The race is the oldest race at the Festival, set for it’s 160th year in 2020. In its early beginnings, it was the second most prestigious chase in the calendar, only behind the Grand National.
In the early days of the race it was held at a range of venues, including Cheltenham itself in 1904 and 1905. It wasn’t however until 1911, where it became a permanent fixture in the Cotswolds, becoming a part of another two-day meeting.
The race is the longest of the meeting but has been shortened, previously run over 4 miles and 1 furlong. The race doesn’t usually have a sponsor to make it even more unique and instead, is often run in tribute to someone.
For example, the 2008 running was titled the ‘Peter O’Sullivan Chase’ in tribute to a retired commentator whilst in 2012, the race was named the’ Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase’ as part of the Queen’s diamond jubilee year.
Other titles include, the John Oaksey Chase in 2013, in tribute to his death the year prior and in 2015 the Toby Balding chase. It remains to be seen what the 2020 running will be titled as.