Haydock Betfair Chase Day: Race List & Meeting Info

Winner's Enclosure at Haydock Park
Alexander P Kapp / geograph.org.uk

National Hunt racing’s major showpiece of the Cheltenham Festival may take place in the spring, but the autumn and winter months are still a fine time to be a fan of the sport. With the season really beginning to find its stride at this time of the year, barely a weekend seems to go by without at least one outstanding card on offer. Late November sees the Merseyside venue of Haydock get in on the act with one of its biggest days of the season.

The Betfair Chase is the first Grade 1 race of the National Hunt season, and with a top-class field it promises to be an exhilarating spectacle. Open to runners aged five years and older, it is run at Haydock over a distance of three miles and one furlong, and with 18 fences to negotiate, it’s not a race for the faint of heart. 


Betfair Chase Day

RaceGradeLengthPrize MoneyAges
Newton Novices’ Hurdle Listed 1m7½f £25,000 4 Years Old +
Betfair Handicap Chase Class 2 3m1½f £26,800 4 Years Old +
Betfair Graduation Chase Class 2 2m5½f £50,000 4 Years Old +
Betfair Handicap Hurdle Class 2 2m3f £50,000 4 Years Old +
Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 3m½f £100,000 4 Years Old +
Betfair Chase Grade 1 3m1½f £200,000 5 Years Old +
Betfair Handicap Chase Class 3 3m4½f £50,000 4 Years Old +

Newton Novices’ Hurdle

Listed, 1m7½f

A Listed race that is sponsored by the online betting company Betfair, the Newton Novices’ Hurdle is, as the name suggests, a hurdling race for novices. It’s for horses aged four and over and is run over one mile, seven furlongs and one hundred and forty-four yards. There are nine hurdles to be jumped, with a prize of more than £14,000 available for the winning horse.

Betfair Handicap Chase

Class 2, 3m1½f

As you’ll be able to tell from looking at the list of race names on Haydock Betfair Chase Day, the races are all run in association with the Exchange betting company Betfair. This is a Class 2 race that is run over three miles, one furlong and one hundred and twenty-five yards.

The race is for horses aged four and over with a rating of between 0 and 145, asking them to cope with nineteen fences before the reach the finish line. If the Going is Good to Soft then the event will last for about six minutes and forty seconds, with winners receiving more than £30,000.

Betfair Graduation Chase

Class 2, 2m5½f

Graduation Chases are typically races for horses that haven’t won more than two events over fences. This one is open to horses aged four and over and is two miles, five furlongs and one hundred and twenty-seven yards long. There are seventeen fences to jump, with a prize of over £30,000 awaiting the winning horse.

Betfair Handicap Hurdle

Class 2, 2m3f

A Class 2 race for horses aged four and up, the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle is run over two miles, two furlongs and one hundred and ninety-one yards. There are ten hurdles that the participating horses will need to overcome if they want to receive the £31,000 plus prize money by finishing first.

Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle

Grade 3, 3m½f

This Grade 3 race was also inaugurated in 2005 and, like all of the races apart from the Betfair Chase, is open to horses aged four and over. It was originally run over two miles and seven furlongs but was extended to three miles and fifty-eight yards in 2018. There are twelve fences to be jumped over the course of the race.

The race has been sponsored by Betfair since it was first run and the full title that is given to it has changed several times as the betting company has attempted to promote different offers and aspects to its business. The key word is ‘handicap’, though, indicating that there is no specific weight information to give you. Instead the weights carried are assigned by the handicapper in the hope of making the race as fair as possible for all horses.

Between 2007 and 2016 the race used Fixed Brush hurdles, which were based on the design the French use for their hurdles. They’re similar in nature to plain fences but tend to be lower in height. That means that they’re rigid in their design when compared to traditional hurdles, but they weren’t popular so in 2017 the decision was taken to go back to standard hurdles for the race.

Betfair Chase

Grade 1, 3m1½f

Where else to start but with the feature race of the day. The Grade 1 Betfair Chase was created in 2005 as the first part of the Betfair Million, a bonus scheme that sat alongside the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup to award the winner of all three in the same season £1 million in bonus money. For a time the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown was introduced as an alternative to the King George VI Chase.

The Betfair Million was only won by one horse - Kauto Star in the 2006-2007 season. The format was tweaked for the 2008-2009 season, with the bonus becoming available to any horse that was a first-three finisher that achieved a first or second place finish at the Cheltenham Festival and then won the Grand National, but the bonus was then dropped the following season.

The £1 million returned in 2015 under the guise of the Chase Triple Crown because the Jockey Club decided to offer it to any horse that won the original trio of the Betfair Chase, the King George VI Chase and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. It looked as though Cue Card was going to achieve it in the 2015-2016 when he won the first two legs only to miss out on the Gold Cup to Don Cossack. The owner of any horse that does win the Chase Triple Crown will be presented with the Kauto Star Trophy, which was introduced in 2016.

The race used to be run over around three miles, but in 2017 it was extended to its current distance in order to allow the horses a longer run to the first bend. Whilst it’s known as the Betfair Chase, it’s actually registered as the Lancashire Chase, which was the name of a different race run at Manchester Racecourse from 1884.

Nowadays the race is run left-handed over three miles, one furlong and one hundred and twenty-five yards. It’s for horses aged five and over with a weight of eleven stone and seven pounds, with mares given a seven pound allowance. There are nineteen fences that need to be negotiated during the running.

Betfair Handicap Chase

Class 3, 3m4½f

Not to be confused with the similarly named Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle, this is a Class 3 steeplechase aimed at stayers. The handicappers will decide the weight that each horse carriers, theoretically ensuring that the race is as even as possible.

Run over three miles, four furlongs and ninety-seven yards, there are twenty-two fences that need to be jumped before the finish line will be in sight. The prize money stands at around £16,000, with the participating horses needing to be aged four or over with a rating of between 0 and 135.


About Betfair Chase Day

By the time November rolls around the horse racing calendar has begun the shift away from flat racing and back to the National Hunt. If you mention jump racing and Merseyside then people with only a passing interest in horse racing would assume that you were talking about Aintree, but the region has two top-class racecourses and the second is Haydock Park. When the leaves have started to turn and the ground is softening up enough to mean that horses can land on it over jumps without too much risk of injury, that’s when Haydock plays host to the Betfair Chase Day.

It’s a one day meeting that revolves around the race that it is named after, with the Grade 1 Betfair Chase taking centre stage. It’s a brilliant way to kick-start the jumps season and sees the country’s best chasers dust off their saddles to see how they’re doing after a quiet summer. There are six other races to keep you entertained during the day, so don’t think that Chase is the only one worthy of your attention. The seven race meeting is spread across three and a half hours or so, meaning that you’ll have ample opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and place your bets.

If there’s one thing you can say about the people of Liverpool and Merseyside then it’s that they know how to have a party. The region is one that loves horse racing, having taken the Grand National to heart from the moment it was first run. Liverpudlians know how to embrace top-notch horse racing, so if you’re popping along to Haydock for Betfair Chase Day then you can expect a vibrant atmosphere and a brilliant day’s racing.