St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase

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The St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase, formerly known as the Foxhunters Chase, is run as part of the Cheltenham Festival

The St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase takes place on Friday 15th March 2024.

The St James’s Place Festival Hunters Chase is restricted to amateur riders and takes place on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. It was first run in 1904 and became known as the Amateur Gold Cup.

There have been eight dual winners of the race but no horse has yet managed to win it three times. The most recent dual winners were Salsify (2012, 2013), On The Fringe (2015, 2016) and Pacha du Polder (2017, 2018).

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St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase

St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase Overview

The St James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase is a steeplechase for amateur riders in Great Britain that is open to horses aged five and up. It will take place every year in March at the Cheltenham Festival.

It is run over a distance of 3 miles and 2 furlongs on the New Course at Cheltenham, with twenty-two obstacles to be jumped.

St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase Previous Winners

1946Iloilo9Harry Freeman-JacksonHarry Freeman-Jackson
1947Lucky Purchase9John NicholsSidney Banks
1948State Control8Harry LlewellynHarry Llewellyn
1949no race 1949 [a]
1950Greenwood13John Stuart-EvansJ. T. Evans
1951Halloween6Dickie SmalleyBill Wightman
1952Parasol II7Ivor KerwoodA. Walton
1953Dunboy II (DH)9Charlie ScottP. Bruce
1953Merry (DH)13Gay KindersleyAlec Kerr
1954Happymint9Danny MoraleeStewart Wight
1955no race 1955 [a]
1956The Callant8John Scott-AitonStewart Wight
1957The Callant9John Scott-AitonStewart Wight
1958Whinstone Hill9Bobby BrewisBobby Brewis
1959Some Baby10John ThorneTim Rootes
1960Whinstone Hill11Bobby BrewisBobby Brewis
1961College Master11Laurie MorganLaurie Morgan
1962College Master12Laurie MorganLaurie Morgan
1963Grand Morn II9R. BloomfieldG. Shepheard
1964Freddie7Alan MactaggartReg Tweedie
1965Woodside Terrace12Dick WoodhouseDick Woodhouse
1966Straight Lady10Richard ShepherdWilliam Shepherd
1967Mulbarton11Nick GaseleeIan Pattullo
1968Bright Beach8Charlie MacmillanGeordie Dun
1969Queens Guide8G. WadeWillie Wade
1970Highworth11Dick WoodhouseDick Woodhouse
1971Hope Again9Richard SmithDenis Windel
1972Credit Call8Chris CollinsArthur Stephenson
1973Bullocks Horn10Lord OakseyBob Turnell
1974Corrie Burn8Ian WilliamsGeorge Fairbairn
1975Real Rascal12George HyattBarbara Surman
1976False Note10Bryan SmartJohn Horton
1977Long Lane9Richard ShepherdRichard Shepherd
1978Timmie's Battle7Peter GreenallArthur Stephenson
1979Spartan Missile7John ThorneJohn Thorne
1980Rolls Rambler9Oliver SherwoodFred Winter
1981Grittar8Dick SaundersFrank Gilman
1982The Drunken Duck9Brod Munro-WilsonBrod Munro-Wilson
1983Eliogarty8Caroline BeasleyBarry Kelly
1984Venture to Cognac11Oliver SherwoodFred Winter
1985Elmboy7Alan HillNorman Mawle
1986Attitude Adjuster6Ted WalshMouse Morris
1987Observe11Charlie BrooksFred Winter
1988Certain Light10Paul HackingJean Campbell
1989Three Counties12Katie RimellMercy Rimell
1990Call Collect9Ray MartinJohn Parkes
1991Lovely Citizen8Willie O'SullivanEugene M. O'Sullivan
1992Rushing Wild7Justin FarthingRichard Barber
1993Double Silk9Ron TreloggenReg Wilkins
1994Double Silk10Ron TreloggenReg Wilkins
1995Fantus8Polly CurlingRichard Barber
1996Elegant Lord8Enda BolgerEnda Bolger
1997Fantus10Tim MitchellRichard Barber
1998Earthmover7Joe TizzardRichard Barber
1999Castle Mane7Ben PollockCaroline Bailey
2000Cavalero11Alex Charles-JonesJohn Manners
2001no race 2001 [b]
2002Last Option10Fiona NeedhamRobin Tate
2003Kingscliff6Richard YoungSally Alner
2004Earthmover13Rilly GoschenPaul Nicholls
2005Sleeping Night9Colman SweeneyPaul Nicholls
2006Whyso Mayo9Damien MurphyRaymond Hurley
2007Drombeag9J. T. McNamaraJonjo O'Neill
2008Amicelli9Oliver GreenallCherry Coward
2009Cappa Bleu7Richard BurtonSheila Crow
2010Baby Run10Sam Twiston-DaviesNigel Twiston-Davies
2011Zemsky8Derek O'ConnorIan Ferguson
2012Salsify7Colman SweeneyRoger Sweeney
2013Salsify8Colman SweeneyRoger Sweeney
2014Tammys Hill9James SmythLiam Lennon
2015On The Fringe10Nina CarberryEnda Bolger
2016On The Fringe11Nina CarberryEnda Bolger
2017Pacha Du Polder10Bryony FrostPaul Nicholls
2018Pacha Du Polder11Harriet TuckerPaul Nicholls
2019Hazel Hill11Alex EdwardsPhilip Rowley
2020It Came to Pass10Maxine O'SullivanEugene O'Sullivan
2021Porlock Bay10Lorcan WilliamsWill Biddick
2022Billaway10Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2023Premier Magic10Bradley GibbsBradley Gibbs
2024Sine Nomine8John DawsonFiona Needham

Famous Festival Hunter Chase Winners

The most famous winner of the Festival Hunter Chase was Grittar in 1981, owned and trained by Frank Gilman and ridden by Dick Saunders. He won the 1982 Grand National as the 7-1 favourite with his rider, at 48, becoming the oldest winning jockey in the history of the great race. Saunders retired after the race with Grittar finishing fifth in the 1983 National and tenth in 1984.

The Festival Hunter Chase almost produced a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in Rushing Wild (1992). He won by 25 lengths but fell at the third last when attempting to follow up in the Aintree Foxhunter Chase. He was transferred to Martin Pipe’s stable, winning the Anthony Mildmay, Peter Cazalet Memorial Chase and finishing second to Jodami in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Tragically he suffered a fatal injury when contesting the Irish Grand National in 1993.

Double Silk (1993, 1994) and Kingscliff (2003) were other notable Festival Hunter Chase winners. Double Silk started 6-1 for the 1994 Grand National but fell at the thirteenth after jumping boldly in front. He was fifth in 1995 when attempting a record third victory in this race. Kingscliff gained his biggest win in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock when beating Beef Or Salmon in 2005.

Salsify (2012, 2013) was a very fortunate winner on the second occasion. He was four lengths down and under pressure behind Oscar Delta when that horse jinked left and unseated his rider just 150 yards short of the line. Salsify missed his hat-trick bid through injury, although he did take part in the race in 2015 (pulled up) and 2017 (tenth).

Nina Carberry won aboard On The Fringe in successive seasons in 2015 and 2016. Pacha Du Polder then won for the following two seasons, ridden by Bryony Frost in 2017 and Harriet Tucker in 2018. The horse had finished strongly in fifth place in 2016 when ridden by Olympic winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton.

Key Festival Hunter Chase Trials

The nature of the qualifying conditions for this race means there are no easily identifiable key trials.

Six of the last twelve winners had won on their previous outing under rules and all but three of them had reached the frame.

Six of the last twelve winners returned to run in the race again the following season. Salsify (2012), On The Fringe (2015) and Pacha Du Polder (2017) all completed back-to-back victories.

Three of the twelve winners ran in the Aintree Foxhunter Chase with On The Fringe winning in 2015 and 2016.

Three had their next race at Fairyhouse but all were beaten.

There have been four winning favourites in the Festival Hunter Chase in the past twelve seasons; Salsify (2013) 2-1, On The Fringe (2016) 13-8, Hazel Hill (2019) 7-2 and Billaway (2022) 13-8. There have also been plenty of shock results.

The biggest of all was 66-1 chance It Came To Pass (2020) who defeated favourite Billaway. Zemsky (2011) was a 33-1 chance and Pacha Du Polder (2017, 2018) returned at 16-1 and 25-1 for his two victories. Porlock Bay (2021) was also a 16-1 winner.

Ten of the twelve winners were rated 134 or higher. The highest officially rated winner was On The Fringe (2016) on 147. The last eight winners have all been seasoned campaigners aged ten or eleven.

What are the betting trends for the St James's Place Festival Hunter Chase

Festival Hunter Chase – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Paul Nicholls and Richard Barber share the leading training honours here with four apiece. Barber won with Rushing Wild (1992), Fantus (1995, 1997) and Earthmover (1998). Nicholls has won with Earthmover (2004), Sleeping Night (2005) and Pacha Du Polder (2017, 2018).

The leading jockey (amateur jockeys) in the history of the race is Colman Sweeney who rode Sleeping Night and was twice successful aboard Salsify (2012, 2013).

Popular Questions

What distance is the St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase?

The St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase has a total distance of 3 miles, 2 furlongs and 70 yards.

What time does the St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase start

St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase starts at 4:10pm.

Which day of the festival does the St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase take place?

The St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase takes place on day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival.


Summary of the St James’s Place Festival Hunter Chase

The St Jame’s Festival Hunter Chase is run directly after the Gold Cup on the Friday of Cheltenham.

Known as the Ameature Gold Cup and Foxhunters chase, it has produced some memorable races over the years.

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