Which was the most successful horse in the Queen Mother Champion Chase?
The Queen Mother Champion Chase was inaugurated, as the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase, in 1959, before being renamed in 1980 to commemorate the eightieth birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. In its history, a total of twelve horses, including Sprinter Sacre – the third highest-rated steeplechaser in the history of Timeform, behind only Arkle and Flying Bolt – have won the Queen Mother Champion Chase twice. However, just one has won the two-mile steeplechasing championship three times.
The horse in question was, of course, Badsworth Boy, who was trained at Poplar House Stables in Harewood, West Yorkshire by three different members of the Dickinson family. On the first occasion he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase, in 1983, Badsworth Boy was saddled by Michael Dickinson, who had taken over the training licence from his father, Tony, three years earlier. Badsworth won by a ‘distance’ – later measured as 36 lengths – from Artifice and stable companion Rathgorman.
Michael Dickinson was still at the helm when Badsworth Boy followed up in 1984, beating the enigmatic Little Bay by 10 lengths. However, by the time Badsworth Boy lined up, as a 10-year-old, for his hat-trick attempt in 1985, Michael Dickinson had departed Poplar House Stables for pastures new – as private trainer to Robert Sangster at Manton, Wiltshire – and handed his licence on to his mother, Monica. Nevertheless, under the watchful eye of ‘Mrs. D.’, Batchworth Boy, who was suffering from arthritis and othe ailments, beat Far Bridge by 10 lengths to earn a place in Cheltenham Festival folklore.