Festival Trophy Handicap Chase
|Grade 3 race|
|Sponsor||Baylis & Harding|
|Distance||3m ½f (4,929 metres)|
|Qualification||Five-years-old and up|
The Festival Trophy is a Grade 3 National Hunt chase in Great Britain which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 3 miles and 110 yards (4,929 metres), and during its running there are nineteen fences to be jumped. It is a handicap race, and it is scheduled to take place each year on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The event was originally known as the National Hunt Handicap Chase, but its title has included the name of a sponsor from the early 1980s. It was backed by Ritz Club from 1981 until 1996, Astec Buzz Shop in 1997 and William Hill between 1998 and 2010. In 2011 the race was run as the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase and sponsored by the Stewart family, headed by businessman and racehorse owner Andy Stewart to raise awareness of, and highlight the work done by, the charity Spinal Research. In 2012 and 2013 the race was sponsored by JLT Specialty Ltd. The 2014 race will be sponsored by Baylis & Harding and run as the Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase.
Winners of the race often take part in the Grand National, although not always in the same year. Horses to have achieved victory in both events include Royal Tan, Team Spirit, West Tip, Seagram and Rough Quest.
Most successful horse since 1946 (2 wins):
- Sentina – 1957, 1958
- Scot Lane – 1982, 1983
Leading jockey since 1946 (3 wins):
- Robert Thornton – Fork Lightning (2004), Kelami (2005), Bensalem (2011)
Leading trainer since 1946 (4 wins):
- Fred Rimell – Cavaliero (1948), Frere Jacques II (1949), Land Fort (1951), Holly Bank (1954)
- Fulke Walwyn – Ravencroft (1961), Team Spirit (1963), Lord Jim (1971), Gay Vulgan (1977)
Winners since 1946
- Racing Post:
- pedigreequery.com – William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase – Cheltenham.
- racenewsonline.co.uk – Racenews Archive (February 21, 2008).
- Ladbrokes Pocket Companion 1990/91. Aesculus Press. 1990. p. 63. ISBN 1-871093-21-X.