Cross Country Chase Tips and Betting

Cross Country Chase Preview

We have now had thirteen Cross Country Chases at the Festival since its introduction in 2005. The race is run over a trip slightly further than three miles and six furlongs with thirty-two various obstacles to be negotiated and since 2016 has become a conditions event as opposed to a handicap from it's inception in 2005 until 2015.

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.

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 at Cheltenham

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).

2017Cause Of Causes9-11-4G ElliottMr JJ Codd5/2F
2016Josies Orders*8-11-4E BolgerMiss N Carberry15/8F
2015Rivage DOr10-10-10A MartinD Russell16/1
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

*Martin Keighley's Any Currency was first past the post in 2016 but was subsequently disqualified after a banned substance was detected in a post-race urine test.

Cross Country Chase Trends

13 / 13Did not run at a Flat track last time out, ran at an Undulating track
13 / 13Had not recorded just one win at Cheltenham
13 / 13Were aged no more than 4 years older than the youngest runner
13 / 13Were aged between 8yo-12yo
13 / 13Made their debut at no higher than Class 4 level
13 / 13Did not run in a Class 1 race last time out
12 / 13Were sent off no bigger than 16/1
12 / 13Had previous ran on the going at least 4 times
12 / 13Did not have a claimer in the saddle

Cross Country Chase Trends Analysis

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 Trainer Statistics

Below is a table of how some of the top trainers have fared in the last ten years:

TrainerRunnersWinsPlaces (Inc Wins)Win LSPEach Way LSP
E Bolger31310-18.62-12.20
Philip Hobbs10241.505.57
Michael Hourigan71519.0019.88
Gordon Elliott5130.003.70
A J Martin51112.006.00
Henry De Bromhead5122.501.19
Peter Maher41211.006.62
W P Mullins1203-12.00-3.00
Paul Nicholls700-7.00-7.00
Martin Keighley502-5.00-1.87

Enda Bolger has dominated this race with three winners in the last ten years and five wins overall. Bolger has had an amazing 31 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 11 England 2!

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.

This hasn't been a good race for Paul Nicholls with just one placed horse from ten runners since 2007.

Cross Country Tips From The OLBG Forum

OLBG member 'daddy cool' likes Cause of Causes:

"A horse that has unbelievable festival form and comes to itself in Spring. Since 2013 it has only had 3 wins, however all 3 wins have been at the festival - 2015, 2016 and 2017 Chase wins at the festival all 3 miles+ (2014 - 2nd in Kim Muir). This year, it had a recent prep run at Leopardstown (February) and sure now to strip fitter for that piece of work. Stays this mammoth trip - last year Grand National 2nd. Trained by the shrewd and talented trainer Gordon Elliott, not likely to place his top guns in the wrong race."

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 Trainer Paul Nicholls has done well in having found the winner in 2010,2015 and 2016. Check out the tips and race preview here.