Certain exceptional horses receive public acclaim beyond the world of horse racing by winning one of the ‘championship’ races at the Cheltenham Festival, such as the Champion Hurdle or Cheltenham Gold Cup, three, four or even more times. However, other horses, whose names may not be quite so recognisable, return to Cheltenham year after year and win different races, over different distances and/or even in different disciplines.
One such horse in recent years is Cause Of Causes, now a 10-year-old, trained in Co. Meath by Gordon Elliot. The Dynaformer gelding made his first appearance at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013, finishing seventh of 12 in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle won by Champagne Fever. He fared better the following year, finishing second of 23 in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup won by Spring Heeled and better again in 2015, staying on to win the National Hunt Chase by 1½ lengths.
He failed to trouble the judge on his next five starts but, back at Cheltenham in 2016, and reunited with leading amateur rider Jamie Codd, romped home by 12 lengths in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup. His next five starts were, once again, non-descript, but he was back on song for the Festival in 2017, forging clear to win the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase by 9 lengths.
In so doing, he achieved a notable treble for Jamie Codd but, for once, the partnership wasn’t quite finished for the season, going on to finish an honourable second in the Grand National at Aintree three weeks later. Having already joined the likes of Flyingbolt, Bobs Worth and Vautour as the winner of three different races at the Festival, Cause Of Causes remains in training this season, but don’t expect much before March.