The Silver Trophy is a two and a half mile handicap hurdle, first run in 1989.
For the second successive year it has been sponsored by the Swindon based Wasdell Group with the prize money raised to £75,000 (from £40,000).
One of its first winners was the best; in 1990 Bradbury Star was on his way to becoming a top class all-rounder, combining classiness, versatility and resilience. He ran 58 times, winning 18 at all distances from two to three miles. Amazingly, he won eight times at Cheltenham.
Most of Silver Trophy runners go on to thrive at longer distances and the 2007 winner was a prime example; that was Don’t Push It, who three years later gave A P McCoy his only winning ride in the Grand National.
Horses placed in the Silver Trophy have also been worth following in staying chases.
Fourth in 2011 was The Giant Bolster, who would finish second, third and fourth in three Cheltenham Gold Cups. Vieux Lion Rouge, third in 2014, has won 13 times in all and until this year had never fallen in nine races over the Grand National fences. In fourth that year was Regal Encore, successful six times later including four at Ascot.
Court Minstrel was a 40/1 success for South Wales trainer Evan Williams in 2015, and he became the only dual winner of the race when scoring again two years later. The form of the latter race turned out to be excellent. Six of the first eight home won again before long.
Tea Clipper took the 2020 Silver Trophy in convincing style, finishing six lengths ahead of the previous year’s winner Flash The Steel. In the spring he was third in two big handicaps at Cheltenham and Aintree and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in novice chases this season.
A year before the first running of the race the October fixture included a “Chepstow Gold Hurdle” with the same conditions, but silver has proved much longer-lasting.