Friday 18 August 2017

Cheltenham Festival - Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup

This is a unique race in that it is one of the lower grade races that are slotted close to the climax event of the Cheltenham Festival. Horses of a minimum five years of age line up at the New Course of the Cheltenham venue and gallop over a two miles and four furlongs distance, clearing 17 fences in the process.

This race owes the origin of its name to the well-known steeplechaser Mild of Flete who died a year before its introduction in 1951.

Despite the long existence, only two horses have been able to win this race twice- Tsarevich in 85, 86 and Elfast in 1992 and 1994. Fred winter is the top jockey with three wins, while a four win joint trainer record is held by Bobby Renton, Nicky Henderson and Martin Pipe.

A £100,000 purse makes this one of the best paying handicap races at the festival. This makes it attract decent horses, but none of them have proved to be dominant beyond the Grade 3 category.