It is an exciting week for us at www.jumpsracing.co.uk as we begin our quest to find the Greatest Cheltenham Gold Cup horse of all time. The action kicked off on Sunday evening with Group A taking centre stage with the first four horses going to the polls @CheltenhamNews.
Kauto Star A Red Hot Favourite To Win Group A
All in all, we start with 16 horses and they will be whittled down to one Champion of Champions at the weekend, but first up we take a closer look at the four horses in Group A.
We start with the red hot favourite Kauto Star and he is sure to make it out of Group A with his head in his chest. One of the most popular horses of all time, Kauto remains the only horse ever to regain the Gold Cup and that alone is a remarkable stat.
His Gold Cup exploits will live long in the memory, with his rivalry with stable-mate Denman the stuff of legends. Those wanting to take on Kauto Star will place faith in the fact that he is just 2/6 at Cheltenham but for this first round group, expect Kauto to easily claim the most votes.
L'Escargot - Dual Winner
L'Escargot is a name that won't be familiar to all of our readers but he more than deserves his place in out Cheltenham Gold Cup GOAT tournament this week. Owned by Raymond Guest, the Dan Moore trained horse is perhaps best known for his Grand National win in 1975 as a 12-year-old.
We are focusing on his Cheltenham exploits this week though, and his back-to-back successes in the Gold Cup in 1970 and 1971 are what puts him in the frame. Aside from Golden Miller, L'Escargot remains the only horse to ever win the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup during his career, and that puts him right at the top level of jumps racing greats.
Mill House - The Big Horse
Known as 'The Big Horse', Mill House won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1963 in famous circumstances. As well as winning the race in 1963, Mill House was 2nd the following year to the great Arkle and he was the biggest rival to a horse many consider to be the greatest of all time.
Timeform have given Mill House a remarkable rating of 191, the same as Kauto Star, which highlights just how good he was and plenty will be voting for him in Group A.
His defeat behind Arkle in 1964 is perhaps his best known performance but there was no disgrace in losing to him, which means that the 1963 Gold Cup hero is a genuine legend.
Can Mill House Make It Into the Semi-Finals?
Norton's Coin - 100/1 Shock
Norton's Coin is the outsider of Group A but he deserves his spot thanks to one of the most famous victories in the history of National Hunt Racing. Sport always loves an underdog, and going into the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the 9YO was an also ran at best according to most observers.
Trainer Sirrell Griffiths had just two horses in training and it was a remarkable story as Norton's Coin beat the likes of Desert Orchid, Bonanza Boy and Toby Tobias to claim the most important price in the sport, and etch is name into the history books as a 100/1 shot.
The best Gold Cup horse ever? Not a chance, but his story is such a famous one that he is sure to grab his fair share of votes this week.