The Queen Mother Champion Chase is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious races in all of horse racing. Held on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival each year, it is one of the event’s feature races and dominates a lot of the build-up to the fixture. Last year, there was something of a shock as Put The Kettle On stormed to victory, leaving pre-race favourite Chacun Pour Soi trailing in his dust.
It was quite the story for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Aidan Coleman, but this is a race that provides interesting stories by the bucketload. Those who bet on Cheltenham never know quite who to put their money on.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase has a rich history, from its inception in 1959 right through to the present day. For some, it is a race that has proved elusive, while for others it has been the source of glory on numerous occasions.
The best jockeys and trainers all dream of landing a winner in the Champion Chase, whilst the best horses are often reserved to run its two miles. Here, we’ve had a look at some of the best and most famous horses, jockeys and trainers in the history of the Champion Chase.
When talking about the horses that have graced the Queen Mother Champion Chase, you need look no further than Badsworth Boy, who won the race on three consecutive occasions in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Trained by Michael Dickinson and ridden by Robert Earnshaw for all three victories, Badsworth Boy’s tally of Champion Chase victories is yet to be matched.
Several horses have won the race on two occasions, including Fortria, Drinny’s Double, Skymas, Hillyway, Pearlyman, Barnbrook Again, Viking Flagship, Moscow Flyer, Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre, and, of course, Altior.
There are two jockeys who have racked up five wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Pat Taaffe — famous for riding Arkle to three Gold Cup victories in the 1960s — also enjoyed fine success in the Champion Chase during that decade. Taaffe’s five triumphs came in a span of just 10 years, proof of his supreme qualities as a jockey.
More recently, Barry Geraghty is the man who has held the Champion Chase by the scruff of its necks. He too has five victories in the race to his name, with his first coming on board Moscow Flyer in 2003 and again later in 2005. His three other victories came aboard Big Zeb, Finian’s Rainbow and the great Sprinter Sacre.
Speaking of Henderson, he takes his place as one of the most successful trainers in the history of the Champion Chase. With six winners to his name, he is tied with Tom Dreaper, who saddled winners in the 1960s, and one of his modern rivals Paul Nicholls, who has enjoyed success in the race over a span of more than 20 years.
Indeed, Henderson will be aiming to make it a record seventh in 2022, with Shishkin considered the heavy favourite to land the Champion Chase crown at the upcoming Cheltenham Festival. Out to stop him will be Willie Mullins’ Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi, with the Irishman surprisingly chasing his maiden Champion Chase victory.