Steeplechase

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Description:
The steeplechase is a form of horse racing (primarily conducted in the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia, France, and Ireland) and derives its name from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside. In Great Britain and Ireland the official term now used for the sport is National Hunt racing.

It is a term now used to refer to a distance horse race with diverse fence and ditch obstacles; the most famous of these is the Grand National run annually at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, since its inception in 1836 (the official race was held three years later).

History

The steeplechase originated in Ireland in the 18th century as an analogue to cross-country thoroughbred horse races which went from church steeple to church steeple, hence "steeplechase". The first steeplechase is said to have been the result of a wager in 1752 between Cornelius O'Callaghan and Edmund Blake, racing four miles (6 km) cross-country from Buttevant Church to St. Leger Church in Doneraile, in Cork, Ireland. An account of the race was believed to have been in the library of the O'Brien's of Dromoland Castle. Most of the earlier steeplechases were contested cross-country rather than on a track, and resembled English cross country as it exists today. The first recorded steeplechase...
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