The 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup featured fifteen runners, but was the first renewal for five years not to include The Fellow, who had been denied by a short head in both 1991 and 1992, before finally claiming the elusive prize in 1994. In his absence, Jodami, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1993 and runner-up in 1994, was well-fancied, at 7/2, to add to his winning tally, but the marginal favourite was Master Oats, at 100/30, with 8/1 bar the pair.
Notwithstanding a fall towards the end of the first circuit in the 1994 Grand National, Master Oats had won his last six completed starts, including an impressive, 20-length victory over Earth Summit in the rearranged Welsh National at Newbury on New Year’s Eve and a 15-length defeat of the mare Dubacilla in the Pillar Property Investments Chase at Cheltenham on his most recent start.
Trained by Kim Bailey in Lambourn, Berkshire and ridden by Norman Williamson, Master Oats arrived at Prestbury Park at the peak of his powers and appeared a worthy favourite. Indeed, in the race itself, his main market rival, Jodami, proved a major disappointment; a series of mistakes put him on the back foot and he was already beaten when making another mistake at the third-last fence.
Master Oats, too, was hardly foot-perfect on the first circuit, but gradually warmed to his task. He led at the second-last fence and soon established a clear lead, before staying on strongly on the infamously gruelling climb to the winning post. At the line, he was 15 lengths ahead of his old rival Dubacilla, with 1994 Grand National winner Minnehoma a similar distance further back in third place. Having won the Champion Hurdle with Alderbrook two previously, Bailey and Williamson became the first trainer-jockey partnership to complete the Champion Hurdle – Cheltenham Gold Cup double since Vincent O’Brien and Aubrey Brabazon did so with Hatton’s Grace and Cottage Rake in 1950.