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The Betfair Chase is a Grade One steeplechase race held at Haydock Park racecourse over a distance of three-miles each November for horses aged five years or older. It stands as the first Grade One contest of the British National Hunt season and is renowned for being the curtain-raiser for the new jumps campaign.  We have expert horse racing tips for the Grade One highlight.
Founded in 2005, the Betfair Chase, registered as the Lancashire Chase, is a three-mile contest featuring 18 steeplechase fences. It was introduced by bookmaking heavyweights Betfair with a view to promoting a new ‘Betfair Million’ initiative in which the horse that won the three biggest chase’s of the season, the Betfair Chase, King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup, would gain a £1 million bonus.

One year after its introduction, the ‘Betfair Million’ was claimed by jump racing great Kauto Star as the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding went on to triumph in each of the three premier steeplechase races that season. Bookmakers Betfair later ended their £1 million incentive in 2009. During the 2015/2016 National Hunt season, the Jockey Club introduced their own £1 million initiative for the three leading races, naming it jump racings Triple Crown. 

Despite the Betfair Chase boasting a short history, the race has quickly climbed the National Hunt hierarchy and is now viewed as one of the leading trials on route to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Haydock may not possess the demands of Prestbury Park, but the track’s left-handed set-up gives connections a guide to whether their horse can handle such a task. 

betfair chase history

The race possesses an illustrious history of winners since 2005, including, most notably, Kauto Star who was victorious in the race in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011. His success in the latter will be remembered as one of the most remarkable afternoon’s in the sports history. Aged 11, Kauto Star defied calls for his retirement when winning a fourth Betfair Chase with a flawless display of jumping to win by eight-lengths from Long Run in second. It was a performance that brought raw emotion to the Haydock attendees and produced, arguably, the greatest atmosphere on a racecourse for many years.

Kauto Star showcased the perfect attributes in winning the Betfair Chase throughout his stunning race career. The ability to travel at a strong pace, jump fluently and show a change of speed in the home straight are a trio of crucial ingredients for winning Haydock’s Grade One highlight. 

Kauto Star.

betfair chase tips

Haydock’s relatively level track places the emphasis more on speed than stamina in the Betfair Chase as the field are routinely brought along at a solid early gallop. In 2015, Cue Card travelled with a superb zest before showing a good burst of acceleration inside the home straight to win the renewal by a cosy seven-lengths. The horse then went on to reign victorious in the King George VI Chase before falling in the Cheltenham Gold Cup later that season.

haydock's grade one feature

It is not just top-class National Hunt racing, however, that takes to centre stage on Betfair Chase day. Haydock Park racecourse routinely host a two-day meeting of the finest hospitality for all members of society. There is plenty on throughout the afternoon to occupy families and keen racegoers with entertainment and leading fashion attracting plenty of interest.

Betfair Chase day is renowned for being one of Lancashire’s finest afternoons of sporting action as thousands flock to Haydock to witness the best National Hunt horses do battle for the £200,000 prize-fund. It is the first Grade One opportunity for Britain and Ireland’s steeplechase heavyweight to clash and place down their own early marker for the campaign ahead. 

The weather may be on the cold side but Haydock continuously produces an electric winter atmosphere that warms the hearts of racing enthusiasts and ensures a day of unparalleled sporting thrills.

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