CHAMPION CHASE

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the most prestigious two-mile chase of the year and feature race on Day 2 of the Festival.

Ran at breakneck speed by the fastest chasers in training, fencing accurately is crucial - one mistake and any chance of winning is likely to have gone.

The Queen Mother's name was added to the race title in 1980 in recognition of her support of jumps racing.

Champion Chase Trophy
Grade 1 | 5yo+ | Wednesday 15:30
2 miles | 13 fences | Old Course
Weight: 11st 10lb | Allowance: 7lb for mares
Prize money (2023): £392,120 | 1st: £226,672

Many legends of the sport made their names in this race, such as Badsworth Boy, Pearlyman, Viking Flagship, Moscow Flyer, Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior.

But perhaps the greatest two-mile chaser of them all was Flyingbolt, who cruised to victory in the 1966 Champion Chase at 1/5, the shortest price in the history of the race.

Nicky Henderson & Paul Nicholls have each trained 6 winners
18 of the 23 winners this century had run at the Festival before (14 had won)
7 of the last 13 Arkle Chase winners from the previous season to have run have won
10 of the last 15 favourites were sent off at odds-on (3 won)
11 of the last 32 favourites won
Updated to include 2023 renewal

Notably, five of the last six odds-on shots have failed to win the Champion Chase, including the last three:

Un De Sceaux (4/6) in 2016, Douvan (2/9) in 2017, Defi Du Seuil (2/5) in 2020, Chacun Pour Soi (8/13) in 2021 & Shishkin (5/6) in 2022.

Unsurprisingly, previous Festival form is a huge trends plus and the Arkle Novices' Chase is the first place to look, as several horses have won both races.

The likes of Flagship Uberalles, Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Voy Por Ustedes, Sizing Europe, Sprinter Sacre, Altior and Put The Kettle On have all completed that double.

CHAMPION CHASE ODDS

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2023
9
175
11-10
2022
8
175
11-10
2021
7
156
11-3
2020
9
165
11-10
2019
9
175
11-10

RECENT WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2023
Energumene
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
6/5f
2022
Energumene
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
5/2
2021
Put The Kettle On
Aidan Coleman / Henry De Bromhead
17/2
2020
Politologue
Harry Skelton / Paul Nicholls
6/1
2019
Altior
Nico de Boinville / Nicky Henderson
4/11f
2018
Altior
Nico de Boinville / Nicky Henderson
Evensf
2017
Special Tiara
Noel Fehily / Henry de Bromhead
11/1
2016
Sprinter Sacre
Nico de Boinville / Nicky Henderson
5/1
2015
Dodging Bullets
Sam Twiston-Davies / Paul Nicholls
9/2
2014
Sire De Grugy
Jamie Moore / Gary Moore
11/4f
2013
Sprinter Sacre
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
1/4f
2012
Finian's Rainbow
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
4/1
2011
Sizing Europe
Andrew Lynch / Henry de Bromhead
10/1
2010
Big Zeb
Barry Geraghty / Colm Murphy
10/1
2009
Master Minded
Ruby Walsh / Paul Nicholls
4/11f
2008
Master Minded
Ruby Walsh / Paul Nicholls
3/1
2007
Voy Por Ustedes
Robert Thornton / Alan King
5/1
2006
Newmill
Andrew McNamara / John Joseph Murphy
16/1
2005
Moscow Flyer
Barry Geraghty / Jessica Harrington
6/4f
2004
Azertyuiop
Ruby Walsh / Paul Nicholls
15/8
2003
Moscow Flyer
Barry Geraghty / Jessica Harrington
7/4f
2002
Flagship Uberalles
Richard Johnson / Philip Hobbs
7/4f
2001

Festival Cancelled

2000
Edredon Bleu
Tony McCoy / Henrietta Knight
7/2
Scoll down for previous Champion Chase winners

Energumene 2023

Energumene was Willie Mullins' first Queen Mother Champion Chase winner in 2022.

The highly-anticipated showdown between him and Shishkin was an anti-climax, with the favourite pulled up in soggy conditions.

But the victor, in the blue and white colours of Tony Bloom, also owner of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, relished the heavy ground:

‘THE RAIN REALLY HELPED US, WE WERE PRAYING FOR RAIN AND WERE ALL GETTING REALLY WET, BUT WE’RE DELIGHTED TO BE WET’

Put The Kettle On became the first mare in history to win the Champion Chase in 2021.

The 2020 Arkle winner led for much of the way until headed by odds-on shot Chacun Pour Soi on the run to the final fence.

But she rallied gamely to secure a battling victory under Aidan Coleman, as the Willie Mullins runner visibly faltered on the run-in:

‘IF YOU COULD BOTTLE WHAT SHE HAD I WOULDN’T HAVE TO RIDE AGAIN. THIS MARE IS SOMETHING ELSE. I DON’T HAVE TO DO A LOT’

Fourth and then second to Altior in the last two renewals, Politologue gave owner John Hales his third winner of the race in 2020 (following One Man & Azertyuiop).

It was jockey Harry Skelton's first ride in the Queen Mother Champion Chase:

‘I OWE SO MUCH TO THE HALES FAMILY. THEY HAVE KNOWN ME SINCE I WAS A LITTLE KID. YOU DREAM OF WINNING THESE THINGS’

Altior made it four Cheltenham Festival wins in four years in 2019, extending his winning sequence over jumps to a record-equalling 18.

Having set off at long odds-on of 4/11, the defending champion did not have things all his own way but was driven to victory by Nico de Boinville in the closing strides.

It was the jockey's third Champion Chase success after his win on Altior the previous year and previously aboard Sprinter Sacre:

‘I DON’T THINK I RODE SPRINTER SACRE AT HIS PEAK, BUT I AM RIDING ALTIOR AT HIS PEAK AND, FOR ME, HE IS THE BEST THAT I’VE RIDDEN’

He had shrugged off a late fitness scare for a long-awaited clash with Douvan in 2018.

Douvan was leading when falling four out, while Altior was being niggled by Nico de Boinville down the hill. But when they straightened for home his class kicked in:

‘WHAT A SUPERSTAR HE IS AND, BOY, AM I LUCKY TO RIDE HIM...HE’S A FREAK’

Special Tiara won at his fourth attempt at the Champion Chase in 2017, just holding off the fast-finishing Fox Norton.

That wasn't in the script, with a procession expected for 2/9 favourite Douvan (winner of the Supreme & Arkle in previous years).

Reportedly the subject of a £500,000 bet, Douvan jumped poorly and was never in contention, finishing seventh under Ruby Walsh and later found to be lame behind.

Victorious jockey Noel Fehily admitted he was shocked to beat a horse that had been winning races with such authority:

‘I DIDN’T THINK I COULD BEAT DOUVAN, BUT I THOUGHT I HAD A GREAT CHANCE OF BEING SECOND’

Sprinter Sacre produced one of the most extraordinary Festival comebacks in 2016, returning to regain his crown having spent two years in the wilderness.

The race pitched the last three Champion Chase winners up against the previous year's brilliant Arkle hero, Un De Sceaux.

But Nicky Henderson's star, whose career had stuttered due to a heart problem, swept past him before the final turn and was in complete command up the hill:

‘IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG JOURNEY - THOSE WERE TWO VERY, VERY GRIM YEARS’

Three of the previous four winners lined up in the 2015 Champion Chase, but it was a new kid on the block who came out on top.

Dodging Bullets was Paul Nicholls' first Festival winner over fences since Kauto Star in 2009.

Bred by flat jockey Frankie Dettori, the winner came in as the form horse having won the season’s other major prizes over 2 miles, the Tingle Creek & Clarence House:

‘HE WAS BRED TO WIN THE DERBY, BUT THIS IS SECOND BEST’

Jamie Moore rode Sire De Grugy to victory for his trainer father Gary in 2014.

It was a second Cheltenham Festival winner for Gary and a first for Jamie, who returned to the other jockeys applauding him back in front of the weighing room:

‘WHEN I PASSED RUBY I ASKED HIM, WHAT DO I DO HERE?...AFTER HE’D FINISHED GIVING ME A RIDING LESSON, I MADE MY MOVE’

Surely the greatest performance of the modern era was when Sprinter Sacre trounced a high-class field of multiple graded winners in 2013.

That earned him an official rating of 188.

The 1/4 shot sauntered through the race and cleared away to by win by 19 lengths, with Barry Geraghty sat motionless on him:

‘HE IS SCINTILLATING, HE IS SPARKLING, HE IS SPINE TINGLING’

In 2012 Finian's Rainbow won a duel with the reigning champion Sizing Europe, with 2010 winner Big Zeb plugging on for third.

It is debatable whether the result would have been the same had the horses not had to steer past the last fence.

Barry Geraghty on Finian's Rainbow held the best position on the outside of Andrew Lynch on Sizing Europe, who appeared to suffer the greater loss of impetus.

But while Lynch thought it cost him the race, Geraghty disagreed:

‘BEING FORCED OUT ROUND THE LAST FENCE MADE NO DIFFERENCE. IT WAS A CRACKING RACE BETWEEN TWO TOP-CLASS HORSES, NO QUARTER GIVEN OR ASKED’

Sizing Europe led from a long way out in 2011, a race which included the winners of the last three renewals: Big Zeb and Master Minded.

A favourite of trainer Henry de Bromhead and winner of the Arkle 12 months earlier, he returned to finish second in the Champion Chase the following two years:

‘I’M VERY PROTECTIVE OF HIM. HE’S LIKE A CHILD TO ME. JUST ASK MY WIFE, SHE’LL TELL YOU THAT I SPEND MORE TIME WITH HIM THAN ANYONE ELSE’

The 2010 renewal had revolved around Master Minded's bid to emulate Badsworth Boy and win a third Champion Chase.

But although the 4/5 favourite got into contention rounding the turn, he was left behind by the first two and faded to fourth.

Big Zeb's career had been punctuated by a clutch of bad falls, but he pinged the last and eased clear of Forpadydeplasterer - winner of the previous season's Arkle.

It was a second big win for Colm Murphy, who had trained Brave Inca to win the Champion Hurdle in 2006, while winning jockey Barry Geraghty was left impressed:

‘I WOULDN’T SAY HE’S AS GOOD A HORSE AS MOSCOW FLYER BUT TODAY WAS CERTAINLY AS GOOD A PERFORMANCE AS MOSCOW PUT IN’

In 2009 Master Minded became the first horse to defend his Champion Chase crown since Viking Flagship back in 1995.

The 4/11 shot achieved it in more workmanlike fashion than his extraordinary victory a year earlier, but jockey Ruby Walsh was satisfied:

‘HE WAS PROBABLY BETTER BEFORE, BUT THAT’S HOW GOOD HE IS, HE DOESNT HAVE TO BE AT HIS BEST EVERY DAY AND HE CAN STILL BEAT THEM’

Master Minded was the first five-year-old to win the Champion Chase in 2008.

He left the reigning champion and fellow French-bred Voy Por Ustedes trailing in his wake, cantering to a 19-length victory in a manner that has to be seen to be believed.

That earned him a rating of 186, higher than achieved by Moscow Flyer (180):

‘HE COULD BE ONE OF THE GREATS, HE’S ABSOLUTELY HACKED UP’

Voy Por Ustedes 2007

The 2006 renewal was notable for being the only time that Moscow Flyer (aged 12) and Kauto Star (aged 6) met.

Kauto Star fell at the third fence, which badly interfered with Moscow Flyer, who was always struggling to get into the race from then onwards and was retired after.

Newmill, who had been running in hurdle races and chases that season, made most of the running and bounded up the hill to land a convincing win ahead of Fota Island.

It was a first Festival winner for both jockey Andrew McNamara and trainer John Murphy, who had backed him months earlier at 100/1:

‘I THOUGHT THAT HE WOULD BE IN THE FIRST THREE TODAY AND I WAS GENUINELY CONFIDENT WITHOUT BEING ARROGANT’

In 2005 Moscow Flyer regained his crown in what had been billed as a three-horse race with defending champion Azertyuiop and the 2004 Arkle winner, Well Chief.

He had unseated jockey Barry Geraghty when defending his title 12 months earlier.

But this time the eleven-year-old jumped effortlessly and held off the challenge of Well Chief (almost half his age).

Victory took his record over fences to 18 wins from 18 completed starts:

‘TURNING FOR HOME HE PRICKED HIS EARS AND STARTED TAKING THE MICK AND HE REALLY WINGED THE LAST’

In 2004 a head-to-head between Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop, winner of the 2003 Arkle, had been much anticipated.

And the French-bred seven-year-old took full advantage of Barry Geraghty's misfortune at the fourth last, going clear two out to win comfortably under a jubilant Ruby Walsh:

‘I LOOKED BACK DOWN THE HILL AND COULDN’T SEE BARRY. I WONDERED WHERE HE HAD GONE’

Touted as Ireland's banker of the meeting, Moscow Flyer obliged with a scintillating victory in the 2003 Champion Chase, to the relief of trainer Jessica Harrington.

The previous year's Arkle Chase winner was foot-perfect apart from brushing through the fourth-last fence and was was left clear when Latalomne fell two out:

‘THE LAST HOUR HAS BEEN THE LONGEST OF MY LIFE. WHEN YOU REALISE YOU HAVE THE WHOLE IRISH NATION ON YOUR SHOULDERS, THE PRESSURE IS REALLY ON YOU’

Flagship Uberalles, winner of the Arkle in 1999, won the 2002 Champion Chase under a spirited ride from Richard Johnson.

A half-brother of the 1994 & 1995 winner, Viking Flagship, he was also third in this race in 2000 and runner-up in 2004:

‘HE JUST DIDN’T HANDLE THE GOING ALL THE WAY. BUT IT SHOWS HOW TOUGH HE IS. HE IS SO BRAVE AND REALLY FOUGHT BACK FROM THE SECOND LAST’

One of the most memorable finishes of all-time at the Festival was Edredon Bleu's ding-dong battle with Direct Route and Flagship Uberalles in the 2000 renewal.

Headed close home, AP McCoy galvanized his mount to win by the shortest of margins and secure his only victory in this race:

‘IT’S DIFFERENT NOW BECAUSE THE FENCE IS NO LONGER THERE, BUT I ALWAYS SAID COMING DOWN TO THAT SECOND-LAST FENCE IN A CHAMPION CHASE WAS AS BIG A THRILL AS YOU COULD GET RIDING’

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
1999
Call Equiname
Mick Fitzgerald / Paul Nicholls
7/2
1998
One Man
Brian Harding / Gordon Richards
7/2
1997
Martha's Son
Rodney Farrant / Tim Forster
9/1
1996
Klairon Davis
Francis Woods / Arthur Moore
9/1
1995
Viking Flagship
Charlie Swan / David Nicholson
5/2f
1994
Viking Flagship
Adrian Maguire / David Nicholson
4/1
1993
Deep Sensation
Declan Murphy / Josh Gifford
11/1
1992
Remittance Man
Jamie Osborne / Nicky Henderson
Evensf
1991
Katabatic
Simon McNeill / Andrew Turnell
9/1
1990
Barnbrook Again
Hywel Davies / David Elsworth
11/10f
1989
Barnbrook Again
Simon Sherwood / David Elsworth
7/4f
1988
Pearlyman
Tom Morgan / John Edwards
15/8f
1987
Pearlyman
Peter Scudamore / John Edwards
13/8f
1986
Buck House
Tommy Carmody / Mouse Morris
5/2
1985
Badsworth Boy
Robert Earnshaw / Monica Dickinson
11/8
1984
Badsworth Boy
Robert Earnshaw / Michael Dickinson
8/13f
1983
Badsworth Boy
Robert Earnshaw / Michael Dickinson
2/1
1982
Rathgorman
Kevin Whyte / Michael Dickinson
100/30
1981
Drumgora
Frank Berry / Arthur Moore
25/1
1980
Another Dolly*
Sam Morshead / Fred Rimell
33/1
1979
Hilly Way
Ted Walsh / Peter McCreery
7/1
1978
Hilly Way
Tommy Carmody / Peter McCreery
7/1
1977
Skymas
Mouse Morris /  Brian Lusk
7/2
1976
Skymas
Mouse Morris /  Brian Lusk
8/1
1975
Lough Inagh
Sean Barker / Jim Dreaper
100/30
1974
Royal Relief
Bill Smith / Edward Courage
6/1
1973
Inkslinger
Tommy Carberry / Dan Moore
6/1
1972
Royal Relief
Bill Smith / Edward Courage
15/8
1971
Crisp
Paul Kelleway / Fred Winter
3/1
1970
Straight Fort
Pat Taaffe / Tom Dreaper
7/4f
1969
Muir
Ben Hannon / Tom Dreaper
15/2
1968
Drinny's Double
Frank Nash / Bob Turnell
6/1
1967
Drinny's Double
Frank Nash / Bob Turnell
7/2
1966
Flyingbolt
Pat Taaffe / Tom Dreaper
1/5f
1965
Dunkirk
Dave Dick / Peter Cazalet
8/1
1964
Ben Stack
Pat Taaffe / Tom Dreaper
2/1
1963
Sandy Abbot
Stan Mellor / George Owen
5/1
1962
Piperton
Dave Dick / Archie Thomlinson
100/6
1961
Fortria
Pat Taaffe / Tom Dreaper
2/5f
1960
Fortria
Pat Taaffe / Tom Dreaper
15/8f
1959
Quita Que
Bunny Cox / Dan Moore
4/9f
All Queen Mother Champion Chase winners prior to 2000

* Another Dolly finished second to Chinrullah, who was subsequently disqualified after failing a post-race urine test

Call Equiname came with a strong late run to win a thrilling Champion Chase in 1999.

Mick Fitzgerald, renowed for his waiting rides, held on to the grey for as long as possible before producing him to see off the previous year's Grand Annual winner, Edredon Bleu.

It was the injury-plagued nine-year-old's fifth win from just five races over fences in three years for trainer Paul Nicholls:

‘HE IS A HORSE THAT NEEDS HOLDING UP AND THAT’S WHY MICK WAS ON BOARD...I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT MICK’S STYLE WOULD BE VITAL’

One of the most popular Champion Chase winners was the enigmatic One Man.

The spring-heeled grey had looked a certain winner of the 1996 Cheltenham Gold Cup three from home, before his tank suddenly emptied.

And it was the same story 12 months later.

But over this shorter trip in 1998 he jumped in characteristically exhilarating style and kept on up the hill under Brian Harding.

Remarkably, it was the first time that the ten-year-old, winner of a Hennessy Gold Cup and two King George VI Chases over 3 miles, had ever run in a 2-mile chase:

‘WE WERE GOING A RIGHT GALLOP AND I WONDERED HOW LONG WE COULD KEEP IT UP’

Martha's Son, trained by Tim Forster, won the 1997 Queen Mother Champion Chase having not completed a race in 15 months.

The ten-year-old shrugged off his lengthy absence due to leg trouble and a fall on his comeback, to battle past front-runners Ask Tom and Viking Flagship.

The favourite, Stong Promise, was going well when blundering three out, while jockey Rodney Farrant produced the winner for a late run to register his first Festival success:

‘I DIDN’T WANT TO HIT THE FRONT TOO SOON. I JUST GAVE HIM A LEAD FOR AS LONG AS I COULD AND LET HIM GO’

Klairon Davis swept through to deny Viking Flagship a Champion Chase hat-trick in an epic renewal in 1996.

A blunder at the ditch four-out looked to have fatally compromised his challenge, with Sound Man and Viking Flagship battling it out ahead.

But coaxed back into contention by Franny Woods, the trio jumped the last as one before Klairon Davis sprinted clear.

His victory was remarkable as he had been seriously lame six weeks earlier and nursed back to health by trainer Arthur Moore.

Moore had also saddled Drumgora to win the race in 1981, while his father Dan won with Inkslinger in 1973 & Quita Que in 1959:

‘THAT, WITHOUT A DOUBT, WAS THE GREATEST THRILL OF MY RACING LIFE. I HAD THIS RACE IN VIEW FOR THE LAST 12 MONTHS’

In 1995 Viking Flagship defended his crown in gutsy style to give jockey Charlie Swan his first Festival winner over fences.

Taking up the running approaching the second last, he again showed too much resolution for 1993 winner Deep Sensation, with the 1994 Arkle winner Nakir in third.

One of racing's most courageous stars, he ran in three more Champion Chases in 1996, 1997 & 1998, finishing 2nd, 3rd & 5th:

‘HALF-WAY DOWN THE BACK I WASN’T SURE HE’D KEEP GOING BUT WHEN HE GOT TO THE TOP OF THE HILL HE CAME OFF IT REALLY STRONGLY’

The 1994 Queen Mother Champion Chase served up a truly iconic Festival finale.

Market leader Remittance Man crashed out at the third-last, leaving Travado, Deep Sensation and Viking Flagship to battle it out in a three-way fight to the line.

Deep Sensation was cruising as the trio headed to the final fence as one, but it was Adrian Maguire's mount who dug deepest on the run-in to pip Travado by a neck:

‘THIS IS MY FIRST RIDE IN THE RACE. THEY GO VERY QUICK AND THERE’S NO ROOM FOR ERROR’

Declan Murphy memorably cajoled Deep Sensation to victory in 1993 as the billed showdown between arch-rivals Katabatic and Waterloo Boy failed to materialise.

He was one of ten winners at the Festival between 1988 & 1995 for Josh Gifford, who had won four Festival races as a jockey but none in his first 17 years as a trainer.

The winner, who had a reputation for downing tools when in front, battled courageously on the run-in to hold off fellow outsider Cyphrate:

‘HE RAN EVERY YARD TO THE LINE, ALTHOUGH YOU CAN NEVER BE SURE HE’S GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU. HE’S SMART AND INTELLIGENCE IN A HORSE CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING’

Remittance Man galloped to victory in a battle royale with the defending champion Katabatic and Waterloo Boy in 1992.

Turning into the straight it was primed to be a vintage renewal, with all three horses relishing the challenge ahead.

The front two jumped the last virtually in unison, with Katabatic fractionally behind, but the previous year's Arkle winner found the greater turn of foot on the run-in.

Nicky Henderson's brilliant chaser will long be remembered as one of the greatest jumpers of a fence at Cheltenham:

‘IT WAS BILLED AS A GREAT RACE AND IT FULLY LIVED UP TO EXPECTATIONS. THEY WERE GOING A MILLION MILES AN HOUR OVER THE LAST FOUR FENCES, IT WAS SO EXCITING’

The Andy Turnell-trained Katabatic won the 1991 Champion Chase to follow up his victory in the previous year's Grand Annual.

Winning jockey Simon McNeill, on his only booked ride at the Festival, had his mount tucked in behind leaders Young Snugfit and favourite Waterloo Boy at the final turn.

Still third going to the last, McNeill bravely drove him between the two front runners at the final fence before sprinting clear:

‘I DID NOT KNOW WHETHER TO GO TO THE INSIDE OR GO TO THE OUTSIDE BUT THEN THE SPLIT CAME AND WE WENT THROUGH THE GAP’

Barnbrook Again had to fight all the way to retain his Champion Chase crown in 1990.

Waterloo Boy launched his challenge approaching the last fence and landed ahead, but was just headed in a stirring duel to the line, with both horses hanging right.

Welsh jockey Hywel Davies had ended a ten-year wait for a Festival winner the previous day and followed up in style:

‘HE’S THE BEST I’VE EVER RIDDEN. CLASS, SHEER CLASS’

Barnbrook Again 1989

Pearlyman 1988

Pearlyman 1987

Buck House 1986

In 1985 Badsworth Boy achieved the feat of being the first and so far only three-time winner of the Champion Chase, ridden each time by Robert Earnshaw:

Tom Dreaper has the best record of any trainer in the Champion Chase, winning six runnings with Fortria (1960 & 61), Ben Stack (1964), Flyingbolt (1966), Muir (1969) and Straight Fort (1970).