National Hunt Chase

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

The National Hunt Chase takes place on the 12th of March 2024.

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

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 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.

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National Hunt Chase Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

2013Back in Focus8Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2014Midnight Prayer9Joshua NewmanAlan King
2015Cause of Causes7Jamie CoddGordon Elliott
2016Minella Rocco6Derek O’ConnorJonjo O’Neill
2017Tiger Roll7Lisa O’NeillGordon Elliott
2018Rathvinden10Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2019Le Breuil7Jamie CoddBen Pauling
2020Ravenhill10Jamie CoddGordon Elliott
2021Galvin7Jack KennedyIan Ferguson
2022Stattler7Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2023Gaillard Du Mesnil7Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins

National Hunt Chase Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

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, the 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.

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.


Summary of The National Hunt Chase

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

Assured jumping and bags of stamina is required to win over this race, which is just shy of 4 miles. It is no surprise that winners of this race have gone on well to form in both the English and Welsh Grand Nationals.

It’s a great race with a rich history.

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