Festival throwback: Relive Irish success in the RSA Chase


Novice chase is the perfect place to graduate for Gold Cup hopefuls

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Richard Dunwoody pilots Florida Pearl to a famous Cheltenham victory in 1988

Richard Dunwoody pilots Florida Pearl to a famous Cheltenham victory in 1988


This three mile novice chase is a proven testing ground for future Cheltenham Gold Cup champions.

Legendary Irish jockey Pat Taaffe won it five times between 1953 and 1970 while Willie Mullins is a four-time winning trainer. 

Arkle, 1963


Arkle's first Cheltenham victory came in this race, then known as the Broadway Chase, which he won by a stunning 20 length margin.

He'd go on to win three consecutive Gold Cups at the Festival, finishing his career with the highest ever rating Timeform has awarded to a steeplechaser.

His skeleton is displayed in the Irish National Stud and he has a statue in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, and adjacent to the parade ring at Cheltenham. 

Florida Pearl, 1988


Florida Pearl's class was clear when he raced to a five-length victory in the Champion Bumper at the 1997 Festival.

One year later he arrived at Cheltenham on the back of wins in both his novice chases, defying inexperience to win the race.

Jockey Richard Dunwoody took the ride, holding off rival Escartefigue to win by one and a half lengths.

But despite placing in the next two Gold Cups, he never managed to graduate with another win at the Festival's showpiece. 

READ: Festival throwback: Relive Irish success in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

Lord Windermere, 2013


Jim Culloty tasted Cheltenham success as the jockey of three-time winner Best Mate but Lord Windermere arguably gave him his greatest personal triumph.

After an inauspicious career over hurdles, his novice chasing season was mixed before he arrived at Cheltenham, where Davy Russell rode a canny race to secure a victory.

One year later Culloty became only the fourth person to ride and train a Gold Cup when Lord Windermere defied big odds to land jump racing's blue riband prize.

READ: Relive Irish success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Check out our Road to Cheltenham microsite with the best of the Irish challenge at the Festival

 

Arkle's first Cheltenham victory came in this race, then known as the Broadway Chase, which he won by a stunning 20 length margin.

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