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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 16:39 GMT
Festival flashback
Viking Flagship (right) wins a thrilling Champion Chase in 1994
Viking Flagship (right) won a thrilling 1994 Champion Chase
The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the jumps season, attracting the world's top chasers.

Its rich history includes some of the most famous racehorses, such as Golden Miller, Arkle, Sea Pigeon, Desert Orchid and Istabraq.

And 2004 marks the anniversaries of some notable triumphs, including the first of Arkle's three Gold Cup wins.

We look back at what happened at the Cheltenham Festival 40, 30, 20 and 10 years ago.

1964 | 1974 | 1984 | 1994


Gold Cup Arkle (P Taafe) 7/4
Champion Hurdle
Magic Court (P McCarron) 100/6
Champion Chase
Ben Stack (P Taafe) 2/1

Forty years ago marked the beginning of Arkle's run of three consecutive Gold Cup wins.

The seven-year-old, trained in Ireland by Tom Dreaper, had won a novices' race at the previous year's Festival but in 1964 took on reigning Gold Cup holder Mill House.

The pair had already met in the Hennessy Gold Cup earlier in the season - when Mill House had won - and the contest was being billed as an England v Ireland clash.

And it was the visitors who conquered as Arkle, ridden by Pat Taafe, cruised past his rival at the last and drew clear to win by five lengths.


Gold Cup
Captain Christy (H Beasley) 7/1
Champion Hurdle
Lanzarote (R Pitman) 7/4
Champion Chase
Royal Relief (W Smith) 6/1

It was another memorable year for Pat Taafe, four-time winner of the Gold Cup as a jockey, who now won it as a trainer with Captain Christy.

Captain Christy, ridden by Bobby Beasley, remains the last novice to have won chasing's blue riband event.

Pendil, ridden by Richard Pitman, had started the race as odds-on favourite but was unluckily brought down at the third last.

There was compensation for Pitman (now a BBC pundit) in the form of a win in the Champion Hurdle on Lanzarote.

Another 'BBC' success came in the Triumph Hurdle which was won by Attivo, owned by 'Voice of Racing' Sir Peter O'Sullevan.


Burrough Hill Lad is led in after his 1984 Gold Cup triumph
Gold Cup
Burrough Hill Lad (P Tuck) 7/2
Champion Hurdle
Dawn Run (JJ O'Neill) 4/5f
Champion Chase
Badsworth Boy (R Earnshaw) 8/13f

Another landmark was created when Jenny Pitman became the first woman to train a Gold Cup winner, Burrough Hill Lad - who died in January 2004, aged 28.

Dawn Run, ridden by Jonjo O'Neill, became the first mare to win the Champion Hurdle since 1939 - two years later she would win the Gold Cup and become the first horse to achieve such a double.

Down the field in the Champion Hurdle was a dashing grey called Desert Orchid, making his debut at a course where five years later, he would so memorably win the Gold Cup.

It was a good meeting for one amateur jockey, who won both the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Cathcart Chase.

However, Mr Dermot Browne's career in horse racing later took a downward turn, culminating in him being warned off after admitting to doping horses.


The Fellow wins the 1994 Gold Cup
Gold Cup
The Fellow (A Kondrat) 7/1
Champion Hurdle
Flakey Dove (M Dwyer) 9/1
Champion Chase
Viking Flagship (A Maguire) 4/1

The Fellow, trained by Francois Doumen, became the first French horse to win the Gold Cup.

Ireland also had a new hero to cheer - Danoli, who would become their great Gold Cup hope in years to come, won the SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle and received a rapturous welcome in the winner's enclosure.

A thrilling Queen Mother Champion Chase saw Viking Flagship beat off the challenge of Deep Sensation and Travado up the famous Cheltenham hill.

The Arkle Chase was won by Nakir and marked the first Festival triumph for owner Jim Lewis, whose later purchases included Best Mate and Edredon Bleu.

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