A horse-race across fields, hedges, ditches, and obstacles of every sort that happen to lie in the way. The term arose from a party of fox-hunters on their return from an unsuccessful chase, who agreed to race to the village church, the steeple of which was in sight; he who first touched the church with his whip was to be the winner. The entire distance was two miles.
The Grand National Steeplechase is run on the Aintree course, Liverpool.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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