Cross Country Chase Date is March, 11, 2020
Type: National Hunt Steeplechase (3 miles 6 furlongs)
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Officially the Glenfarclas Steeplechase, the Cross Country as its known is a chase race over 3 miles 6 furlongs on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, taking place on Wednesday March 11th 2020 at 4.10PM, the fifth race of the day.
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Cross Country Chase 2020 Preview & Tips
Preview By Frank Monkhouse
Former professional boxer who is now a content writer specialising in sports and betting. Has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Coral and Betfair covering all manner of sports, from boxing and football to horse racing. A student of the formbook, he loved stats, trends, numbers and how they can guide punters towards a winner.
Now a conditions race and no longer a handicap, the Cross Country isn’t always the most competitive of events although it takes plenty of winning given that runners have fully 32 natural obstacles to take, the race being run in the middle of the tracks on the country’s only cross-country course.
While such heats are saved only for Cheltenham these days, this is not the only cross-country race during the year. Prestbury Park also host similar events in during November and December’s meetings, giving potential candidates for this race a chance to run the course before the big one in March.
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase has only been on the festival schedule since the meeting was extended to four days in 2005 and is now famous for having been won for the last two years by the brilliant Tiger Roll who went on to win the Grand National each time.
Antepost Key Runners & Favourites
While naturally so much can and will change between now and March, betting is already open on the Cross Country Chase and while the market is a little stagnant to begin with, it is sure to ripple more and more as the weeks and months go on.
Tiger Roll (2/1)
Despite having suffered a setback, Tiger Roll’s owner has insisted that a third crack at this race is the main target for the brilliant little champion and so it’s no surprise he’s been installed as favourite by bookmakers in the ante post Cross Country Chase betting.
Available at around 2/1 generally but as short as 11/8 in places, Tiger Roll would be an even warmer order on the day if he eventually makes it to Cheltenham with the ultimate question for punters being not whether he can win this race, but whether he will make it to a third Grand National in April.
Should Tiger Roll make it here unscathed he would be genuinely hard to beat, but whenever a horse has suffered any sort of injury predicting them to be at their best is always risky for a punter, so at such short prices it would be wise to pass him over this time and go in search of some value elsewhere.
Next in at a best-priced 6/1 is Yanworth, another very popular gelding this time owned by JP McManus and trained by Enda Bolger having moved from Alan King’s yard.
Although it seems like the nine-year-old has been around forever, he has only had 5 chase races in his career and so it could be argued that we are nowhere near to getting to the bottom of Yanworth quite yet.
This horse is somewhat of an enigma in as much as he was a top-class hurdler, a winner in fact of the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle in 2017, while he also reached a fair level over fences at Cheltenham in 2018 when taking the Dipper (Grade 2) however he doesn’t appear to be the horse he once was, which is confusing handicappers a little.
He was not overly impressive when winning a small race as odds-on favourite last time out, but it seems he is back on the improve considering that his pipe-opener over hurdles was even less showy and so we can expect him to take some fair forward steps between now and March.
Urgent De Gregaine (12/1)
Having a French runner in this race would seem unusual to some, but in the shape of Urgent De Gregaine it could well be the case once again.
Emmanuel Clayeux’s 11-year-old has already been sent around the cross-country course here five times, winning once and always being placed.
Although comfortably put in his place in last year’s event by Tiger Roll (beaten 23 lengths), he was a much-improved second during the Open Meeting in November and should be spot-on for another crack at the race in March.
JP McManus typically has a strong hand in these events and this year, as well as Yanworth, he owns the Joseph O’Brien-trained Edwulf who is currently well-fancied at a best-priced 16/1.
A Grade 1 winner having taken the Irish Gold Cup in 2018, it may be true that Edwulf needs to be reinvigorated but his class is not in doubt so it would be very interesting to see how well he does if allowed to take his chance.
Had he not blundered his fence and gone wrong two from home at the Festival in 2017 he may have been very close to Tiger Roll back then and was going OK around this course, so should he be reported to be coming here fit and well he’d be a very live contender indeed.
As if that wasn’t enough for JP McManus, or Enda Bolger for that matter, another key contender at the early stages is Auvergnat for the same pair. This time a chasing veteran, the 9-year-old has run 24 times over larger obstacles and as recently as May he was seen to be still in very good form when runner-up in a handicap at Killarney.
You would have to say that he’s generally on the downgrade now and he was pulled-up in this race last season, however at his best he’d still hold an each-way chance in the race so remains of some interest.
Check out our Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide for the list of TOP 15 betting sites to place a bet on upcoming Festival.
Cross Country Chase Stats & Trends
While statistics, and trends especially, don’t always give us genuine pointers towards picking the winner of the Cross Country Chase they can at least be helpful and as we can see from the above, a few things stand out.
This Season’s Form
With the exception of 25/1 shot A New Story, every winner in the last ten years has been lightly raced that season, 8 of the 10 winners having had four runs or less. Taking out Rivage D’Or who hadn’t run that term, every runner bar Balthazar King first time around had either been in the first 5 last time out, or been placed the time before meaning decent current form is important.
Having been 25/1 and run nine times, A New Story was a bit of an anomaly while Balthazar King in 2014 was a returning former winner and Rivage D’Or was a totally unknown quantity having not raced that year. Taking these three out of the equation however shows that every other winner was aged 8 or 9 which seems to be the sweet spot.
A New Story and Rivage D’Or are the jokers in the pack here for sure, so taking them out gives us better pointers. All of the remaining eight winners have been priced up at 5/4 to 14/1 and at an average of 11/2, so while only two favourites have won during this time, winners tend not to be huge prices so stick with the first four or five in the market.
Over the years Nina Carberry has proven to be the most successful jockey in this race with four wins, three of them coming consecutively between 2007 and 2009, however following her retirement the door is wide open for somebody else to take the mantle, perhaps Tiger Roll’s pilot for the last two years, Keith Donoghue.
Enda Bolger, who provided Carberry with all of her victories, is the winningmost trainer with five successes and he could be back this season with yet more firepower.
Cross Country Chase Tips
We have a lot of water to watch go under the bridge before we know who and what will line up for the Cross Country Chase this time around, but using what information we have and having seen the earliest of betting shows it seems this race is more about knowing who to swerve.
Tiger Roll is brilliant, but far too short in the betting and it’s always possible he may not be the same horse having had an injury. Yanworth may yet begin to come back to himself, but again given his history this is not certain and so as second-favourite for the race he too is bad value. Chasing veteran Auvergnat is more than capable on his day, but is very possibly regressing which means we can be far from guaranteed that he will run to what we believe is his current best form by the time March comes around, basically leaving us with two horses from the above list.
3 miles 6 furlongs of the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase with 32 obstacles to clear can mean mistakes will happen, so going with the proven ability of URGENT DE GREGAINE in these conditions could be a wise move at 12/1. He’s always been placed on Cheltenham’s cross-country course and so is reliable, and with the possibility of no superstar in the line-up should Tiger Roll not make it or not be himself, which is a real possibility, his consistency here could count for plenty.
At an even bigger price of 16/1, EDWULF is the other one to throw into the mix. Having been thought good enough to contest the 2018 Gold Cup and having now got his head back in front in a point-to-point race, any upturn in confidence for this horse could prove crucial and he could be therefore too big a price.
Cross Country Chase Ante Post Tips: URGENT DE GREGAINE & EDWULF
Cross Country Chase Offers
It’ll be a little while before we see what delights the bookmakers have in store for us in 2020, but last year we were awash with great deals including Ladbrokes’ Bet £5 Get £20 Cheltenham Special and Betway’s £30 in Free Bets.
Paddy Power offered a £20 Risk Free Bet with money back in cash if your bet lost while 888’s main deal was their Bet £10 Get £30 + £10 on Any Horse Racing Market. All of these offers were for new customers only, but do shop around as an existing customer and make sure you get the best value for your bets.
Cross Country Chase Betting Guide
The ante post market for the Cross Country Chase is already open, though it is very uncompetitive with Tiger Roll carrying around 83% of all advanced bets. When the final declarations are made on March 9th however and the proper markets are live, Cross Country Chase betting will be very lively and by that stage the each-way market may be the one to concentrate on so long as we have a big enough field.
This not being a handicap there be only three places available, but as discussed above there are some solid and consistent types who should give you a run for your money, even if not quite being good enough to get home in front so take a look at what each-way terms each bookmaker is offering.
Past Cross Country Chase Winners
Last 10 Cross Country Chase winners:
|2019||Tiger Roll||41||9||5/4f||Keith Donoghue||Gordon Elliott|
|2018||Tiger Roll||2P5||8||7/1||Keith Donoghue||Gordon Elliott|
|2017||Cause Of Causes||5P05||9||4/1||Jamie Codd||Gordon Elliott|
|2016||Josies Orders||8119||8||15/8f||Nina Carberry||Enda Bolger|
|2015||Rivage d’Or||-||10||16/1||Davy Russell||Tony Martin|
|2014||Balthazar King||111||10||4/1||Richard Johnson||Philip Hobbs|
|2013||Big Shu||2||8||14/1||Barry Cash||Peter Maher|
|2012||Balthazar King||15P0R||8||11/2||Richard Johnson||Philip Hobbs|
|2011||Sizing Australia||138||9||13/2||Andrew Lynch||Henry De Bromhead|
|2010||A New Story||093070454||12||25/1||Adrian Heskin||Michael Hourigan|
What Happened in 2019?
Having already won this race the previous year and having since taken the Grand National at Aintree, Tiger Roll was a very warm order at 5/4 favourite for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 2019.
As it turns out the nine-year-old did not disappoint, jumping beautifully as expected and stretching away to score by an impressive 22 lengths from Josie’s Orders in second place.
While the Cross Country Chase 2019 was a bit of a procession for Tiger Roll, other renewals have been far more competitive.