The Victor Chandler Chase is a yearly National Hunt race over thirteen fences taking place every January at Ascot Racecourse and is open to horses aged five and over. The first race should have taken place in 1987 but was called off due to frost. The following year saw the weather get the better of the course again, with fog this time being the culprit., So it was in 1989 that the first running of the Victor Chandler Chase took place, and was won by the legendry Desert Orchid.
The race was originally a handicap race ran over a distance of two miles. A further one furlong was added in 2007 when it returned to its native Ascot.
Although it is currently registered under the name of the official title Clarence House Chase, it is still more commonly known and called by, the first sponsor of the race Victor Chandler. Victor Chandler sponsored the race up until 2013, after which Sodexo took over the sponsorship. In 2018 the race was sponsored by Royal Salute Whisky. Since 2019, Matchbox Betting Exchange has sponsored the Ascot race.
Due to renovations to Ascot, the race was relocated to four different locations. Warwick was the first racecourse to take the race in 1994, followed by Kempton Park in 97 and 99, Cheltenham in 2005, and finally back to Sandown in 2006. On its return to Ascot in 2007, the race was given the prestigious Grade 1 status and was no longer a handicap race.
Most Successful Horse
French-bred horse Un De Sceaux had a hat trick of successions between the years of 2016-2018 and has more wins than any other horse in the race Ridden by Ruby Walsh and trained by Willie Mullin, Un De Sceaux went off the 1/2 favorite in the 2016 event and never looked in danger, eventually winning by five lengths from Sire De Grugy.
The follow-up victory in 2017 saw the same jockey trainer partnership, Un De Sceaux again went off at 1/2 favorite and ran a beautiful race beating Uxinandre by five lengths. The race was initially called off due to the frost at Ascot and was transferred to Cheltenham Racecourse the weekend after. The change made little difference, and the double was all but in the bag after a tremendous leap at the fourth last put the horse in front and was never headed again.
The hat-trick win came in 2018, this time with Paul Townend on board. Not surprisingly, the odds on favorite at 4/9, the ten-year-old made all the running and was left clear two furlongs out, eventually coming out a seven-length winner from fellow Frech horse Speredek.
Four times winner of the event, Ruby Walsh tops the jockeys’ table, with consecutive wins on two separate occasions. Firstly in 2009 and 2010 on Master Minded and Twist Magic respectively, both trained by Paul Nicholls.
Rubys other two victories in the race were on the three times winner of the race and hot favorite Un De Sceaux, trained by Irish trainer Willie Mullins in 2017 and 2017.
With a record five wins to his name, Paul Nicholls is the stand out trainer of the Victor Chandler Chase. The first of the five wins came in 1999 when jockey Robert Thornton took up the reins on Call Equine.
The second victory came in 2009 with his horse Master Minded. The horse, under the guidance of top jockey Ruby Walsh, ran out a comfortable winner by sixteen lengths from second-placed Petit Robin.
The following year saw the third win for the trainer when French-bred Twist Magic, with Ruby Walsh in the saddle, taking the honors. Leading the race most of the way, Twist Magic, an 11/8 shot, eventually ran out a comfortable winner by 12 lengths from the Tony McCoy ride Petit Robin.
The second win for Master Minded in 2011 was Paul Nicholls fourth and meant the on-board jockey, Tony McCoy, going one better than in the previous years’ race when coming second on Petit Robin.
The seven-year-old Dodging Bullets became the trainers recorded the fifth winner in 2015. Ridden by the now-retired Irish jockey Noel Fehily, the horse ran on well to eventually win by three lengths from Sprinter Sacre.