For the majority of racing fans, the Gold Cup is the race of the season. For many, nothing comes close and over the years we’ve seen some spectacular winners of Cheltenham’s blue ribband.

Our top-class panel of Nick Luck, AP McCoy and Nigel Twiston-Davies have, sort of, whittled down their favourite five since the turn of the millennium.

In case you can’t see your favourite in the Top 5, watch the full video to see why Nick, AP and Nigel left them off the list.

Don Cossack

AP McCoy was vocal in his defence of the highest-rated horse he rode, stating that he “could not have Imperial Commander over Don Cossack”.

AP only rode Don Cossack once, but Nick was quick to remind him that he won the Melling Chase by 26 lengths to Cue Card.

He went off 9/4f when winning the 2016 Gold Cup and the trio all agreed that he was in their top five winners.

Imperial Commander 

Nigel Twiston-Davies trained the 2010 Gold Cup winner and was keen to put him at the top of the list.

The Gloucestershire-based trainer correctly pointed out that Imperial Commander had beaten both Denman and Kauto Star.

He also brought to the forefront that his horse had also won a strong Ryanair the year before, beating Voy Por Ustedes.

Nick Luck included the three-time Grade 1 winner in his top five, but AP McCoy was reluctant.

Best Mate

“He wasn’t exuberant, he wasn’t flash, he just won.” AP McCoy summed up the three-time Gold Cup winner to perfection as both Nick Luck and Nigel Twiston-Davies agreed.

AP followed this by explaining that “he was the perfect Gold Cup horse” due to his “style of racing”.

There was little argument between the three in placing Best Mate in their top five.


Winner of the 2008 renewal, Denman was Nick’s choice for top spot.

He summed up that winning effort as being “the greatest Gold Cup-winning performance” he’d seen.

While AP McCoy was holding firm saying that “he broke his own heart the day he beat Kauto Star”,

Nick reminded him that he was “pounded into submission on the day that mattered by Denman”.

Kauto Star

20-time Champion Jockey AP McCoy was quick to sing Kauto Star’s praises, going as far as to say that he was the best horse he ever saw.

The two-time Gold Cup winner made history in 2009 when he became the first horse to regain the crown after finishing 7l behind Denman in the 2008 renewal.

Across his career, Kauto Star managed a record five King George’s, two Tingle Creek’s and two Gold Cups.

Nick Luck agreed with AP McCoy saying that “he was one of the greatest horses of all time” but refused to place him top of his list.

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