Often with races that draw in the crowds, there’s a wealth of history leading to this moment, but that’s not really the case with the Betfair Chase. The Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase event was inauguirated in just 2005, making it very much a baby compared to races dripping in tradition which often go back decades or even centuries.
That being said, the Betfair Chase has certainly made an impact, and has had a lot to offer for those winning it and going on to achieve further success. The race is open to horses aged five and above and is held in November each year at Haydock Park. The 3 miles and 1½ furlongs race has nineteen fences to clear and the event has a generous purse of £200,000, with over £112,00 of that going to the winner.
The race, launched by Betfair, was designed to make waves, and as such a cool £1,000,000 bonus was initially on offer to the winner of the Betfair Chase ‘if’ they went on to win the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup too. With this being no easy task, the Lexus Chase was eventually included as an alternative path, and none other than Kauto Star nabbed the prize in 2006-2007. Following a couple more versions of the bonus, it was eventually dropped.
With yet another twist in the tail, the £1,000,000 offer was resurrected in 2015, this time by The Jockey Club as the ‘Chase Triple Crown’, with once again any horse winning this, King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup was entitled to the prize. Cue Card came very close but fell during the Gold Cup. While this monetary rollerocaster ride has now ended, symbolically it continues, with any horse winning the three races being awarded the newly minted ‘Kauto Star Trophy’.
Kauto Star is also the most successful horse in the Betfair Chase, winning it four times between 2006 and 2011. The leading jockey is Ruby Walsh with four wins also, and leading trainer Paul Nicholls with six wins.