and owner the 4th Earl of Albemarle. Before The Hero followed up with two wins in 1847 (at four years old) and in 1848 (at five years old) for jockey Alfred Day and trainer and owner John Barham Day.

In 1854, the first ever Triple Crown Champion from the previous year 1853, West Australian at four years old won the Ascot Gold Cup for Alfred Day, John Scott and the 1st Baron Londesborough.

Let’s now skip forward to the 1900’s. In 1931 (at five years old) and 1932 (at six years old) Trimdon won the race for Joe Childs, Joseph Lawson and Charles Lambton. We then move forward to 1942, 1943 and 1944 which were all ran at Newmarket during the World War and were all won by jockey Gordon Richards. In 1942 he won on four year old Owen Tudor for trainer Fred Darling and owner Catherine Macdonald-Buchanan. In 1943 he won on four year old Ujiji for trainer Joseph Lawson and owner Alfred Allnatt. In 1944 he won on four year old Umiddad for trainer Frank Butters and owner Aga Khan III.

In 1957 the leading jockey Lester Piggott won for the first time on board six year old Zarathustra for trainter Cecil Boyd-Rochfort and owner Terence Gray. In 1888 five year old Sadeem won the race for Greville Starkey, Guy Harwood and Sheikh Mohammed, however first past the post was actually Royal Gait who got demoted to last place after a stewards’ enquiry. Sadeem then won again in 1989 at six years old, this time partnering up with Willie Carson.

In 1992 (at six years old) and 1993 (at seven years old) Drum Taps won the race under Frankie Dettori for trainer Lord Huntingdon and owner Yoshio Asakawa. In 1998 Kayf Tara won the race at four years old for Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin before winning it again two years later at six years old this time partnering up with Michael Kinane for the same owner and trainer. In 2001 (at five years old) and 2002 (at six years old), Royal Rebel won for Johnny Murtagh, Mark Johnston and Peter Savill.

Let’s now skip forward to 2006 which was the start of a streak for Yeats. At five years old in 2006 all the way through to 2009 at eight years old he won the race for trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Magnier / Nagle. In 2006 partnered with Kieren Fallon, in 2007 partnered with Michael Kinane and in 2008 and 2009 partnered with Johnny Murtagh.

Skipping forward to 2016, Order of St George won at four years old for Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien and Smith / Magnier / Tabor. Followed by fix year old Big Orange in 2017 for James Doyle, Michael Bell and Bill Gredley.

We then see a triple winner start his streak in 2018 at four years old Stradivarius won, followed in 2019 (at five years old) and 2020 (at six years old) for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Bjorn Nelsen.


Now onto some records. The most successful horse is Yeats who won in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The leading jockey with 11 victories is Lester Piggott who won on: Zarathustra (1957), Gladness (1958), Pandofell (1961), Twilight Alley (1963), Fighting Charlie (1965), Sagaro (1975, 1976, 1977), Le Moss (1979) and Andross (1981, 1982).

The leading trainer with 7 victories is Aidan O’Brien who has won with: Yeats (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), Fame and Glory (2011), Leading Light (2014) and Order of St George (2016).

The leading owner with 7 victories – including part ownership – is Sue Magnier who won with: Yeats (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), Fame and Glory (2011), Leading Light (2014) and Order of St George (2016).


It is important to note that Stradivarius is currently the 4/5 favourite (odds via Ladbrokes are accurate at the time of writing this post 12:45pm on June 15th 2021) and if he wins he will join Yeats as the joint most successful horse in the race.


Personally, I am going for the now seven year old Stradivarius to win. For me it’s down to the fact that he’s been an absolute fan favourite over the years and I would love to see him win it again. I am going with my heart above all else but I have to stick with him to have his 4th victory in the race. Who do you think will win? Let me know over on Twitter!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you tomorrow evening at 6pm for ‘The History of the Coronation Stakes’.

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