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,
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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