Each year Ascot Racecourse opens its gates for the Matchbook Clarence House Chase, its first raceday of the New Year. This is the perfect time for racegoers to dust off the post-Christmas blues and enjoy some spectacular racing.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Clarence House Chase.
What is the Matchbook Clarence House Chase Raceday?
The Clarence House Chase Raceday is a Matchbook sponsored National Hunt raceday held at Ascot Racecourse each January. As part of the National Hunt season, horses are required to jump over fences and ditches.
The highlight of the meeting is the Clarence House Chase, a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase open to horses aged five years or older. It is run over a distance of about 2 miles and 1 furlong and during this distance, horses are required to jump over thirteen fences.
The supporting races on the day will also feature the Grade 3 Holloways Handicap Hurdle, Juvenile Novices Hurdle and Amateur Riders Chase, which will all likewise be sponsored by Matchbook.
Alongside the fantastic National Hunt racing, Ascot Racecourse will be bursting with activities and warming winter dishes and cocktails all across the spectacular Grandstand.
Ascot Racecourse’s Chief Commercial Officer Juliet Slot says of the raceday:
‘The Grade 1 Clarence House Chase is the last top-level opportunity in Britain for the fastest chasers in Europe, before the Cheltenham Festival. The day is a firm favourite amongst our racegoers.’
Whilst official sponsors Matchbook noted:
‘Matchbook is committed to being a leading force in horse racing betting and has shown it is ready to invest, not just in its platform, but also in British horse racing through its sponsorship. The exchange is a growing force in the UK and Ireland and strives to provide a best-in-class platform for users to have the ultimate online betting experience.’
The Matchbook Clarence House Chase Raceday Schedule
Ascot Racecourse will open its gates at 10:45am, with former National Hunt Jockey Colin Brown conducting a raceday ramble course walk before the racing begins.
Racegoers will have the fantastic privilege of learning about the ground, the preparation of the hurdles and racing highlights. Guests may even climb into the open ditch and imagine the horses as they soar overhead!
The first race then begins at 12:40pm with the last race at 4:05pm. See the racecard below for more details.
- 12:40pm – Rosling King Juvenile Hurdle (Novices’ Championship Hurdle Series Qualifier)
- 1:15pm – Matchbook Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase
- 1:50pm – Olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle
- 2:25pm – Matchbook Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle
- 3:00pm – Bet365 Handicap Chase
- 3:35pm – Matchbook Clarence House Chase (Grade One)
- 4:05pm – Matchbook British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices Hurdle (Qualifier)
Clarence House Chase 2020 runners
The Clarence House Chase 2020 saw a total of five horses in the running. The 2020 runners placed as follows:
1. Defi du Seuil
2. Un de Sceaux
Previous Clarence House Chase Winners
The highlight race of the meeting is a greatly coveted win for many. Europe’s finest chase horses go head-to-head to contest the Grade 1 encounter. Previous winners include Desert Orchid, Master Minded and defending champion Un De Sceaux, who has been victorious in the last three previous years. However, 2020 saw Un de Sceaux beaten by Defi du Seuil, who was described as ‘dazzling and breathtaking’ by Irish jockey Barry Geraghty.
Indeed Un de Sceaux is still considered to be the most successful horse in Clarence House Chase history with three wins in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The leading jockey is the great Ruby Walsh with a total of four wins whilst running Master Minded in 2009, Twist Magic in 2010, and Un de Sceaux in 2016 and 2017. The leading trainer is Paul Nicholls with a total of five wins including Call Equiname in 1999, Master Minded in 2009 and 2011, Twist Magic in 2010 and Dodging Bullets in 2015.
Matchbook Clarence House Chase History
Initially, the first race was planned to take place in 1987 however this was abandoned due to frost, and the following year due to fog. Originally it was a handicap race, and the distance was 2 miles. In 1989, Desert Orchid was the first Clarence House Chase winner in history.
The race often includes leading contenders for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham Festival. Six horses have won both races in the same season: Viking Flagship in 1994, Call Equiname in 1999, Master Minded in 2009, Sprinter Sacre in 2013, Sire de Grugy in 2014 and Dodging Bullets in 2015. Thus the Clarence House Chase can provide clues for strong Cheltenham contenders.
When is the Clarence House Chase 2021?
Ascot racecourse has yet to confirm the date for the Clarence House Chase 2021 but we will update our page as soon as the information becomes available.
Royal Ascot Hospitality 2021
We are thrilled to be providing VIP hospitality packages at Ascot Racecourse for a number of popular race days, including the highly anticipated Royal Ascot.
Our Ascot Hospitality Packages are a splendid way to enjoy first class horse racing with sublime hospitality entertainment options. Indulge in champagne or prosecco receptions, sumptuous three or four-course luncheons and delicious afternoon teas! For specific package details, please see our Ascot Hospitality Page.