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
|12/12||were either French or Irish bred||12/12||were within 4 years of the youngest in the race (0-40 the rest)|
|12/12||ran at an Undulating track last time out (0-71 those at flat tracks)|
|11/12||had previous ran over a minimum of 3m5f and won over 2m6f+|
|11/12||had run 2-6 times that season|
|10/12||had held a 134+ rating over fences including 8 of the last 9|
OLBG blogger Micko70 has written a blog on the Cross Country. His blog can be found here.
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 Winners
Table below shows the last ten winners of the race, their age/weight at the time of winning, trainer, jockey and odds (starting price).
|2017||Cause Of Causes||9-11-4||G Elliott||Mr JJ Codd||5/2F|
|2016||Josies Orders*||8-11-4||E Bolger||Miss N Carberry||15/8F|
|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|
*Martin Keighley's Any Currency was first past the post
last year but was subsequently disqualified after a banned substance was detected in a post-race urine test.
Cross Country Chase Top Trainers
|Trainer||Runners||Wins||Places||Win LSP||Each Way LSP|
|H De Bromhead||5||1||1||2.50||1.19|
has dominated this race with four winners in the last ten years and five wins overall. Bolger has had an amazing 28 runners in this race in the last decade!
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 10 England 2!
This hasn't been a good race for Paul Nicholls
with just one placed horse from ten runners since 2007.
Cross Country Chase Preview
The Cross Country Chase was run for the first time in 2016 as a level weights event
after eleven years as a handicap.
This is very much a specialists race with old favourites running here on multiple occasions. A New Story
ran in the race on six consecutive occasions and other frequent runners included Garde Champetre, Sizing Australia and Any Currency.
The Cross Country tends not to be everyone's cup of tea and some high profile trainers tend to give this race a miss
. David Pipe, Jonjo ONeill and Alan King have had just one runner each in the last ten years whilst Nicky Henderson is yet to have a runner at all.
Cross Country Tips From The OLBG Forum
OLBG member Nicoista
believes that Enda Bolger can win this race yet again:
Trained by the king of the banks Enda Bolger, Auvergnat has shown that he's in good form winning over the banks in the P P Hogan cross country chase at Punchestown in February, which has traditionally been a good trial in the past with 4 winners completing the double in the last 12 years.
He had his first taste of the course in January, when he was travelling as well as anything until unseating at the 26th fence. He will be a lot worse off a at the weights in this race but the horses are just hacking around in circles for the majority of the race until they rejoin the main racecourse when it turns into a sprint for the line. Because of the way the race is run I don't feel weight makes as much difference as in a normal race.
The way he's ridden is also a big positive for this race as he likes to sit just behind the leaders so he's in the perfect place when the pace increases as it not easy to make ground up late in these races as the leader don't usually stop. Also being a 7 year old he may also have the turn of foot for his older rivals.
See the latest news on the Cross Country Chase here via the OLBG forum.
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.
We have now had twelve 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.