After more than 40 years, the original Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy has been tracked down and returned to its rightful home at Cheltenham Racecourse.
The racecourse has been reunited with the trophy, which dates back to 1924, after its owner approached the sporting venue; it had been hidden away in a bank vault since the 1970s. Although its whereabouts haven’t been completely clear, it’s understood that the trophy had been in private ownership in recent years.
The trophy weighs 644 grams of nine-carat gold and is plated in 18-carat gold to give it a rich colour. It’s since been mounted on a plinth which bears every name of the horses to have won the great chase title.
It will now be presented to the winner of the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and from then on in future years of the Festival. It’s the first time that the trophy has changed since 1972.
Ian Renton is regional director of the Cheltenham and South West division of The Jockey Club, which operated Cheltenham Racecourse. He said: ‘To bring the first ever Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy back to its rightful home and to use it as the perpetual trophy moving forwards really demonstrates the rich history and heritage of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
‘We are also delighted that it will now carry the names of all our previous winners on the plinth. It’s a beautiful, decorative trophy, dating back almost 100 years, and it will sit perfectly on the winner’s podium come March when we crown the next Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup champion.’
The 2019 winning owner will receive a replica of the original Cheltenham Gold Cup to keep, with the Cheltenham Gold Cup remaining at Cheltenham over the year.