The 2018/19 National Hunt season is almost in full swing, with several Cheltenham Gold Cup winners set to throw their hats into the ring this weekend as they try to wrestle the Blue Riband crown away from Native River. Meanwhile, this season’s Champion Chase could be a thrilling contest between last year’s winner Altior and last year’s Arkle winner Footpad.
However, just for a bit of fun, we thought we’d give you a chance to test your racing knowledge by naming the top 10 chasers of all time from the following short descriptions. The answers are at the bottom of the page.
It’s hard to believe this horse’s last run saw him being beaten in a Hunter Chase at Carlisle in 2016, but he was well past his best by then. Before then, he had announced himself at the top table with a win in the what was officially the 2010 King George, though the race was actually run in 2011 having been postponed. Two months later, he won the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, beating previous winners Kauto Star, Denman, and Imperial Call. He also won the 2012 King George.
This beautiful bay horse, who had four white socks and a white blaze, spent most of his hurdles career seeing the backside of Istabraq, though he did beat him on one occasion. However, he was always only biding time until he embarked on a career as a chaser. His bold-jumping style instantly captured the imagination of the racing public, who cheered him home when he won the 2002 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He returned to Cheltenham the following year to win the Champion Chase. He then fell in the 2004 Champion Chase before becoming the first horse to regain his Champion Chase title when winning the race for a second time in 2005.
This horse became the first Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to be trained by a female trainer in 1984, after being sent-off favourite for the race following an impressive win in that season’s Welsh National. He then went on to win the following season’s Hennessey Gold Cup and King George. His trainer Jenny Pitman described him as a “Rolls-Royce against stock cars”.
You’ll need to have been watching horseracing for a long time to remember this one but, even in his brief career, his performances earned him a place as the seventh highest-rated chaser of all time. Those performances included a 20-length Champion Chase victory in 1965, whilst he also beat Mill House by 15-lengths in a race the following season. He also looked likely to win the 1965 King George but, after looking likely to win for most of the race, he suffered a fatal fall.
One of racing’s all-time favourites with crowds, this front-running bold-jumping legend was quick enough to win a Tingle Creek but also had the stamina to win both a Whitbread and Irish Grand National. However, what he is most famous for is winning the King George four times. He also won the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
This giant horse measured 18-hands and won both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George in 1963. However, he is widely considered one of the unluckiest horses ever, as he was competing in the same short era as the highest-rated chaser of all-time.
This horse’s early career didn’t quite go to plan, as he fell in a novice chase at Exeter before nearly pulling off the most amazing feat ever when Ruby Walsh remounted and still nearly won. The following season, he progressed so quickly that he won the Tingle Creek, but then fell when favourite for the Champion Chase. His trainer then decided to step him up n trip to 3-miles, which proved the right move as he won the Betfair Chase, King George, and Cheltenham Gold Cup to win a bonus of £1 Million. A record-breaking career followed, with a total of five wins in the King George, whilst he also became the first horse to regain his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown after losing it.
Breath-taking was the best way to describe this legend of the modern era when he was at his best. His best runs earned him a rating of 192 with a p from Timeform, as there really was no horse in his era that could live with him at his best. He won the 2012 Arkle, 2012 Tingle Creek, and 2013 Champion Chase before injury struck. Despite the unlikelihood that he would ever return to his best, connections continued to hope he wood, and were given their rewards when he won the 2016 Champion Chase after sprinting clear on the final bend in the style he will always be remembered for.
It’s amazing to think that one trainer could have the two highest-rated horses of al-time, and this one was rated 18lb higher than the third highest-rated horse. He was a good enough hurdler to win the races that were then then equivalent of a Supreme Novices Hurdle and an Irish Champion Hurdle. Over fences he was, amazingly, good enough to win the Champion Chase and the Irish Grand National in the same season, with the latter win extraordinary considering he conceded the runner-up 40lb.
Rated 2lb above his stablemate, the number one chaser of all time is most famous for winning three Cheltenham Gold Cups in 1964, 1965, and 1966. However, his most noteworthy performances came when winning big-handicaps off top-weight, something which most Cheltenham Gold Cup winners would not be asked to try and do today. Those handicap successes included winning the Hennessey Gold Cup twice whilst carrying 12-7, as well as the Irish Grand National when carrying 12-0. He also won the King George in 1965.
10. Long Run
9. Moscow Flyer
8. Burrough Hill Lad
6. Desert Orchid
5. Mill House
4. Kauto Star
3. Sprinter Sacre
How many did you get right? Let us know below: