He Queen Mother Champion Chase is run at the home of National Hunt Racing at the annual Cheltenham Festival in March. The race is run over a distance of two miles, consisting of thirteen fences and is open to horses aged five years and above.
First, run in 1959 and formerly known as the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase, it was given its current name in 1980, the year of the Queen Mothers’ 80th birthday. The much loved Queen Mother had the runner up in the race in 1976 with Game Spirit.
It wasn’t until 2008 that the race gained sponsorship when Seasons Holidays backed it for two years up to 2010 when it was then taken over by Sporting Bet from 2011-2013. Another online betting company, Bet Victor, then sponsored the race in 2014, after which current sponsor and online betting firm Betway took over.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the leading minimum distance National Hunt race in the country and takes place on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Most Successful Horse
With a hat trick of three consecutive wins between 1983-1985, Badsworth Boy is the leading horse in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The first victory in 1983 was won by a distance but could have all been over at the second last fence when the horse hit the top and nearly unseated jockey Robert Hearnshaw. There was no such trouble at the last fence has the Michael Dickinson trained horse cleared it comfortably and came home at a relative canter.
The second of Badsworth Boys’ wins came the following year, again ridden by Robert Hernshaw and trained by Michael Dickinson. Trouble-free jumping and a liking for the course saw another win by quite a distance and was never in doubt from quite a way out from home.
Monica Dickison took over the trainers’ role for the third and final win for Badswoth boy, with Robert Hernshaw taking up the reins again. The jockey seemingly glided the horse over the third last, and jumped into the lead at the second last, from then on there was no doubt. The final fence caused no problems, and eventual runner up Far Bridge was tailing behind by several lengths when Badswoth Boy passed the winning post.
With five wins each to their name, Pat Taaffe and more recently Barry Geraghty sit at the top table of jockeys when we talk about the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Two consecutive wins in the race in 1960 and 61 for Pat Taaffe on Fortrina were then followed with wins in 1964, 66, and finally in 1970, on Ben Stack, Flyingbolt, and Straight Fort, respectively.
Barry Geraghty’s five wins were a little more widespread. The first one is coming in 2003 on Moscow Flyer. It was two years later on the same horse when he gained his second Queen Mother triumph. It was another five years before the Irish born jockey was in the winners’ enclosure for his hat trick in the race, this time on a horse named Big Zeb.
Further victories on Finians Rainbow in 2012 and Sprinter Sacre the following year in 2013, saw Barry Geraghty draw level with Pat Taaffe on five wins.
With a dozen wins between them, Tom Dreaper and Nicky Henderson share the spoils of the top trainer with their six wins each. The first of Toms two wins came in 1960 and 1961 with two consecutive wins for Fortran. Ben Stack gave the trainer his third win in 1964, this was followed by. Flying Bolt in 1966 and Muir in 1969. The trainers’ final success came in 1970 when Straight Fort was victorious.
Five times jump racing champion trainer Nicky Henderson gained his first win in the race in 1992 with Remittance Man, ridden by Jamie Osborne. Wins for Finians Rainbow in 2102, Sprinter Sacre in 2013 and 2016, when Nico De Boinville rode it, and two consecutive victories for Irish bred horse Altior in 2018 and 2019, with Nico De Boinville once again his chosen jockey, took Nicholas John Hendersons’ tally to six wins and put him up there with Tom Dreaper is the top trainer.