Cross Country Chase

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase was added to the Cheltenham Festival programme when the meeting was extended to four days in 2005.

It is over the cross country course with a variety of obstacles and a distance of three and three-quarter miles.

The Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is the third of a series of such races at the track. The earlier races are staged in November and December, giving runners and riders the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the unique nature of the course. There have already been three multiple winners of this specialist event; Garde Champetre (2008, 2009), Balthazar King (2012, 2013) and Tiger Roll (2018, 2019 and 2021).

Find out more about the Cheltenham Cross Country Chase:

Cross Country Chase

Cross Country Chase Race Overview

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is for horses aged five and up.

This National Hunt steeplechase is ran a distance of around 3 miles and 6 furlongs on the Cheltenham Cross-Country Course, and there are thirty-two obstacles to be negotiated during the race.

It was first run as a handicap event before being converted to a conditions race for the 2016 edition, and it is held on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival in March each year.

Famous Cross Country Chase Winners & History

The inaugural running was won by SpotThedifference, trained by Enda Bolger and ridden by JT McNamara. The horse really loved the challenge of the cross country course and won seven times over the course during his career. The winning rider would tragically suffer terrible injuries at Cheltenham in 2013 which left him paralysed. He suffered complications in 2016 and died at home at the age of 41. He was very popular in the weighing room and a terrible loss to the tight-knit National Hunt racing community.

Bolger would dominate the early runnings of the Cross Country Chase, winning four of the first five.

Nina Carberry rode Heads On the Ground (2007) and Garde Champetre (2008 and 2009). Garde Champetre was favourite to complete a hat-trick in 2010 but could finish only fifth behind A New Story.

Balthazar King was another very popular winner, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson. He was successful in 2012 and 2014, going on to finish second to Pineau De Re in the 2014 Aintree Grand National. He won eight times at Cheltenham in total among a total 16 career wins from 45 races.

Nina Carberry rode a record fourth winner aboard Josies Orders in 2016, a fifth winner for Bolger.

Gordon Elliott then took over the mantle of Cross Country specialist, winning for three consecutive seasons. Cause Of Causes was a well-backed winner in the hands of Jamie Codd in 2017. The versatile performer had previously won the National Hunt Chase and the Kim Muir Challenge Cup. He ran the race of his life to finish second to One For Arthur in the 2017 Grand National.

Tiger Roll has become a Cheltenham and Aintree legend. He has won five times at the festival meeting including his three Cross Country Chase victories. His winning run was interrupted in 2020 by the French-trained Easysland but he comprehensively overturned the form with that rival in 2021.

Key Cross Country Chase Trials

Previous Cheltenham form is vital in this event with eight of the last twelve winners having at least one course victory.

All but one of them had raced at least once at Cheltenham so the Glenfarclas series is the obvious place to look for key trials.

Nine of the twelve winners would return to Cheltenham for the Cross Country Chase the following season, yielding two victories.

Four winners ran in the Aintree Grand National next time.

Cross Country Chase 2023 Odds

Listed below are the Cross Country odds for 2023:

  • Delta Work – 5-2
  • Prengarde – 12-1
  • Easysland – 20-1
  • Diesel DAllier – 25-1
  • Shady Operator – 25-1

Cross Country Chase Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2012 Balthazar King 8 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs
2013 Big Shu 8 Barry Cash Peter Maher
2014 Balthazar King 10 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs
2015 Rivage d’Or 10 Davy Russell Tony Martin
2016 Josies Orders [b] 8 Nina Carberry[a] Enda Bolger
2017 Cause of Causes 9 Jamie Codd[a] Gordon Elliott
2018 Tiger Roll 8 Keith Donoghue Gordon Elliott
2019 Tiger Roll 9 Keith Donoghue Gordon Elliott
2020 Easysland 6 Jonathan Plouganou David Cottin
2021 Tiger Roll 11 Keith Donoghue Denise Foster
2022 Delta Work 9 Jack Kennedy Gordon Elliott

Cross Country Chase Betting Trends

  • There have only been two winning favourites in the past twelve seasons; Josies Orders (2016) and Tiger Roll (2019). However, all but three of those winners were in the first three in the betting. Balthazar King (2014), Cause Of Causes (2017), Easysland (2020) and Tiger Roll (2021) all started second favourite.
  • A New Story provided the biggest shock result at 25-1 in 2010. Rivage D’Or (2015) returned at 16-1 in 2015 and Big Shu (2013) at 14-1.
  • SpotThedifference was the first of three twelve-year-olds to win here, all within the first six years.
  • Easysland became the youngest winner of the event in 2020 when winning as a six-year-old. He was also the first French-trained winner in a race which has been dominated by the Irish.
  • Philip Hobbs remains the only British trainer to succeed here with the two victories of Balthazar King.
  • Experience is a key factor here with ten of the twelve winners having won at least twice over fences.
  • Nine of them had raced at least three times in the current season with six of them recording one or more victories.
  • A rating of 140 or higher is usually required to win here.
  • Tiger Roll is the highest rated winner on 166 in 2021, 7lbs higher than in 2019.

FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR CROSS COUNTRY CHASE QUESTIONS

Betting on the Cross Country Chase

There is a strong ante-post betting market on the Cross Country Chase.

The race often features popular horses well-known to the racing public.

The presence of Tiger Roll and his subsequent Grand National victories certainly helped to elevate the significance of this race within the Cheltenham Festival.

There have been few surprises in this race in its relatively short history with the form horses usually coming out on top.

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Cross Country Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Nina Carberry’s four winners remain the record for the Cross Country Chase.

Keith Donoghue is now just one behind her after his three winning rides aboard Tiger Roll. Davy Russell joined Richard Johnson on two winners when he rode Rivage D’Or to victory in 2015. His first success was on Native Jack for Philip Rothwell in 2006.

Enda Bolger is the leading trainer in the race’s history with five winners; Spot Thedifference (2005), Heads On the Ground (2007), Garde Champetre (2008, 2009) and Josies Orders (2016). Gordon Elliott has trained three winners with Cause Of Causes (2017) and Tiger Roll (2018 and 2019).

Tiger Roll’s third victory in 2021 took place when the licence was temporarily held by Denise Foster.

Popular Questions

What grade is the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham?

The Cross Country Chase is a Grade 2 race.

What day is Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham?

The Cross Country Chase takes place on Wednesday the 16th of March.

What are the betting trends for the Cross Country Chase

Summary of The Cheltenham Cross Country Chase

The Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival held on the inside on the main courses, is a unique and challenging race.

Horses and jockeys need to jump a variety of different obstacles and banks over a long trip of 3m6f.

It has won over the years by many favourites including the legendary Tiger Roll.

It has been dominated by Irish raiders over years, probably as they have more of these types of races in the Emerald Isle and their horses are more accustomed to it.

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