Cheltenham have named a race in honour of the late John Oaksey
Last Updated: 21/12/12 4:02pm
Lord Oaksey: Honoured by Cheltenham at this season's Festival
Cheltenham Racecourse will name the 2013 running of the National Hunt Chase at The Festival in honour of the late John Oaksey, who died at the age of 83 on September 5 this year.
In over 50 years of professional involvement in racing, Lord Oaksey earned the admiration of everyone he came into contact with.
He was twice champion Jump amateur rider (1957/58 & 1970/71), an outstanding writer on all aspects of the sport and a highly successful pundit on television. He also left an enduring legacy to racing when helping found what is now known as the Injured Jockeys' Fund.
In latter years, he enjoyed significant success as an owner with his home-bred Carruthers, who won the 2011 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury and also finished fourth in the 2010 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
As a jockey at The Festival, John rode four winners including the 1959 National Hunt Chase on Sabaria. His other three victories came in the Foxhunter Chase (Bullocks Horn 1973) and the Kim Muir Handicap Chase (Jimmy Scott 1966 & Black Baize 1971), making him the only rider to have won all three races at The Festival which are exclusively for amateur riders.
The 2013 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase is on Wednesday, March 13. The National Hunt Chase is the race around which The Festival was originally established and, in its early years, the race moved from course to course. Since 1911, it has been firmly located at Cheltenham.
In 2012, the four-mile contest for novice chasers ridden by amateur riders was won by Teaforthree, trained by Rebecca Curtis. Recent graduates from the race who have gone on to win major prizes include Butler's Cabin, Silver Birch, Hot Weld, Miko De Beauchene, Celestial Gold, Niche Market, Hennessy, Tricky Trickster and Poker De Sivola.
Three-time racing writer of the year Alastair Down, of the Racing Post and Channel 4 Racing, commented: "There can be no more fitting tribute to John Oaksey than running the National Hunt Chase in his honour.
"The great man actually won the four-miler in 1959 - the National Hunt Chase is not only the amateurs' holy grail, it is the race with the longest history run at Cheltenham. It will be great having John Oaksey's name gracing the racecard as he himself graced the sport down so many wonderful years."
The National Hunt Chase was previously renamed in 2008 to honour Sir Peter O'Sullevan's 90th birthday and in 2012 to recognise Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.