This weekend sees Ascot Racecourse open its gates once again for the first raceday of this New Year. Racegoers will be beginning the year with Ascot’s Matchbook Clarence House Chase Raceday on Saturday 19th January 2019.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming race day.
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 Current Contenders
There are currently a total of four horses running this year’s Clarence House Chase. These are:
Un De Sceaux (Odds: 5/1)
The eleven year old, trained by Willie Mullins is the current Clarence House Chase champion having won the last three years in a row. His current chase record stands at a total of nineteen runs, with twelve wins.
Altior (Odds: 1/4)
Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten Altior is another strong contender for this Clarence House Chase. The nine year old has run a total of eleven steeplechases, winning all eleven.
Diego Du Charmil (Odds: 25/1)
Despite running in a total of eight chases, and winning only two, this seven year old may have a slight edge against other contenders, having been trained by leading trainer Paul Nicholls!
Fox Norton (Odds: 12/1)
This gelding trained by Colin Tizzard has a chase record that stands at seventeen runs, with eight wins to his name.
With such leading names in National Hunt racing, this year’s Clarence House Chase is sure to be an intense and thrilling one. Only time will tell which horse will emerge victorious.
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.
Indeed the most successful horse in Clarence House Chase history is Un de Sceaux 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.
What’s next at Ascot Racecourse?
February at Ascot Racecourse sees the Betfair Ascot Chase Raceday on Saturday 16th February 2019. Another exciting National Hunt raceday featuring the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase, one of the season’s most prestigious races!
Hospitality at Ascot Racecourse in 2019
We are thrilled to be providing VIP hospitality packages at Ascot Racecourse for a number of popular racedays, 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.