Back in sunny July 2018 it was unveiled that Magners would exclusively sponsor the Cheltenham Gold Cup as presenting partner of the festival for 2019.
The Irish cider brewers have secured a four-year long contract in it’s first major horse racing sponsorship agreement.
However, it’s not all about new ventures, this year is particularly special for the Gold Cup, and we’re not talking about a pint of Magners here. We are talking about the original Gold Cup trophy from 1924.
Since the 1970s the original Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy has been tucked away in a bank vault, sadly not proudly displayed in all its glory. First awarded 94 years ago, the private owner has now come forward to offer the trophy back to the racecourse after keeping it under lock and key in a vault for over 40 years. And so, 2019 will see the return of the cup to its rightful turf at Cheltenham Racecourse.
The original cup is nine carat gold, weighs 644 grams and has been plated in 18 carat gold. To celebrate its return there’ll be some updates including a plinth in which the cup will be mounted on, bearing the names of all the horses that have won the steeplechase previously.
“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.”
Ian Renton, regional director of the Cheltenham and South West division of The Jockey Club (who own Cheltenham Racecourse) described what the return of the cup means for the festival.
“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.”
With Magners joining Cheltenham, this year is set to be a big one, combining new ventures with old relics. Gold Cup Day (Friday, 15th March) is the most prestigious event during the four-day festival calendar and Jason Ash, who works with C&C Group plc, Magner’s owners, shares his excitement about the return of the cup.
“We have no doubt that the history, heritage and prestige of this great race will be enhanced through the reintroduction of this beautiful cup as originally presented back in 1924.”
Unfortunately for the 2019 winner, they’ll receive a replica of the original. It seems the festival are going to be keeping a close eye on the cup now that it’s returned home!