Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival takes surprising turn

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For the first time in one of horse racing’s most prestigious meetings, a female jockey has won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival.

Rachel Blackmore romped home on Honeysuckle to take the crown last Tuesday, the first day of the meeting. The annual Cheltenham Festival takes place every March and is a major event in the racing calendar, although for obvious reasons this year has not seen the huge crowds of racing fans that usually attend.

The festival ends with the biggest race of the meeting where the famous Gold Cup is fought over. It was first presented in 1924 to Major Humphrey Wyndham, the owner of winning horse, Red Splash ridden by Dick Rees. Created by S Blanckensee & Son Ltd, the nine-carat gold cup weighed 644 grams and was commissioned by Simmons of Chesterfield. The engraved trophy disappeared in the early 1970’s and is thought to have been kept in a private collection. A new version of the trophy was created which subsequent winners were allowed to keep, with a new cup made every year.

In 2018, the original reappeared and has been used ever since, with replica engraved awards given to the winners. The original trophy has had a facelift with new, 18-carat gold plating and an ebony plinth bearing the engraved names of all the winners since the race first began. This in itself means that the cup will bear the names of some of the most famous racehorses the sport has ever seen.

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