On day 3 of the festival the final race is contested only by amateur riders. You may gather from the title that this particular race has the longest title of any race across the whole four days of the festival and is a tongue twisting 11 words: The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders).
Back in 1946 the race was known as the Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Steeplechase. Seems much more simple than the modern day title!
That leads me onto the question - “Who was Kim Muir”? Kim Muir was an officer in World War II, also the brother of Mrs Evan Williams, he was killed in combat whilst serving his country as a cavalry officer and the race has been contested since 1946 in his memory.
The addition of “Fulke Walwyn” to the title was added in 1991. If you have followed jumps racing for many years, you will most likely know of Fulke Walwyn. In modern times we think of Henderson and Nicholls as being prolific trainers, but Fulke Walwyn has been one of the most successful trainers ever to compete in national hunt racing.
Walwyn won the Grand National as an amateur rider in 1936 and went on to have significant sucess at Cheltenham, training 211 winners at the track and a quite unbelievable 40 at the Cheltenham Festival itself.
Walwyn trained 3 times Gold Cup winner Mill House and on a random side note, also had a cousin called Peter Walwyn, who was a National Hunt trainer.
There is normally a pretty substantial 20 plus field in the Challenge Cup Handicap Chase, 24 went to post in 2011 and 22 in 2012. It is seriously brave for an amateur jockey to tackle the fences at Cheltenham and in 2011, there were a very high number of participants in the Kim Muir that did not make it round the course. Out of a field of 24 horses, 14 either pulled up or unseated the rider, so it goes to show what a tough job these amateur jockeys have in riding a competitive race at the festival.
- The The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase is classified as an amateur riders National Hunt Chase Handicap Race.
- The race will be contested at a start time of 16:40 on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.
- The race is open to horses aged five years old and above.
- The race is run over 3 miles and 1.5 furlongs.
- There are nineteen fences to be jumped in the race.
- The purse in 2011 was circa £48k, with first place receiving £30k in prize money.