The Cathcart Challenge Cup was a steeplechase staged, in various guises, at the Cheltenham Festival between 1938 and 2004 but, for most of its existence, was a Grade Two event, run over 2 miles 5 furlongs, on the New Course at Prestbury Park. The Cathcart Challenge Cup was named in honour of Frederick Cathcart, Chairman of the Steeplechase Company (Cheltenham) Limited, incorporated in 1907, Clerk of the Course at Prestbury Park and a hugely influential figure in the evolution of the Cheltenham Festival.
Bizarrely, between 1975 and 1977, the Cathcart Challenge Cup in its traditional form was replaced by the Cathcart Champion Hunters’ Chase, run over 3 miles 1 furlong. Nevertheless, in its original incarnation, the Cathcart Challenge Cup was typically contested by ‘intermediate’ steeplechasers or, in other words, those who lacked the speed for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the stamina for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The last winner of the Cathcart Challenge Cup was Our Armageddon, trained by Richard Guest, in 2004 and the following year the race was replaced by a similar event, the Festival Trophy – now better known as the Ryanair Chase – when the Cheltenham Festival was extended to four days for the first time.