The Charlie Hall Chase is a Grade 2 steeplechase run over 3 miles and 45 yards at Wetherby in late October or early November. Open to horses aged five years and upwards, the race is acknowledged as an early-season trial for top-class steeplechasers on the road to the Cheltenham Festival and beyond, but is a prestigious and valuable contest in its own right. Indeed, with £100,000 in total prize money, the Charlie Hall Chase is the highlight of the National Hunt season at the North Yorkshire course.
Inaugurated as the Wetherby Chase Pattern in 1969, the race was renamed to the Charlie Hall Memorial Wetherby Pattern Chase in 1978 to commemorate celebrated local trainer William ‘Charlie’ Hall, who died, aged 75, the previous year. Based at Towton, near Tadcaster, Hall was champion National Hunt trainer in 1955/56 and saddled 169 of his 584 career winners at Wetherby. The race title was condensed to the Charlie Hall Chase in 1990.
Veteran trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the Charlie Hall Chase six times, courtesy of Tipping Tim (1992), Young Hustler (1994), Ollie Magern (2005, 2007), Bristol de Mai (2017), and Ballyoptic (2019), and is the most successful handler in its history. Other notable winners down the years include Wayward Lad (1983, 1985), Burrough Hill Hill Lad (1984), Forgive ‘N’ Forget (1986), Barton Bank (1993, 1995), One Man (1996, 1997), See More Business (1999, 2000), Silviniaco Conti (2012) and Cue Card (2015).
It would be fair to say that the latest renewal of the Charlie Hall Chase, run on October 29, 2022, was a less-than-vintage affair by comparison, especially with the favourite, Ahoy Senor, finishing all but tailed off, last of the five runners. That said, the winner, Bravemansgame, is currently quoted at 16/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and just 12/1 for the Ryanair Chase, so it will be interesting to see how the form works out.