Millionaire Chase: 6 stunning facts about past winners of our latest qualifier race

The Millionaire Chase is well and truly on - well, the chase for places in the chase anyway. We had our third qualifying race yesterday...

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Another Saturday, another qualifying race for the Paddy’s Millionaire Chase!

Cloth Cap took one of the most storied national hunt races on the calendar, the old Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury at 3pm, to put all their backers who opted in this week into the Monday’s Millionaire Chase draw for a runner in the New Year’s Day Paddy Power Handicap Chase. What a run it was.

Just in case you’ve been socially distancing on the ex-planet Pluto recently, Paddy’s going to ring in the New Year – and say good riddance 2020 – by giving £1,000,000  to one lucky Paddy Power punter. Here’s all you need to know.

And with the latest winner decided by such a historic race, we thought we’d look back at some of the quirkier tales from the race’s history…

1957

The first edition of the race, won by Mandarin, was run at Cheltenham, where the race stayed until 1960, when a televised arm-wrestling contest between the stewards of eight of the UK’s biggest racecourse was won by Nick Sturman of Newbury, who claimed the race as his prize for the course, and it has stayed there ever since.

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Runners and riders race in front of packed grandstands during the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 10, 2020 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

1963

Staged just days after the assassination of US President JFK, the 1963 running of the event is best-known for the flying of a plane with an “Oswald is a patsy” banner trailing behind it before the off as Mill House won the race. The identity of the person responsible for the stunt has remained a mystery.

1972

Charlie Potheen won this year’s event and was immediately touted as a possible opponent for newly-crowned world chess champion Bobby Fisher after his victory over Boris Spassky of the USSR in Reykjavik until someone pointed out that he was, in fact, a horse.

And Kerplunk was his favourite pastime anyway.

1980

This year’s victor, Bright Highway, was jockeyed by Gerry Newman, who spent much of the next decade rejecting calls to “play Cars” as fans confused him with electronic music pioneer Gary Numan.

He did get a guest part in The Bill when a casting agent also mixed him up for a young Gary Oldman, so swings and roundabouts.

1993

Cogent took the prize in the days following the conclusion of the World Cup ’94 qualifying groups where England finishing third to the Netherlands and Norway and rounded off their campaign by falling behind to San Marino in the first minute before winning 7-1. Many patrons at the racecourse on the day wore turnip-shaped hats provided by a national newspaper in celebration of the recently sacked manager Graham Taylor.

13 OCT 1993: ENGLAND MANAGER GRAHAM TAYLOR IS RESTRAINED BY A FIFA OFFICIAL AS HE REACTS TO THE DECISION NOT TO AWARD A PENALTY AGAINST RONALD KOEMAN AFTER A CHALLENGE ON ENGLAND’s DAVID PLATT. ENGLAND LOST THE MATCH 2-0 AND WERE EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATEDFROM QUALIFYING FOR THE 1994 WORLD CUP. Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill/ALLSPORT

2009

Denman won the race for the second time, under our own Ruby Walsh, where the owner sang an acapella version of Peter Andre’s “Insania” in the winner’s enclosure as a tribute to the recently ended relationship between the Aussie singer and his I’m a Celeb… squeeze Katie Price.

Yesterday’s winner will surely be the most celebrated of all if Monday’s draw winner goes on to claim the £1,000,000 prize in the Millionaire Chase.

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