Saturday 7 April 2018

Cheltenham Festival - Queen Mother Champion Chase

The Queen Mother Champion Chase admits horses of age five and above competing over a distance of 3219 meters (2 miles). The race is ranked grade 1 among Great Britain’s National Hunt Steeplechase races. It is one of the classic races that take place on the Old Course.

The initial name for the race when it was first run in 1959 was the national Hunt Two-Mile Champion
Chase. It existed under that name for 21 years until it adopted the current name in 1980 as part of Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday celebration. The Queen Mother herself was a fan of the race and did actually put competitors in it. Game Spirit was her most successful horse, taking a second place finish in 1976.

The race operated under its pure name for 27 years from 1980 as it did not have a sponsor. Since 2007, it has taken the existing sponsors name as a prefix. As of the 2017 festival, Betway were the race sponsors and are expected to carry the deal into the 2018 event.

Horses give the track a Queen Mother galloping on every second day of the popular festival. Widely
regarded the National Hunt’s biggest minimum-distance competition, this race attracts a lot of onlookers- some for the fun of it and others looking to see out their bets. No matter the drive, race fans always have a reason to hold their breaths.

The race has been won by ten-year-old horses over the last two years -Sprinter Sacre in 2016 and Special Tiara in 2017. Before then, it was a decade since a horse older than nine years won the race.

Paul Nicholls has been a popular trainer here since around the turn of the 21st century. Since the first win in 1999, horses he has trained have gone on to win on four other occasions. The most recent one
was the 2015 race when Dodging Bullets took first honours ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies