Clarence House Chase

James Dooley avatar

Written By:


The Clarence House Chase at Ascot racecourse is one of the key trials for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

It was formerly run as the Victor Chandler Chase and did not become a conditions race until 2008.

Favourites have dominated the race since then with a string of top-class winners. Un De Sceaux won the race three times while other notable winners include Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior.

Find out more about the Clarence House Chase:

Clarence House Chase

Race Overview – The Clarence House Chase

The Grade 1 Clarence House Chase takes place over two miles and one furlong at Ascot racecourse in early January.

It is high on the list of targets for the top two-mile chasers in Britain and Ireland and is about quality rather than quantity.

It takes a high-class horse to win this race with all roads leading to the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Famous Clarence House Chase Winners & History

The race was first run as a handicap in 1989 with Desert Orchid defying top weight of 12 stone. That race is still widely regarded as one of the best National Hunt races of all time. “Dessie” conceded 22lbs to the high-class chaser Panto Prince and needed to dig deep to win by a head. He went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup that year in another epic duel, this time fighting back to overhaul Yahoo on bottomless ground.

The Clarence House Grade 1 has a much stronger association with the Champion Chase.

Viking Flagship (1994), Martha’s Son (1995) and Call Equiname (1999) all went on to win the top two-mile race at Cheltenham.

Well Chief (2005) was another high-class winner who would compete regularly at the festival. When the race became a conditions event in 2008, it immediately assumed the role of a major trial for the Champion Chase.

The 2008 running produced a shock result when David Pipe’s Tamarinbleu defeated odds-on favourite Twist Magic.

Favourites have farmed the race ever since with the brilliant Master Minded taking the prize in 2009 and 2011. He had won the Champion Chase in 2008 by 19 lengths, becoming the youngest-ever winner at the age of five. That performance made him the highest-rated steeplechaser in the world.

Sprinter Sacre won this race by 14 lengths before emulating Master Minded with a 19 lengths success at Cheltenham. He also won at Aintree and Punchestown, the first horse to win at all three major jumps festivals in the same season since Istabraq in 1999.

Six years’ later Henderson won the Clarence House with another superstar chaser in Altior. He won here after victories in the Tingle Creek Chase and the Desert Orchid Chase. His 7 lengths victory took him within one victory of equalling Big Buck’s record of 18 successive victories. He achieved this when winning the Champion Chase before setting a new landmark in the Celebration Chase at Sandown.

Un De Sceaux – the most successful horse in the race – wrote his own chapter in the history of the Clarence House Chase with a hat-trick of victories between 2016 and 2018. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, he would win 9 Grade 1 races during his career and earn in excess of £1.3 million in prize money. Success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase eluded him but he gained a well-deserved victory in the Ryanair Chase with a bold front-running display in 2017.

Key Clarence House Chase Trials

The Champion Chase of the previous season often dictates the shape of the betting market here.

Twelve of the last eighteen winners at Ascot racecourse went on to run in that race at the Cheltenham Festival, five of them winning, which shows what a good race it is and why it has been won by great horses over the years.

The Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown is the most significant trial for the Clarence House, producing five winners during that time. Defi Du Seuil won both races for Philip Hobbs in 2019-2020.

Favourites have a terrific record in the Clarence House Chase (Grade 1) since it became a conditions race in 2008.

Market leaders have accounted for ten of the last twelve renewals. Seven of those started odds-on; The Henderson duo Sprinter Sacre (2013) at 1-5 and Altior (2019) at 1-10. Un De Sceaux (2016 – 2018) started odds-on for all three of his victories, as was Master Minded in 2009 and 2011.

The two horses to break the domination of favourites in recent years were Somersby (2012) at 9-2 and Dodging Bullets (2015) at 7-2.

You must go back to Tamarinbleu at 12-1 (2008) for the last double-figure priced winner.

Clarence House Chase Stats

  • All recent winners had raced within the previous couple of months and had won at least three times over fences.
  • Around two-thirds had won their latest start with horses aged six to nine proving most successful.
  • Un De Sceaux did win it as a ten-year-old when completing his hat trick in 2018.
  • French-bred horses have done particularly well in the Clarence House Chase with thirteen victories in the last eighteen renewals.

Clarence House Chase Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Top Trainers and Jockeys of the Clarence House Chase

Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are the leading trainers in the history of the race with five winners apiece.

Nicholls won with Call Equiname (1999), Master Minded (2009, 2011), Twist Magic (2010) and Dodging Bullets (2015). Henderson’s successes were Big Matt (1996), Isio (2004), Tysou (2006), Sprinter Sacre (2013) and Altior (2019).

Ruby Walsh won the race four times, including twice aboard Un De Sceaux. That put him one ahead of Mick Fitzgerald who rode Nicky Henderson’s first three winners.

Clarence House Chase Facts

  • Clarence House Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom, run annually at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire.
  • It is open to horses aged five years and over and is run over a distance of two miles and four furlongs with thirteen fences to be jumped.
  • The race was first run in 1853 and was originally called the Clarence House Plate.
  • It was renamed the Clarence House Chase in 1969.
  • The race is currently sponsored by JLT and is part of the JLT Chase Series.
  • The race is one of the most prestigious steeplechases in the United Kingdom, with a prize fund of £200,000.
  • The race is usually run in January or February and is part of the Cheltenham Festival Trials Day.
  • The race is often used as a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Summary of the Clarence House Chase

The Clarence House Chase is a highly significant trial for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and regularly features one of the ante-post favourites for that race.

The impressive record of favourites illustrates that the race itself is not always the most competitive but it is certainly worth watching for your Cheltenham ante-post bets!

There are more races in January that you might enjoy, so make sure you check them out.

Check out our Cheltenham tips page if you enjoy watching races at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Here are all of January’s horse racing-related posts: