The 2014 renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup featured thirteen runners, including the reigning champion, Bobs Worth, and Silviniaco Conti, who had fallen, when travelling well in third place, at the third-last fence in 2013. The pair started 6/4 favourite and 11/4 second favourite, respectively, but while both were involved in an ‘eventful’ finish to the race, neither finished in the first three.
Victory went to the eight-year-old Lord Windermere, in controversial circumstances. The winner, who prevailed by just a short head and three-quarters of a length, had to survive a fifteen-minute stewards’ inquiry before the result was confirmed. Lord Windermere was found to have interfered with the eventual second, On His Own, and the eventual third, The Giant Bolster, but the interference was deemed ‘minor’ and he was given the benefit of the doubt.
Trained by Jim Culloty and ridden by Davy Russell, Lord Windermere had won the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013, but was a largely unconsidered 20/1 chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a result of some indifferent form since. Indeed, his victory owed much to the perseverance of his jockey, who later admitted that he was tempted to pull up on the first circuit after receiving little encouragement from his mount.
In any event, Lord Windermere was detached at the rear of the field just before halfway, but made headway under pressure from the second-last fence and, despite hanging badly right close home, won by a short head, all out. Culloty, probably better known as the jockey of three-time Gold Cup winner Best Mate, joined Danny Morgan, Pat Taaffe, Fred Winter and Jonjo O’Neill as one of just five men to have ridden and trained a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.