National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup Race Card

National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase (Grade 2)

1st
Mr J J Codd

Ravenhill

Age: 10
Weight: 11.4
OR: 142
J:
 
Mr J J Codd
T:
 
Gordon Elliott
held up behind, midfield 14th, steady progress from 17th, challenged after 3 out, led 2 out, stayed on well, driven out
2nd
Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

Lord Du Mesnil

Age: 7
Weight: 11.4
OR: 153
J:
 
Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
T:
 
Richard Hobson
jumped right at times, prominent, led 4th, ridden and headed 2 out, hit last, stayed on gamely but always being held (vet said gelding received treatment for post-race heat stress.)
3rd
Mr William Biddick

Lamanver Pippin

Age: 7
Weight: 11.4
OR: 132
J:
 
Mr William Biddick
T:
 
Colin Tizzard
mid-division, headway 11th, went 3rd after 12th, ridden to chase leading pair after 3 out until next, soon weakened, left 3rd at the last, tailed off
4th
Mr Derek O'Connor

Forza Milan

Age: 8
Weight: 11.4
OR: 138
J:
 
Mr Derek O'Connor
T:
 
J A Nash
mid-division, ridden after 3 out, never threatened to get on terms with leaders, weakened between last 2, left 4th at the last
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Final race of Champions Day

The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup is the final race of the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

It is the longest race of the week, run over a marathon trip of 3 miles, 7 furlongs, with 25 fences for the horses to contend with.

The race is unique in that it is a race for amateur jockeys only and the race is open to horses five and older.

Despite the race being one for the amateur jockeys, the race does have Grade 2 status and there is a fair amount of prize money on offer too, with £74,000 going to the winner.

History of the National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup

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.

Recent years

The 2019 edition was full of controversy with only four runners finishing and well strung out. 10 others failed to complete with many pulled up or falling, with race favourite Ballyward a fatal falling.

The race has led for new rules for 2020, which include a shorter trip of 3 miles, 6 furlongs, 23 fences and a change to the horses who can participate – they must now be rated at least 120 and have completed two chases, finishing in the first four, over at least three miles.

2019 saw Le Breuil grind it out for Jamie Codd and trainer Ben Pauling however there is no doubt the master of the race is Jonjo O’Neil who has trained the winner a record six times with the following horses:

Jonjo O’Neill:

Front Line (1995)

Rith Dubh (2002)

Sudden Shock (2003)

Native Emperor (2004)

Butler's Cabin (2007)

Minella Rocco (2016)

Codd is part of the 13 jockeys who have won the race on more than one occasion however many of them are no longer riding but it’s worth keeping an eye on whoever he does ride as well 2018 winner Patrick Mullins and 2016 winner Derek O’Connor, all of whom have won the race twice with the following:

Derek O'Connor:

Chicago Grey (2011)

Minella Rocco (2016)

Patrick Mullins:

Back in Focus (2013)

Rathvinden (2018)

Jamie Codd:

Cause of Causes (2015)

Le Breuil (2019)

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