The Return of the Champ: Kyprios Regains Gold Cup Crown

Always one of the most anticipated contests of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting, the 2024 edition of the Gold Cup was well set up to deliver a cracker. 2022 champ Kyprios was the popular choice with punters, as the son of Galileo sought to prove once and for all that he had recovered from the injury issues which saw him miss the bulk of 2023.

Kyprios may have started as the hot favourite, but this was far from a one-horse race. John & Thady Gosden headed up the opposition with a three-pronged attract featuring 2023 Queen’s Vase winner Gregory, 2023 Champion’s Long Distance Cup hero Trawlerman, and 2024 Henry II Stakes champ Sweet William. The presence of Vauban from the Willie Mullins operation added further intrigue, whilst Andrew Balding’s Coltrane went down by just three-quarters of a length in the 2023 edition of this. It was a mouthwatering contest on paper, and the race delivered a monumental finish.

Ballydoyle vs the Boys in Blue

The sight of leading charges from the Ballydoyle and Godolphin operations locking horns has been one of the most compelling features of the British flat scene in the 21st Century, with the sport’s most powerful breeding operations regularly doing battle on the biggest stages – the Galileo vs Fantastic Light clashes being just one example of the drama this fierce rivalry can provide at the track.

The 2024 Gold Cup provided another instalment in the Ballydoyle vs Godolphin saga. With many of the other runners in the field crying enough as the field turned for home, it was left to Aidan O’Brien’s Kyprios and Trawlerman to lay it all on the line in a relentless battle for almost the duration of the straight. A furlong from home, Trawlerman appeared to hold a narrow advantage. Half a furlong out, the pair were impossible to split, with Kyprios only breaking the heart of his valiant rival inside the final 100 yards to score by a length under Ryan Moore.

Revenge and a Place Alongside the Greats

Anyone experiencing a sense of déjà vu when witnessing the hammer and tongs battle in the straight was no doubt recalling the titanic tussle which unfolded between Kyprios and Trawlerman in the 2023 edition of the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup. Trawlerman mastered his rival to get up by a neck at the end of that two-mile event, with Kyprios possibly not quite at his peak on what was only his second run back following almost a year on the sidelines. This time, the result was different, but such was the excitement in the closing stages, that fans are already anticipating the next clash between two of the most talented stayers in the game.

In lifting the title for a second time, Kyprios became the 23rd horse to win the Gold Cup on more than one occasion and is now amongst a raft of stayers who sit two behind all-time leader Yeats. He is, however, only the third horse to regain his Gold Cup crown having lost it, following in the hoofprints of Anticipation (1816 and 1819) and Kayf Tara (1998 and 2000).