The 1999 renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup featured twelve runners, including Florida Pearl, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Richard Dunwoody, who started 5/2 favourite on the strength of a comfortable victory in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown on his previous start. The highly-rated grey, Teeton Mill, trained by Venetia Williams and ridden by Norman Williamson, was next best at 7/2, with 11/2 bar the front pair.
However, neither of the market leaders was involved in the finish. Teeton Mill was pulled up lame before halfway and Florida Pearl, despite challenging, going well, at the third-last fence, ultimately failed through lack of stamina. Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old was beaten approaching the final fence and eventually finished third, beaten 18 lengths.
Go Ballistic, a rank outsider at 66/1, took the lead at the fourth last and was still ahead, albeit narrowly, at the final fence. However, at that point, David Nicholson’s ten-year-old was joined by 16/1 chance See More Business, trained by Paul Nicholls, and the pair knuckled down to fight out the finish. Go Ballistic, ridden by Tony Dobbin, kept on well, but See More Business, ridden by Mick Fitzgerald, was not to be denied and stayed on gamely to win by a length, all out.
See More Business was a first Cheltenham Gold Cup winner for Nicholls and Fitzgerald. Indeed, the winning jockey – who had won the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Call Equiname, also trained by Nicholls, earlier in the week – simply said, modestly, ‘All I have done is the steering, really’. Nevertheless, victories in two of the four main ‘championship’ races and another for Flagship Uberalles, ridden by Joe Tizzard, in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, were sufficient to make Paul Nicholls the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time.