National Hunt Chase

The National Hunt Chase is a long-distance race run as part of the Cheltenham Festival. 

The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup is a Grade 2 race restricted to novice chasers and amateur riders at the Cheltenham Festival. The race was formerly run over four miles but was reduced by two furlongs in 2020. Notable past winners include Topsham Bay (1990), Teaforthree (2012), Cause of Causes (2015) and Tiger Roll (2017).

Find out more about the National Hunt Chase:

National Hunt Chase Overview

The National Hunt Challenge Cup is a Grade 2 steeplechase for amateur riders in Great Britain. Horses must be five years old or older.

It is run over a distance of approximately 3 miles 6 furlongs on the Old Course at Cheltenham, with twenty-three obstacles to be jumped.

The race is for novice chasers, and it takes place every year in March during the Cheltenham Festival.

National Hunt Chase 2023 Odds:

The 2023 odds for the National Hunt Chase are listed below:

  • Three Stripe Life – 12-1
  • The Nice Guy – 12-1
  • Minella Cocooner – 14-1
  • Gaillard Du Mesnil – 16-1
  • Minella Crooner – 16-1
  • Hillcrest – 16-1

National Hunt Chase Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2012 Teaforthree 8 JT McNamara Rebecca Curtis
2013 Back in Focus 8 Patrick Mullins Willie Mullins
2014 Midnight Prayer 9 Joshua Newman Alan King
2015 Cause of Causes 7 Jamie Codd Gordon Elliott
2016 Minella Rocco 6 Derek O’Connor Jonjo O’Neill
2017 Tiger Roll 7 Lisa O’Neill Gordon Elliott
2018 Rathvinden 10 Patrick Mullins Willie Mullins
2019 Le Breuil 7 Jamie Codd Ben Pauling
2020 Ravenhill 10 Jamie Codd Gordon Elliott
2021 Galvin 7 Jack Kennedy Ian Ferguson
2022 Stattler 7 Patrick Mullins Willie Mullins

Famous National Hunt Chase Winners

The National Hunt Chase settled permanently at Cheltenham in 1911 after being staged at various venues. In its early days it was quite a prestigious race. The race was originally run over four miles but this was reduced by two furlongs in 2020 after a controversial finish in 2019 when only four of the 18 runners completed the course. Three jockeys received bans for continuing on tired horses but these bans were subsequently overturned.

In modern times, the National Hunt Chase is regarded as a serious trial for the Aintree Grand National and other leading staying chases. Several winners have gone on to be placed at Aintree but Tiger Roll (2017) went on to win the big race in 2018 and 2019. Tiger Roll had started his Cheltenham Festival victories in the Triumph Hurdle back in 2014, adding three victories in the Cross Country Chase. He went agonisingly close to a sixth festival victory in 2022 on his final racecourse appearance, losing narrowly to stable companion Delta Work.

1990 winner Topsham Bay won the Whitbread Gold Cup in 1992 and 1993. He finished seventh in 1994 behind Ushers Island who had won the National Hunt Chase in 1993. 2012 winner Teaforthree finished runner-up in the Welsh Grand National and third in the Aintree Grand National.

Cause of Causes (2015) won three times at the Cheltenham Festival during his career. He won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup in 2016 and the Cross Country Chase in 2017. Cause of Causes also finished second in the 2017 Grand National behind One for Arthur. 2016 winner Minella Rocco became somewhat enigmatic over fences but did finish second to Sizing John in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The horse he beat in 2016 was Native River, subsequent winner of the 2018 Gold Cup.

The high quality of National Hunt Chase winners was maintained by Galvin in 2021. He went on to win the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown, edging out A Plus Tard. The places were emphatically reversed in the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Key National Hunt Chase Trials

Five of the last twelve winners of the National Hunt Chase had won on their previous outing, although it is difficult to pinpoint any particular trial. This race is all about stamina with trainers targeting this race with horses that might make future Grand National contenders.

Only three of the last eleven winners returned to the Cheltenham Festival the following season. Cause of Causes (2015) won the 2016 Kim Muir and Minella Rocco (2016) finished second in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

National Hunt Chase Betting Trends

The last nine favourites in this race have all been beaten. This followed a run of three successful favourites in Chicago Grey (2011), Teaforthree (2012) and Back In Focus (2013). Recent winners Rathvinden (2018), Galvin (2021) and Stattler (2022) all started second favourite. Only three of the last twelve winners started at double-figure prices, the longest being Le Breuil (2019) at 14-1.

Eleven of the twelve winners had an official rating of 142 or higher. The only winner to fall below this mark was Midnight Prayer (2014) who was rated 139. Stattler (2022) was the highest rated on 153. The age of the winner has varied between 6 (Minella Rocco) and 10 (Rathvinden and Ravenhill 2020).

National Hunt Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Jonjo O’Neill is the leading trainer in the history of the National Hunt Chase with six winners; Front Line (1995), Rith Dubh (2002), Sudden Shock (2003), Native Emperor (2004), Butler’s Cabin (2007) and Minella Rocco (2016). Gordon Elliott has trained the winner on four occasions and Willie Mullins registered his third success with Stattler in 2022.

Jamie Codd and Patrick Mullins currently share the honours as leading rider with three apiece. Codd’s most recent victory was aboard Ravenhill in 2020 following victories on Cause Of Causes (2015) and Le Breuil (2019). Mullins won on Back On Focus (2013), Rathvinden (2018) and Stattler (2022).

What are the betting trends for the National hunt challenge cup

Betting on the National Hunt Chase

Despite the poor recent record of favourites in the National Hunt Chase, many of the recent winners have been well supported. The key to betting on the race is being confident of the horse’s stamina over this gruelling marathon trip. Several recent winners have had a touch of class and gone on to better things so the form is worth following.

The National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival has quite a lively ante-post market.

With bookmakers now offering “non-runner – no bet” on all Cheltenham Festival races from the end of January, betting on the National Hunt Chase has become a more attractive proposition.

You should also look out for enhanced each-way terms on the Kim Muir with bookmakers sometimes paying out down to fifth or even sixth place.

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Popular Questions

Is the National Hunt Chase a handicap?

The National Hunt Chase is a Handicap race.

How long is National Hunt Chase?

The National Hunt Chase is 3 miles and 6 furlongs long.

FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR NATIONAL HUNT CHALLENGE CUP QUESTIONS!-Max-Quality

Summary of The National Hunt Chase

The National Hunt Chase is one of the toughest long-distance races as part of the Cheltenham Festival.

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If betting at Cheltenham, please bet responsibly.

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.