How much the Cheltenham Gold Cup is worth really depends on whether we’re talking about the value of the prize money on offer or the value of the physical trophy – that is, the Gold Cup itself – presented to the winning owner. In the case of the former, the answer is straightforward; in 2019, the Cheltenham Gold Cup offered £625,000 in prize money, just over £350,000 of which was awarded to connections of the winner, Al Boum Photo.
However, in the case of the latter, the answer requires some educated guesswork regarding the monetary value of the Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy and an appreciation of the historical context in which it is presented. In 2018, Cheltenham Racecourse was reunited with the original Gold Cup trophy, first won by Red Splash in 1924, which was mounted on a plinth bearing the names of all the previous winners and, since 2019, has been presented to the winner as a perpetual trophy.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy reportedly consists of 644g, or approximately 1lb 7oz, of nine carat gold – which even at current scrap gold prices is worth over £7,000 – plated in 18 carat gold to give it its rich, lustrous colour. Of course, the Cheltenham Gold Cup trophy is unique and irreplaceable – the winner owner receives a replica to keep, while the original remains at Cheltenham Racecourse throughout the year – so effectively priceless from an historical and cultural perspective.