Betfair Chase

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.

BetVictor Gold Cup

The BetVictor Gold Cup  first took place in 1960. It’s a National Hunt race that takes place in Cheltenham in mid November each year as part of The November Meeting. The Grade 3 race, which is on the second day oF the three day meeting, is run over a 2 miles and 4½ furlongs course and horses aged four years old and upward are eligable to enter.

As with many of these races, it’s had a miriad of sponsors over the years, from Mackeson in the early days, to Murphy’s , Paddy Power and others, but from 2016 and to this day, it is known as the BetVictor Gold Cup.

While not necessarily seen as ‘the one to win’ when compared to some other races with more gravitas and history, the purse for the race is still significant, at the £160,000 + level, with over £90,000 going to the winner. In 2017 that winner was the playfully named Splash of Ginge ridden by Tom Bellamy and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. The outsider won at the very nice price of 25-1, while 4-1 favourite Kylemore Lough pulled up.

Stand outs over the years of the BetVictor Gold Cup include the four wins by leading jockey Tony McCoy Cyfor Malta (1998), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001), Exotic Dancer (2006) and 8 wins by trainer Martin Pipe, who clearly took a shine to the event.

Racing Post Trophy

The Racing Post Trophy is a group 1 event that takes place in October of each year at the Doncaster racecourse. It’s a one mile race for two year old horses and is a relatively new race compared to some, first taking place in 1961. Nevertheless, it’s a much anticipated race, in fact one of the top two year old races of the season.

As with many well known races, it’s had numerous sponsors over the years, including The Observer and William Hill, as well as different race titles ‘Observer Gold Cup’, ‘Futurity Stakes’ etc. The Racing Post trophy , as it is now known, is the last Group 1 race of the flat racing season.

One noteable goal of the race is to win both the Racing Post Trophy and the Epsom Derby the following year. The achievement has been coined the ‘Derby Double’ and so far five horses have ‘done the double’ : Reference Point (1986, 1987), High Chaparral (2001, 2002), Motivator (2004, 2005), Authorized (2006, 2007) and Camelot (2011, 2012).

Two absolute legends of racing are to this day still the leading jockey’s of the event, with both Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery, both with 5 wins. Leading trainer is yet another household name, Henry Cecil with 10 wins from 1969 to 1993.

Winner of the 2017 Racing Post Trophy was 13/8 Saxon Warrior, ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Aidan O’Brien. The winner took 1st prize winnings of £122,210 from a £215,500 prize pot.

Champion Stakes

The Champion Stakes is a group 1 event first taking place in 1877. It’s well up there as a flat race that draws immense excitement and competition each and every year. At a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs at Ascot racecourse, the Champion Stakes  takes place in October,  on British Champion’s Day. This fact alone informs you on the quality of the event.

In fact, so respected is the race that for a period of time the Champion Stakes was part of the Breeder’s Cup Challenge series which encompasses races held around the world (the US, Canada, South America, South Africa, Europe, Japan and Australia) with the prize of automatic entry into a Breeder’s Cup race.

The Champion Stakes was originally held at Newmarket, and moved to Ascot in 2011 to become part of the aforementioned Champion’s Day at Ascot. Understandably with such a stellar reputation, the race comes with a healthy prize pot. In fact the £1.3m purse for the race is said to be ‘the most valuable mile and a quarter race in Europe’. It’s the final race of the British Champion’s Series Middle Distance category and attracts the best of the best of middle distance runner.

The reputation of the race is second to none and that shows in the trainers that have this on their target list. No better illustration can be given than highlighting the fact that Frankel, ridden by Tom Queally, won the race for Sir Henry Cecil in 2012. It was the 14th straight win of Frankel’s career and in fact his final race.

This isn’t Tom Queally’s sole success at the event either, with wins on Twice Over (aptly twice!) in 2009 and 2010. The 2018 winner of the Champion Stakes was Cracksman, ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden. Prize money for first place is currently £737,230 .