Festival throwback: Relive Irish success in the Turners Novices' Chase

Sir Des Champs and Vautour among the big names to have claimed this Cheltenham prize

Sunday, March 06, 2022
Davy Russell and Sir Des Champs out battles Champion Court to win the novices' chase at Cheltenham

Davy Russell and Sir Des Champs out battles Champion Court to win the novices' chase at Cheltenham

The newest Grade One on the Cheltenham Festival card gives an intermediate option for novice chasers who might find the Arkle Trophy too sharp and the Brown Advisory Chase too onerous.

Despite only making its debut in 2011, it has – predictably – been a happy hunting ground for Willie Mullins, with Sir Des Champs, Vautour, Black Hercules and Yorkhill among his record four winners.

Vautour, 2015

Over three seasons Vautour became the biggest name in national hunt racing, his career only just beginning when a freak accident at home ended his life aged just seven. 

His brilliant novice hurdle season was bookended with success in the Supreme Novices' and the Punchestown Festival and he took to chasing with similar style and class.

He won this race by 15 lengths and, one year, later claimed a third Festival success in the Ryanair Chase. 

Sir Des Champs, 2012

Willie Mullins worked wonders after finding this horse in France, where he had won just one of his five races.

Transferred to Closutton, he won seven races in succession – a run that included two Festival success, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle in 2011 and this race one year later. 

He went on to win the Irish Gold Cup before finishing a seven length second to Bobs Worth in the Festival's big showpiece in 2013.

READ: Festival throwback: Relive Irish success in the Champion Chase

Noble Prince, 2011

Enniscorthy's Paul Nolan claimed his second Festival winner when Tony McCoy piloted Nobel Prince to victory in the inaugural edition of this race.

Favourite Wishfull Thinking made all of the running but McCoy never had him too far off his radar.

And after jumping the final fence best, accelerated away to triumph by a confident four length margin.

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


Only once have Irish-based trainers not emerged victorious in Cheltenham's newest Grade One.