Cross Country Chase

We have now had ten Cross Country Chases at the Festival since its introduction in 2005.

Perhaps the most famous previous winner is Spot Thedifference who won the first running of the cross country, finished runner up in 2006 and finished fourth in 2007. Upon his retirement he had won on seven occasions over the cross country fences at Cheltenham!

Cheltenham Scene
Partial view of the Cross Country course on Cheltenham Festival Day One 2012

Cross Country Chase Trends

9/10had won over at least three miles
8/10were trained in Ireland (as were 28 of the last 36 placed horses!)
8/10were rated between 126-143
8/10were aged nine or older
7/10carried no more than 10st 13lbs
6/10had contested the cross country handicap at Cheltenham in December
6/10had previously won a cross country race

Cross Country Analysis

The Cross Country Chase has now been run for ten years at the Festival and the race could be hitting a turning point with an apparent improvement in the quality of horse now taking its chance in the race.

With the likes of top trainers Willie Mullins and Philip Hobbs now targeting this race we are seeing a different type of chaser take on the demands of this most unusual course and as such some of the previous trends are starting to come under question.

For the first five years it appeared that coming into the race in good form was an essential criterion as was winning form in a cross country race. However, four of the last five winners have all gone against the grain in these areas so the complexion of what is required to win this race appears to be changing.

It could also be that the Irish stranglehold on this race is starting to loosen. Two of the last three winners were from England and in 2014 three of the four places were filled by horses from this side of the Irish Sea, the first time this has happened in the race's ten year history.

Cross Country Chase Last Ten Winners

Table below shows the last nine winners of the race, their age/weight at the time of winning, trainer, jockey and odds (starting price).
2014Balthazar King10-11-12P HobbsR Johnson4/1
2013Big Shu8-10-5P MaherB Cash14/1
2012Balthazar King8-10-9P HobbsR Johnson11/2
2011Sizing Australia9-10-9H De BromheadA E Lynch13/2
2010A New Story12-9-7M HouriganAP Heskin25/1
2009Garde Champetre10-11-12E BolgerMiss N Carberry7/2
2008Garde Champetre9-10-13E BolgerMiss N Carberry4/1
2007Heads On The Ground10-10-2E BolgerMiss N Carberry5/2F
2006Native Jack12-10-8P RothwellD Russell7/2F
2005Spot Thedifference12-11-12E BolgerMr J T McNamara4/1

Cross Country Chase Preview

Enda Bolger’s early domination of this race could now be under threat as the master of the Cross Country race has not won this race since 2009 after winning four of the first five renewals.

More of the high profile trainers are now actively targeting this race so it will be interesting to see if Bolger can regain the winning thread.

JP McManus owned horses have won four of the runnings of this race and the cross country is undoubtedly one of the races that the legendary owner targets at the Festival.

Cross Country Chase Tips

OLBG member amob17 has selected Any Currency:

"The one bet that stands out for me is the Martin Keighley trained Any Currency. His last five outings at Cheltenham read 32241 and on his most recent run here in December he won the Glenfarclas Cross Country by 12 lengths from Quantitativeasing."

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