The pick of the Saturday cards in mid February comes at Ascot with their Betfair Chase Raceday. Just about topping the bill is this Grade 1 chase contest which gives it’s name to the meeting. The Betfair Ascot Chase can often draw a field small in numbers but high in quality.
Inaugurated in 1995, this has quickly become a key target for middle distance chasers with names such as Kauto Star, Monet’s Garden and Cue Card gracing the impressive list of past winners.
Betfair Ascot Chase Past Winners
|2021||Dashel Drasher||4/1||Jeremy Scott||Matt Griffiths|
|2020||Riders Onthe Storm||7/2||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2019||Cyrname||3/1||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
|2018||Waiting Patiently||2/1||Ruth Jefferson||Brian Hughes|
|2017||Cue Card||4/9||Colin Tizzard||Paddy Brennan|
|2016||Silviniaco Conti||2/1||Paul Nicholls||Noel Fehily|
|2015||Balder Succes||4/1||Alan King||Wayne Hutchinson|
|2014||Captain Chris||8/11||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2013||Cue Card||15/8||Colin Tizzard||Joe Tizzard|
|2012||Riverside Theatre||13/8||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2011||Riverside Theatre||11/10||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2010||Monet's Garden||11/2||Nicky Richards||Barry Geraghty|
|2009||Voy Por Ustedes||6/5||Alan King||Robert Thornton|
|2008||Kauto Star||4/11||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
|2007||Monet's Garden||11/10||Nicky Richards||Tony Dobbin|
|2006||Our Vic||2/1||Martin Pipe||Timmy Murphy|
|2005||It Takes Time||14/1||Martin Pipe||Jamie Moore|
|2004||Hand Inn Hand||15/2||Henry Daly||Mark Bradburne|
|2003||Tiutchev||15/8||Martin Pipe||Tony McCoy|
|2002||Tresor de Mai||9/2||Martin Pipe||Tony McCoy|
|2001||Tiutchev||11/8||Nicky Henderson||Mick Fitzgerald|
About the Ascot Chase: A Platform For The Greats
The high-class National Hunt action comes thick and fast between the New Year and the Cheltenham Festival in March, and the beautiful Berkshire venue of Ascot does its bit to keep the momentum going with this excellent event held in February each year.
Inaugurally run in 1995 as the Comet Chase, the race has undergone a number of sponsorship changes over the years, with betting giant Betfair taking over the reins in 2009. The race has taken place at Ascot every year since, barring a two-year soiree to Lingfield Park as Ascot underwent extensive renovations in 2005 and 2006. Initially a midweek affair, having taken place on a Wednesday until 1997, the race has been a big Saturday contest every year since.
Initially run over a distance of 2m3½f, the distance was increased to 2m5f in 2008 and now sees 17 fences standing between the competitors and glory. A top-tier Grade 1 event, the contest is open to all runners aged five and older.
Legends Leading the Way
This race may not have been with us for all that long, but it has already compiled quite a roll of honour. A quick glance at the table below gives some idea as to the quality of performer it often takes to prevail in this race.
Notable Ascot Chase Winners
|Kauto Star||Ascot Chase||2008|
|Cheltenham Gold Cup||2007, 2009|
|Betfair Chase||2006, 2007, 2009, 2011|
|King George VI Chase||2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011|
|Cue Card||Ascot Chase||2013, 2017|
|Betfair Chase||2013, 2015, 2016|
|King George VI Chase||2015|
|One Man||Ascot Chase||1998|
|Queen Mother Champion Chase||1998|
|Hennessy Gold Cup||1994|
|King George VI Chase||1995, 1996|
|Silviniaco Conti||Ascot Chase||2016|
|Aintree Bowl||2014, 2015|
|King George VI Chase||2013, 2014|
Big Names Out In Front
A big race, won by a selection of the biggest names in the equine world, it isn’t too surprising that it is those to have regularly finished atop the training tree who have led the way here over the years. 15-time Champion Trainer winner Martin Pipe heads the standings alongside 11-time champ Paul Nicholls, swiftly followed by Nicky Henderson who has five trainers titles to his name.
Barry Geraghty has been the man to follow in the saddle with three wins as of 2020. Still going strong in the colours of JP McManus, he may well add to this total further before he hangs up the silks.
Eight Is Great
It can often be tough for the younger chasers to make their presence felt against their more experienced opposition, particularly in top level events such as this. Strong Promise defied that trend here when coming home in front as a six year old in the 1997 edition. The Geoff Hubbard runner didn’t quite go on to achieve what might have been expected though, winning just one more race in his career, although he did narrowly miss out on winning this race again when second to One Man in 1998.
At the other end of the scale we have the grand old grey Monet’s Garden. A 10-time winner in Graded company, he landed this prize for the second time at the grand old age of 12 in 2010.
It is the eight year old runners who have fared best here overall though with ten wins in the first 26 editions of the race for an impressive 38% strike rate.