Cross Country Chase PreviewWe have now had eleven Cross Country Chases at the Festival since its introduction in 2005. The race is run over three miles and seven furlongs and there are thirty-two obstacles to be cleared.
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!
Partial view of the Cross Country course at Cheltenham
Cross Country Chase Trends
|8/10||were aged 9 or older||8/10||carried 10-13 or less|
|7/10||were rated 134 or higher|
|7/10||finished 1st or 2nd on their last completed start|
|7/10||had run at least 3 times since November 1st|
|7/10||had won a race since November 1st|
|6/10||had their last run that year|
Cross Country AnalysisThe Cross Country Chase was run for the first time in 2016 as a level weights event after eleven years as a handicap. 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 with the change in the race conditions we may now see even higher rated horses going down the cross country route.
Cross Country Chase Last Ten WinnersTable below shows the last ten winners of the race, their age/weight at the time of winning, trainer, jockey and odds (starting price).
|2016||Any Currency||13-11-4||M Keighley||A Coleman||11/1|
|2015||Rivage DOr||10-10-10||A Martin||D Russell||16/1|
|2014||Balthazar King||10-11-12||P Hobbs||R Johnson||4/1|
|2013||Big Shu||8-10-5||P Maher||B Cash||14/1|
|2012||Balthazar King||8-10-9||P Hobbs||R Johnson||11/2|
|2011||Sizing Australia||9-10-9||H De Bromhead||A E Lynch||13/2|
|2010||A New Story||12-9-7||M Hourigan||AP Heskin||25/1|
|2009||Garde Champetre||10-11-12||E Bolger||Miss N Carberry||7/2|
|2008||Garde Champetre||9-10-13||E Bolger||Miss N Carberry||4/1|
|2007||Heads On The Ground||10-10-2||E Bolger||Miss N Carberry||5/2F|
Cross Country Chase PreviewEnda Bolger and JP McManus' early domination of this race could now be under threat as the masters of the Cross Country race have not won this race since 2009 after winning four of the first five renewals.
Philip Hobbs is still the only English trainer to have won the Cross Country Chase with his two victories with Balthazar King in 2012 and 2014 so the score in this race is currently Ireland 9 England 2!
Cross Country Tips From The OLBG Forum
The change in the conditions of this race from a handicap to a level weights event has caught the eye of OLBG tipster The Shark who highlights the claims of a cross country veteran:
"Uncle Junior is building up most of the alphabet after his name but if you go back to last years race he was only beaten 3 1/4 lengths and will get a pull of around a stone with Rivage D'Or. He went on to win the banks race at Punchestown in April, was travelling well behind Josies Orders when slipping up at Cheltenham in November at the 28th (20lb odd better off for this) and still had every chance when unseating last time. Has always had to give bundles of weight away and could be a big price at around 25/1 off level weights this year."
Pompey Jim believes that the infuriatingly named Quantitativeeasing is due a change of luck in this race:
"I think Quantitativeeasing deserves a little compensation in this race after last year's renewal. Was still going very well and yet to make it's move when carried out through the rail two out. Like with many it looks primed for this with it's prep over hurdles last month and interestingly the cheekpieces were left off for that race when all it's best performances in the last season or two have been with them on. As already touched on by another member jockey bookings will be interesting and the pecking order etc .. but if allowed to take it's chance I believe he must be there or thereabouts."
Next up on Day 2 will be the Fred Winter Hurdle, another race that Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls has done well in having found the winner last year and in 2010. Check out the tips and race preview for that race here.