CROSS COUNTRY CHASE INFO
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Type: National Hunt Steeplechase
Distance: 3 Miles 6 Furlongs
Age Of The Horse: 5 Years Old and Older
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. Will we see a historical three-peat or no will be known soon, but in any case make sure to use Betway Cheltenham promotion or the likes offered by other bookies to get the most out of your bet.
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.
Check out our Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide for the list of TOP 15 betting sites to place a bet on upcoming Festival.
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.
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.
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.
Tiger Roll was the star attraction on Ladies Day at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, but the dual Grand National hero and four-time winner at this meeting was turned over at odds of 8/11 by Easysland. Leading Irish owner JP McManus certainly liked what he saw from the French trained six-year-old when he won a handicap over the Cross Country Chase course earlier in the season.
The legendary gambler saw his own hand over the banks wasn’t adequate to tackle Tiger Roll, but a younger rival like Easysland had scope to pull off this giant killing. McManus bought him but kept this horse in training with David Cottin. Easysland was sent off 3/1 second-favourite for the Cross Country Chase and, despite a mistake at the eighth obstacle, he led 10 jumps from home.
When Tiger Roll challenged the French raider, he found plenty and stayed on really strongly, drawing clear on the run-in for a 17 lengths success. Just eight finished the Cross Country Chase with those in-behind, including 2017 RSA Chase winner and 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite among those to complete on his first start over the banks back in seventh.
Easysland is so young and stays so well that he has the potential to dominate this event for years to come. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see him turn up at the Grand National around Aintree in the future when he becomes eligible to run in the world’s greatest steeplechase.
As the third of four winners on a magnificent day for owner McManus, the Cross Country Chase has a new hero. Easysland acted really well on the figure of eight shaped course in the centre of Cheltenham’s main track. Keep him onside in future.
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.