2016 Festival Handicap Chase

The Festival Handicap Chase (formerly known as the William Hill Trophy) dates back to the 1950s and has a record of producing future Cheltenham Gold Cup winners with five race winners going on to win the Cheltenham Festival’s top race. The race is a Grade 3 national hunt steeplechase run on the Cheltenham Racecourse Old Course.

The Festival Handicap Chase is open to horses aged 5 and over and is run over 3 miles and a ½ furlong. As a handicap event the race has a tendency to draw a large field and it is unusual for the pre-race favourite to win the race with only two favourites achieving this feat since 1969.

2016 Festival Handicap Betting Odds

Festival Handicap Chase Winners

Like the other handicap events at the Cheltenham Festival, the Festival Handicap Chase sees few racehorses win more than once. Only two horses have won the race twice; Sentina doing so in 1957 and 1958, with Scot Lane the last to do so in 1982 and 1983.

The Festival Handicap Chase also seems to be a slippery title for jockeys, as only Robert Thornton has managed to hold the Festival Handicap Chase winner’s title for two years in the last decade. Thornton achieved his wins on Fork Lightning and Kelami in 2004 and 2005.

In recent years Nicky Henderson has been the trainer to make the biggest impact on the Festival Handicap Chase. Although no trainer has managed to train more than one William Hill Trophy Handicap chase winner in the last decade, Henderson has seen five entries finish placed during this period.