There are three races that make use of the Grand National fences during the Aintree Festival and Friday’s ultra-competitive Topham Chase is one of them. It doesn’t require the same level of stamina as the Grand National itself, but a high standard of jumping is certainly the order of the day.
This race has been a regular feature at Aintree since 1949 and has been responsible for some hugely entertaining contests in this time. Although it is open to five year olds and older, you don’t tend to see too many winners at, or close to the minimum age. Since 1999 there have only been four Topham Chase champions aged seven or younger.
Topham Handicap Chase Past Winners
|2021||Livelovelaugh||15/2||Willie Mullins||Patrick Mullins|
|2019||Cadmium||8/1||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend|
|2018||Ultragold||14/1||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|2017||Ultragold||50/1||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|2016||Eastlake||22/1||Jonjo O’Neill||Barry Geraghty|
|2015||Rajdhani Express||10/1||Nicky Henderson||Sam Waley-Cohen|
|2014||Ma Filleule||9/1||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2013||Triolo D'Alene||14/1||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2012||Always Waining||11/1||Peter Bowen||Tom O'Brien|
About the Topham Chase
The Topham chase is a National Hunt Steeplechase which is run at the Aintree Race Course at its annual meeting in early April of each year and is one of the ‘best of the rest’ at the meeting which features the biggest race of them all. The horse racing extravaganza plays host to the Grand National that same weekend, and the Topham Chase is one of the three contests to use the Grand National fences. The other being the amateur outing known as the Foxhunters’ Chase.
This highly rated race has been an annual feature at the Grand National meeting since 1949, and draws with it the very best in horses, jockeys and trainers alike. From the years of 1989 to 2001 there was a name change applied to the steeplechase in order to honour the late course clerk John Hughes, before reverting back to its current title.
A History of Winners
Throughout the years this highly contested race has produced some formidable winners. Though due to the highly competitive field only a handful of horses have claimed first place more than once. Culworth in 1950 and 1951, Roughan in 1957 and 1958 then Ultragold in 2017 and 2018. However, it was in 2012 that the record was set by Always Waining by winning the race for the third time in a row.
The challenging run has seen many of the greatest from the world of National Hunt racing grace the track. From the jockey side of the contest there is no shortage of world class talent among the winners, though only two of them have managed to win the occasion three times. Those jockeys are none other than Richard Dunwoody (from 1986 to 1992) and Barry Geraghty, who managed three wins in only four years from 2013 to 2016. However, it is Geraghty who is still in the saddle these days so would edge ahead with the record if he can find one more win.
List of Multiple Topham Chase Winning Jockeys: 1949 – 2019
|Jockey||Year (Horse)||Year (Horse)||Year (Horse)|
|Barry Geraghty||2013 (Triolo D’Alene)||2014 (Ma Filleule)||2016 (Eastlake)|
|Richard Dunwoody||1986 (Glenrue)||1990 (Wont Be Gone Long)||1992 (The Antartex)|
|Harry Cobden||2017 (Ultragold)||2018 (Ultragold)|
|Sam Waley-Cohen||2006 (Liberthine)||2015 (Rajdhani Express)|
|Tom O’Brien||2011 (Always Waining)||2012 (Always Waining)|
|Ruby Walsh||2002 (Its Time For A Win)||2008 (Gwanko)|
|Tony McCoy||1998 (Cyfor Malta)||2000 (Northern Starlight)|
|Josh Gifford||1962 (Dagmar Gittell)||1966 (Walpole)|
|R Curran||1950 (Culworth)||1951 (Culworth)|
Similar to the jockeys who have secured the honours at the Topham Chase, the trainers list of winners is just as impressive, if not more so. The world-beating Nicky Henderson currently has the most wins with a record five successful rides, one ahead of Mr W Hall and Peter Bowen. Henderson shot his way up the wins table with three in a row from 2013 to 2015 and did so, rather impressively, with three different horses.
List of Multiple Topham Chase Winning Trainers: 1949 – 2019
|Wins||Trainer||First Win (Horse)||Last Win (Horse)|
|5||Nicky Henderson||1990 (Wont Be Gone Long)||2015 (Rajdhani Express)|
|4||Peter Bowen||2007 (Dunbrody Millar)||2012 (Always Waining)|
|4||W Hall||1950 (Culworth)||1974 (Clear Cut)|
|2||Willie Mullins||2002 (Its Time For A Win)||2019 (Cadmium)|
|2||Colin Tizzard||2017 (Ultragold)||2018 (Ultragold)|
|2||Jonjo O’Neill||2003 (Clan Royal)||2016 (Eastlake)|
|2||Nigel Twiston-Davies||1994 (Indian Tonic)||2009 (Irish Raptor)|
|2||Steve Brookshaw||1999 (Listen Timmy)||2004 (Cassia Heights)|
|2||Philip Hobbs||1997 (Bells Life)||2001 (Gower-Slave)|
|2||Martin Pipe||1998 (Cyfor Malta)||2000 (Northern Starlight)|
|2||Toby Balding||1969 (Dozo)||1993 (Sirrah Jay)|
|2||Arthur Stephenson||1971 (Rigton Prince)||1989 (Villierstown)|
|2||Fred Rimell||1972 (Sunny Lad)||1978 (Canit)|
|2||Peter Cazalet||1961 (Cupid’s Charge)||1973 (Inch Arran)|
|2||Bob Turnell||1964 (Red Tide)||1970 (Charter Flight)|
|2||Bobby Renton||1954 (Little Yid)||1962 (Dagmar Gittell)|
|2||Neville Crump||1957 (Roughan)||1958 (Roughan)|
A Mature Affair
Having looked at the previous results dating back to 1949 we are able to see a certain trend, as shown by the chart below.
It is quite clear that over the nine different age groups that have been successful, it is the ages of eight to 10 years old which have seen the majority of the success. These age groups have been winners 63% of the time, with 9 and 10 year olds alone having won 53% of the races since 1990.