Whenever you hear the word Champion Chase, you think of the legendary horses of the past. But did you know that there are still some great horses in training? Here's a look at some of the top contenders for this year's race.
Luckily for me, I was not alone in this endeavor. A brief survey of my cronies yielded a handful of aficionados that will be the envy of their peers for the rest of eternity. It also paved the way for this scribe to test the waters and snag the coveted top notch spot. In short, a couple of hours of my time, and a few dozen drinks later I'm a pro. The real world and virtual worlds are my playgrounds of choice these days. Fortunately, there are more than enough eas to be had in the right environs. A word of caution though; if you are a snob a la the cypher above, you may want to tame a tyrant in the flesh before he or she has the last supper. And of course, the aforementioned soiree may be the first evening of the week. The following morning, I was the proud owner of an all time high score.
During a career which lasted nearly two decades, Badsworth Boy became the most successful horse to compete in the Champion Chase. He won three of the most famous races in the history of the National Hunt two-mile chasing division.
A horse with fast jumping, Badsworth Boy was the only three-time winner of the two-mile championship. The gelded racehorse was owned by Doug Armitage, who trained him. A successful hurdler, he also made a good transition to larger obstacles.
Badsworth Boy won the Champion Chase in 1983, 1984 and 1985. It was the first time a horse had won the race three times. He was ridden by Robert Earnshaw. Earnshaw said Badsworth Boy respected the fences after brushing through. He carried the top weight of 12st 7lb.
After his last Champion Chase victory, Badsworth Boy retired to his owner's home near Rotherham. The horse's career was shortened by a heart attack, at the age of 27. He died in 2002.
Badsworth Boy was purchased as a yearling for 2,800 guineas from Snowy Wainwright and Doug Armitage. He began his jumping career with success in the minor races at Beverley Racecourse in June.
Michael Dickinson trained Badsworth Boy to his first two Champion Chase victories in 1983 and 1984. He was campaigned on the flat in Cumbria and South Yorkshire, but switched to steeplechase later in the year. He won the race by ten lengths.
Badsworth Boy was a useful hurdler, but had no room for error in the big races. He was backed in the build-up to the Champion Chase, and he won the race without a single mistake.
After the race, Dickinson said Badsworth Boy's Champion Chase performance placed him in the top tier of stars. He subsequently trained many of the top chasers of his generation, including the Famous Five.
Touted as the most important and the most important chase of the season, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is contested by the fastest chasers in training. The prize money for the winner is PS400,000, with the winning horse being crowned Champion Chaser.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade One chase that emphasizes the ability to jump fluently at pace. A record of 14 winners have achieved the feat at least three times over the course of the minimum eighteen trips to the Cheltenham track.
The most impressive entrant in this year's contest is Politologue, a grey chaser trained by Paul Nicholls. The horse was purchased by John Hales in September 2015 and became a regular member of the stable. He was also ridden by Harry Skelton and Sam Twiston-Davies. The horse has competed in four Grade Two races at Newbury and Ascot, and won two at Newbury. He was also a runner-up in a Grade One Novices' Chase at Aintree and a Grade Two race at Newbury.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is contested at the Cheltenham Festival on 16 March. A record number of entries are expected for the event, which is contested by the fastest chasers of the season. Several high profile chasers have been withdrawn from the race due to injury, resulting in a reshuffle of the pack.
The most impressive entrant in the Champion Chase is Politologue. He has been a consistent performer for Paul Nicholls, winning six times and finishing in the money in six of his eight starts. He has not been beaten since his debut in December 2015, which is a pretty good record for a grey chaser. He is currently the only horse in the stable to have won at the Cheltenham Festival in the past twenty-five years.
Traditionally one of the most competitive races of the Festival, the Champion Chase with Tom Dreaper has been a fixture at the Cheltenham Festival. This year, Altior is the bookie's odds-on favourite. The two-time Derby winner is the only horse to win the Champion Chase at the Festival more than twice.
The Champion Chase is open to five-year-olds and older, and prize money for the event is set to be in 2023. The race has been won by a number of famous horses, including Arkle, Sprinter Sacre, and Altior.
Arkle is one of the best steeplechasers of the past 50 years, but he is still a long way from Tom Dreaper and Nicky Henderson in the all-time list of Champion Chase winners. Dreaper has won the race six times.
Tom Dreaper started out by training a few horses, but he developed his own system for the day-to-day running of his yard. He is a great horseman, and the Champion Chase is his crowning glory. However, he doesn't believe in going crazy in celebration. He doesn't want to put his horses in danger on hard ground.
In 1961, Tom Dreaper and Pat Taaffe saddled Fortria to win the Champion Chase for the first time. Fortria had a good breeding record, and the success of the race came naturally. He also won the Irish Grand National, and was the first horse to win the Champion Chase twice.
The Champion Chase has traditionally been dominated by Irish jockeys. Tom McEvoy and Tom McEwan were among the best amateur riders of the 1920s and 1930s. Tom Dreaper was also a leading amateur rider during the same period. However, he only took out a public licence in 1931.