The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious steeplechase in Europe and has been run, in its current guise, at the Cheltenham Festival, in mid-March, most years since 1924. Indeed, in the better part of a century since the inaugural running, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has been out-and-out abandoned just five times in its history.
The Cheltenham Festival was cancelled, in its entirety, in 1943 and 1944, when Cheltenham Racecourse was used as a military training facility during World War II, and again in 2001, when the fixture was initially postponed until April, but called off completely when the racecourse subsequently fell within a foot-and-mouth exclusion zone. In 1931, the Cheltenham Gold Cup fell victim to a bitterly cold March and it was a similar story in 1937, when a mild, but very wet, winter heralded another cold, wintry March, with frequent snowfall.
Snow, once again, threatened to intervene in 1940, but the Cheltenham Gold Cup was not abandoned, but rather rescheduled six days later. The 1978 renewal was also postponed because of snow and, for the first time since its inception, the Cheltenham Gold Cup was run in April instead of March. Since then, the only day of the Cheltenham Festival lost to bad weather was the second day in 2008, which was cancelled due to high winds; the races due to be run on that day were rescheduled for the Thursday and Friday and the running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was unaffected.