The Duke of Norfolk was once quoted as saying that Jumps racing would take place at Ascot Racecourse “over my dead body”.
However, in 1965 the first National Hunt meeting took place. In the 50 years since that historic day we have witnessed some sensational racing.
We have asked some of the biggest names in horse racing for their favourite Ascot Jumps memories.
AP McCOY, 20-time Champion Jockey
DEANO'S BEANO - LONG WALK HURDLE, 2002
The 20-time Champion Jockey has chosen his win on board the 14-1 shot as he upset the odds by beating favourite Baracouda. The Martin Pipe-trained horse ended the 10-race winning streak of his French opponent, who was aiming his third win in a row in the 3m1f race.
“Baracouda was a great hurdler,” McCoy told us. “The fact we managed to beat him in the Long Walk was a great achievement and is definitely my personal highlight from riding at Ascot.”
McCoy built up a good lead before Baracouda drew level heading over the last, with Deano’s Beano finding just enough to hold off the challenge of Thierry Doumen’s mount.
“You know that a horse like Baracouda is bound to come to you, so you just need to ride the race from your horse's point of view,” said McCoy.
“When I squeezed up on Deano's going to the last he pricked his ears and I knew that he had saved a bit.”
Reflecting on racing at Ascot during his illustrious career, McCoy added: “It is a great course. Obviously it is known primarily for Royal Ascot and Flat racing throughout the summer, but it would be a waste to just use it as a flat course.
“It provides a fantastic stage for jumps racing and whoever decided to hold jumps here 50 years ago deserves an immense amount of credit.”
PAUL NICHOLLS,Champion Trainer
KAUTO STAR - ASCOT CHASE, 2008
Few horses can capture the public’s imagination quite like Desert Orchid, but Kauto Star can claim to be another to do so.
His 18 Grade One wins speak for themselves and his victory at Ascot came midway through his illustrious career when he was arguably at the peak of his powers.
“We were getting him ready for his defence of the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and it was another great ride from him,” said Nicholls.
“Of course he went on to defend his crown, and he was a magnificent racehorse, and I think having him win here is up there as one of my highlights.
“I could also say Dodging Bullets from recent history as that was a great ride he gave to beat Sprinter Sacre earlier this year.
“He was very much the underdog and ran very well to win his second Grade One.”
NICK SMITH,Head of Communications & International Racing at Ascot Racecourse
DESERT ORCHID - THE CLARENCE HOUSE CHASE (Formerly the Victor Chandler Chase), 1989
Of all the people we spoke to about the past 50 years of Jumps racing at Ascot, this was the one race that came up most often.
The first renewal of what is now the Clarence House Chase saw a dramatic and titanic battle between the now legendary Desert Orchid and the always-popular Panto Prince.
Giving 22lb to his rival, Dessie, as he was affectionately known, put in one of the great National Hunt performances to get the better of his rival - a truly remarkable effort from by a born fighter.
NICK LUCK,Channel 4 Racing presenter
ISIO - THE CLARENCE HOUSE CHASE (Formerly the Victor Chandler Chase), 2004
In what was nearly a repeat of Desert Orchid’s success in 1989, the battle between Isio and Azertyuiop 15 years later was equally as thrilling in the Victor Chandler Chase, now know as the Clarence House Chase.
The pair jumped the last together but Azertyuiop, who was 19lbs heavier than his rival, just found the extra weight too much to carry on the run-in.
“Desert Orchid’s victory in 1989 stands out in my memory as he conceded nearly 2 stone to Panto Prince,” said Luck. “And it was a feat that was almost replicated on two other occasions in what is now the Clarence House Chase.
“The first was Isio and Azertyuiop, Isio winning in receipt of all that weight and a few years earlier Nordance Prince holding on to win from Flagship Uberalles.”
GREAT BRITISH RACING
BIG BUCK'S - LONG WALK HURDLE, 2011
Big Bucks made it 14 wins in succession when claiming a hat-trick of Long Walk Hurdle successes at Ascot in what was a faultless ride.
Dynaste put him under some pressure before the turn, but as soon as the Paul Nicholls-trained 3-10 favourite hit the home straight he sauntered clear of his rivals.
A year after his triumph here at Ascot Big Buck’s went on to win a fourth successive World Hurdle at Cheltenham to confirm his status as the greatest staying hurdler in history.
LOUGH DERG - HOLLOWAY HURDLE, 2009
Lough Derg perhaps isn’t known for being the best horse to have graced the turf here at Ascot, but his determination and gutsy performances set him apart from many of his rivals.
That is why our friends at Betfair have chosen this as one of their most memorable moments from the past 50 years. His never-say-die wins, like his 2009 victory, always made for great entertainment.
He wasn’t the easiest horse to work with as noted by jockey Tom Scudamore after this win: "Everything's a battle with him; even getting the rug on. He's what National Hunt racing's all about."