It has been announced by Clarence House that the Duchess of Cornwall has accepted an invitation to attend Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival from Robert Waley-Cohen, Chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse. The Duchess is an Honourary member of the Jockey Club, and whilst at the Festival on 14th March she will go into the paddock prior to The Queen Mother Champion Chase, and after the race she will present the trophies to the winning owner, jockey and trainer in the Winner’s Enclosure.
The Duchess has a keen interest in animals and animal welfare and is currently patron of seven equine charities including the British Equestrian Federation and the Brooke Hospital for Animals. She has also been a passionate horse-rider for some time and attended many events before her association with the Royal family and its love of horses.
Cheltenham Racecourse at Prestbury Park is one of the racecourses owned by The Jockey Club, it is set in a natural amphitheatre in the beautiful rolling Cotswold Hills. The Cheltenham Festival is the main highlight not only of the racecourse’s calendar but also the National Hunt calendar in this country. The racecourse is also the home of the Steeplechasing Hall of Fame. This exhibition shows the rise of British Steeplechasing over nearly two hundred years.
The Cheltenham Festival has several Grade 1 races during the four days including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the Queen Mother Champion Chase which the Duchess of Cornwall is presenting the prizes for. The race of about 2 miles is the leading minimum distance race in the National Hunt calendar and the feature race of the second day of the Cheltenham Festival. It has been run since 1959 and was originally called the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase, the name was changed in 1980 in recognition of the Queen Mother’s eightieth birthday and recognition of the support she gave to jump racing. Though in the history of the race she never won it, her best result was Game Spirit who was running up in 1976.