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The Gold Cup

3.00pm Ascot

  • Distance 2m 4f
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £400,000


The Gold Cup, Ascot’s oldest race and Britain’s top event for long-distance thoroughbreds, has been dominated by one horse in recent years – the incomparable Yeats. The Irish-trained bay became the only horse in Ascot history to win the Gold Cup four times in succession when taking the 2009 race, making him arguably the best stayer of all time.

The Group 1 race, the second long-distance event in the QIPCO British Champions Series, is run over 2 miles 4 furlongs (4,000 metres) and is open to four-year-olds and older. It is traditionally held on day three – ‘Ladies’ Day’ – of Royal Ascot.

The Gold Cup certainly has royal connections. The inaugural running was watched by King George III and Queen Charlotte, while the 1844 running was attended by Nicholas I of Russia, after which the event became known as the Emperor’s Plate for a short period (the Crimean War may have had something to do with the decision to change the name back again).

The trophy is one of three at Royal Ascot traditionally presented by The Queen though she won the race herself with the Sir Micahel Stoute-trained Estimate in 2013 so it was presented to her by her son, Prince Andrew. Estimate tried again in 2014 but went down by a neck to the 2013 Ladbrokes St Leger winner, Leading Light, giving trainer Aidan O’Brien his sixth victory in the race.

The Gold Cup, along with the Qatar Goodwood Cup and Magners Rose Doncaster Cup, make up Britain’s Stayers’ Triple Crown. All three races feature in the QIPCO British Champions Series Long Distance category.

There are very few multiple winners of the race, with the two most notable being Yeats (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and Stradivarius (2018, 2019, 2020). The latter has been a dominant force in the staying division for the last three years for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. Looking as youthful as ever, in 2020 he destroyed the field with a mesmerising 10-length victory.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori (1992, 1993, 1998, 2004, 2012, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 7 wins (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds


Subjectivist storms home to Gold Cup glory

Stradivarius only 4th; Mark Johnston's stayer home in front under brilliant Joe Fanning ride

It was billed as a day of history for Stradivarius, but it was Mark Johnston‘s Subjectivist who stole the show on Gold Cup day at Ascot..

The Middleham trainer, who has tried so hard to topple Stradivarius, finally got his reward for persistence as Subjectivist won convincingly. It was a superb ride from jockey Joe Fanning who rightly earned much of the plaudits.

Subjectivist was always up there with the pace throughout the race, with Amhran Na Bhfiann taking them along early doors. Subjectivist was up there at the front, as is custom for Johnson runners and Stradivarius happy to gallop along in the middle of the pack.

The race began to unfold just as they began rounding the turn. Amhran Na Bhfiann was pushed along, and Subjectivist full of running, grew into the lead. As they turned into the straight Fanning sent his mount on in a decisive move.

The response was instant and Subjectivist asserted pulling two, three lengths out of the field. Many were caught off guard and began to push away on their mounts. Stradivarius, meanwhile, had no view of the leader, met with a wall of horses in front.

Dettori tried to get him out with two maneuvers, but by this point Subjectivist had bolted. His lead grew and two furlongs out it was clear who was the winner, hands and heels in the final stages.

Princess Zoe, Spanish Mission and Stradivarius chased hard in vein, and eventually finished in that order.


Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

  • Course plan Ascot Champions Day Course Plan#
  • Course Intro

The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

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