Steeplechase is genetic, and are based upon two types of completely hidden genes.
Jump: Jump is the gene that determines how good your horse will be at steeplechase races. Steeplechase ability is very linear - if both a sire and dam had very high SC stats, most of their foals probably will as well. Because this gene is so straightforward, it is very easy to focus on breeding steeplechase horses if you know the steeplechase abilities of your breeding stock.
Endurance: Endurance is a gene that determines if a horse has enough lasting speed to run races longer than the route distances. In order to be eligible to transition to steeplechase, a horse must have high endurance. Since a horse only needs average endurance to transition to marathon races, all horses that are eligible for steeplechase will also be eligible for marathons. Since all horses who transition to marathon gain prime, it would be a good strategy to transition your steeplechase prospect to marathon first, and then transition to steeplechase immediately afterward.
Like Marathons, Steeplechases are a type of race that is not available at birth, but can be trained for. A horse must be at least 4 years of age before they can be trained for SC racing, and must be at least 5 before they can be entered in a Steeplechase race. They must possess Good genes for Stamina as well as strong Endurance abilities. To see if your horse is eligible, you can visit their Manage page and check for a green checkmark.
Training a horse for SC has quite a few benefits. First, it will improve your horse's longevity x3 (to a maximum of 40 possible races). Secondly, it will add over a year's worth of prime. Last, but certainly not least, your horse will have entirely new maximum stats, thus a new maximum potential. A horse who is a 10 potential could possibly go up to 50+ potential if they have high Jump abilities. This is an excellent option for aging horses that could still be money earners in the SC realm, and also for stud prospects who just aren't earning points on the flat. SC races are available only on turf (but a dirt horse can be retrained for them) and each horse will have a new favorite distance between 18-24f. SC horses can be trained on a 3 distance range anywhere within 18-24f (so 18-22f or 20-24f).
Once trained for SC, a horse can never return to flat or marathon racing. If their potential happens to go down because they had poor Jump abilities, it will remain lower even after retired. This change in potential will have no impact on the flat racing ability of their foals, since foal potential is not at all derived from their parent's potential.
Steeplechase is offered at a variety of grades, but as stated, only on turf. The races are held every meet, but since steeplechase takes more energy than a regular race and many steeplechasers are older horses, they may race slightly less often than flat racers. There will be WCF steeplechase races held each December in both distance divisions. In addition, points earned through SC races do count towards stud eligibility requirements!
There are six tracks created only for the purpose of hosting steeplechase races: Oatlands Racecourse, Beaumont Turf Club, and Blue Mountain Downs (in the West) and MacTavish Downs, Saddle Hill Park, and Aragon le Pista (in the East). These tracks do not have the standard oval track, but have turf steeplechase courses and can host steeplechase races at a variety of distance with varied jump types.
Unlike all of the flat tracks, you do not have to hire a racing assistant to set these as a home track for your steeplechase horses. Whichever track is in your region is automatically an option for your horses.
There are jockeys available who specialize in riding steeplechase horses. These jockeys cannot be used on flat racing horses, and flat racing jockeys cannot be used on steeplechase horses. Like flat jockeys, you can contract a SC jockey of your choice and will earn all of the same benefits in races. You are allowed to contract one steeplechase jockey in addition to your 2 flat jockeys. "You may use any custom jockey for both flat and steeplechase horses."