A concise formal synthesis of racemic allocolchicine has been developed, centred on three principal transformations: a retro-Brook alkylation reaction to generate an arylsilane, a gold-catalysed arylative cyclisation to generate the B-ring via biaryl linkage, and a palladium-catalysed carbonylation of an aryl chloride to generate an ester. 1H NMR monitoring of the key gold-catalysed cyclisation step reveals that a powerful catalyst deactivation process progressively attenuates the rate of catalyst turnover. The origins of the catalyst deactivation have been investigated, with an uncatalysed side-reaction, involving the substrate and the iodine(III) oxidant, identified as the source of a potent catalyst poison. The side reaction generates 1–4% of a diaryliodonium salt, and whilst this moiety is shown not to be an innate catalyst deactivator, when it is tethered to the arylsilane reactant, the inhibition becomes powerful. Kinetic modelling of processes run at two different catalyst concentrations allows extraction of the partitioning of the gold catalyst between the substrate and its diaryliodonium salt, with a rate of diaryliodonium salt generation consistent with that independently determined in the absence of catalyst. The high partition ratio between substrate and diaryliodonium salt (5/1) results in very efficient, and ultimately complete, diversion of the catalyst off-cycle.