Cross Country Chase

cross country chase

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is a highly anticipated National Hunt steeplechase for horses aged five years and older. As a unique highlight of the Cheltenham Festival, the race is known for its challenging 3m6f course.

This course features 32 bespoke obstacles, including banks, ditches, and hedges, that test both horse and rider’s agility and stamina. This event stands out as an exceptional test of endurance, taking place on day two of the Festival, where competitors navigate through the bespoke cross-country course before finishing on the main track.

Your interest in the race likely grows from its individuality within the British horse racing calendar. Not only does the Cross Country Chase showcase a distinct blend of conventional racing and complex navigational elements, but it also celebrates the collaborative effort between the horses and their riders as they tackle a variety of natural and artificial obstacles.

Since its introduction to the Cheltenham Festival in 2005, when a fourth day was added to the schedule, the race has quickly become a fan favourite, with its strategic and physical demands significantly contributing to its reputation.

You will find the Cross Country Chase scheduled for a Wednesday performance, with the race commencing at 16:10 GMT. This gives spectators a prime mid-week sporting spectacle, demonstrating the depth of skill required for cross-country racing.

Whether following the action on television or soaking in the atmosphere at Cheltenham, the Cross Country Chase offers you a glimpse into horse racing’s versatility and the robust nature of equine athletes.

History of the Cross Country Chase

The Cross Country Chase holds a distinct place in the Cheltenham Festival, starting with its addition in 2005. This race challenges both horse and rider with a varied and taxing course.

Notable Winners

Tiger Roll stands out as a legendary name in the Cross Country Chase, forging a remarkable legacy with multiple victories. Another victor, Josies Orders, also gained recognition for dominating this unique race. Additional honours belong to Garde Champetre, a horse synonymous with competence across the arduous terrain of the Cross Country Chase, marking its place in history with repeated triumphs.

Glenfarclas Chase Evolution

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase found its inception with the expansion of the Cheltenham Festival to four days in 2005; since then, it has become a staple of the event. Notable because of its unique obstacles, the race integrates traditional hurdles with unconventional challenges such as banks and ditches, presenting a distinctive test over a distance of approximately three and three-quarter miles. The course remains an acclaimed aspect of the festival, eliciting anticipation and excitement each year.

2018Tiger Roll
2019Tiger Roll

This table demonstrates the winners in recent years, with Tiger Roll securing a notable place in the history of the race.

The Course and Jumping Challenge

This part of the article explores the specific layout of the cross country course at the Cheltenham Festival and the nature of a handicap chase.

Cross Country Course Features

The Cheltenham Festival features a cross country course that is unlike any other. You encounter 32 distinct obstacles, a mix that includes banks, ditches, and hedges. The course spans a lengthy 3 miles and 6 furlongs, designed to test a horse’s stamina and agility. Each obstacle demands precision; a horse must be sure-footed to navigate this marathon-like challenge successfully.

Handicap Chase Overview

A handicap chase, such as the one at the Cross Country Chase, assigns different weights to horses based on their ability. The goal is to give each horse a fair chance of winning, balancing out disparities in their racing records and capabilities.

At Cheltenham, the handicap factor is a crucial element. It adds an extra layer of strategy to the race, as jockeys must manage both the horse’s energy and its assigned weight across the taxing terrain.

Betting and Odds

Betting on the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham involves understanding odds, the significance of a horse’s official rating, and the strategic use of free bets and bet credits to maximise your potential returns.

Analysing Cross Country Chase Odds

Odds represent the probability of a horse winning a race, reflected in the form of potential payout against your bet. For instance, if the odds are 5/1, you will receive £5 for every £1 you stake, should your chosen horse win.

Cross Country Chase odds fluctuate, often shortening or drifting based on a variety of factors, including form, track conditions, and betting patterns.

Importance of Official Rating

A horse’s official rating plays a pivotal role in estimating its odds of success. This rating measures a horse’s performance in previous races and is a good indicator of form and ability—crucial when selecting your bet.

A higher-rating horse denotes stronger past performance; however, this will be reflected in shorter odds, so potential returns are lower compared to betting on a lower-rated outsider.

Utilising Free Bets and Bet Credits

Betting operators frequently offer free bets and bet credits to attract new customers or to reward loyal punters.

These can range from matched deposit bonuses to refunds on losing bets. With free bets, you place your wager without risking your own money, and with bet credits, you can increase your betting stake.

Always check the terms and conditions of these offers to ensure their efficient use.

Training and Preparation

In horse racing, the quality of training and preparation can make all the difference. Proper conditioning, strategy, and understanding each horse’s unique needs are vital for success in cross-country chase events.

Gordon Elliott’s Approach

Gordon Elliott stands as a prominent figure in the horse racing world. Elliott excels in preparing his horses for cross-country events by focusing on stamina and agility.

He ensures that the training regime increases in intensity gradually, allowing horses to build endurance without overstress. Elliott values the importance of a routine that mimics the conditions of a race, incorporating varied terrain into workout sessions to enhance the horse’s adaptability.

Key training components include:

  • Long-distance gallops: To boost stamina.
  • Hurdle drills: To improve agility and jumping technique.
  • Recovery: Adequate rest and nutrition to maintain peak condition.

Enda Bolger’s Techniques

Enda Bolger is another respected trainer, known for his expertise in cross-country events. Bolger’s techniques centre around tailored training schedules that match the specific demands of the track.

He emphasises the need for his horses to experience the actual course elements, such as water jumps and ditches, during practice whenever possible.

Bolger’s Training FocusElliott’s Training Approach
Course-specific trainingIncremental intensity buildup
Psychological conditioningVaried terrain exposure
Strategic navigationRegular rest periods

Key Figures in Cross Country Chase

The Cross Country Chase stands as a testament to the skill of prominent jockeys and the passion of influential owners. These key figures shape the race’s outcome with their expertise and commitment.

Prominent Jockeys

Keith Donoghue takes centre stage as a jockey of renown in the Cross Country sphere. His expertise guides horses over the challenging course with finesse; a course speckled with 32 unique obstacles.

A jockey’s role in this formidable race proves pivotal—Donoghue’s track record confirms this, demonstrating his ability to navigate the terrain with skill.

Influential Owners

Behind every great jockey and horse, there stands an owner who fuels the chase with both ambition and financial support.

J.P. McManus, a name synonymous with the horseracing fraternity, casts a long shadow here. His investment into quality horses and the trainers who prepare them for this gruelling event underscores the success rate many anticipate at the race.

Media Coverage and Broadcasting

You will find detailed coverage of the Cross Country Chase on various media platforms, ensuring you stay updated with every jump and sprint.

ITV Racing and Sky Sports Insight

ITV Racing offers comprehensive live broadcasts of horse racing events, including the Cross Country Chase.

You can expect their coverage to start with engaging previews of the race day, giving you expert opinions and insights into the competitors and course conditions.

On key race days, such as the Cheltenham Festival, coverage traditionally commences around lunchtime, featuring the anticipation and atmosphere leading up to the event.

Sky Sports provides analysis and commentary across their channels, including in-depth features on racing strategies and horse performance.

Their team of experienced pundits and former jockeys brings a professional eye to the intricate details of the sport, which can enhance your appreciation and understanding of the event.

Racing Post Analysis

The Racing Post serves as a prime resource for keen race followers. It delivers detailed racecards and runner analyses, ensuring that you have all the substantial information at your fingertips before the race begins.

The Racing Post’s analysis includes historical data, betting odds, and comprehensive reviews of past race performances, which can guide you through the complexities of the event.

Famous Races and Achievements

This section regales you with tales from Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and records set on the undulating fields of Cheltenham, a mecca for jump racing enthusiasts.

Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

Since its inception, the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham has become a staple of British horse racing.

The event challenges horses aged five and above over a distance of 3 miles 6 furlongs 37 yards (6,069 metres).

The race tests equine agility with a standout feature of 32 obstacles, a considerable endurance feat for the participating steeplechasers.

YearWinnerNotable Fact
2005Spot ThedifferenceInaugural winner
2016Josies OrdersSwitch to conditions
MultipleTiger RollBack-to-back victor

Golden Moments at Cheltenham

Cheltenham Festival hosts prestigious races such as the Gold Cup and the Queen Mother Champion Chase, creating unforgettable moments.

In contrast, the Glenfarclas Chase provides unique excitement with its cross-country format.

The event precedes the Gold Cup but still demands strategy and will that compliment the pageantry of Cheltenham’s showpiece events.

  • Gold Cup: Known for its exacting demand on stamina and jumping capability, this race is the pinnacle for National Hunt horses.
  • Queen Mother Champion Chase: This race stands out as a test of speed and precision over two miles for the fastest two-milers in jump racing.

Strategies and Tips

Before placing your bets on the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, familiarise yourself with focused strategies and observe key trends to guide your decisions.

Cross Country Chase Betting Tips

In analysing Cross Country Chase tips, consider horses with proven stamina and agility.

Cheltenham’s undulating course with its numerous obstacles requires a unique skill set; hence, favour horses that have experience on this track or similar ones.

Your focus should be on contenders that show consistent performance in previous cross country events.

  • Tip 1: Opt for horses that have experience at Cheltenham.
  • Tip 2: Look for horses that have performed well in prior cross country races.
  • Tip 3: Assess jockey experience and their success rate in cross country events.

Successful Betting Trends

Historical data often set the tone for predicting outcomes in horse races.

Cheltenham tips can be sharpened by observing successful betting trends.

Horses aged 9 or older tend to perform better in this race, showcasing the importance of maturity and experience over the challenging course.

Since the introduction of the race in 2005, those with prior racecourse success usually stand a better chance.

YearWinning AgePrevious Course Success
202310Won at Cheltenham
20229Placed at Cheltenham
202111Won at Cheltenham
  • Trend 1: Back horses aged 9 or above.
  • Trend 2: Give priority to horses with a track record of success at Cheltenham.

Contenders and Competitors

Your interest in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham focuses on the horses that standout: the past winners and consistent favourites, as well as the emerging challengers that are set to make an impact.

Past Winners and Favourites

You will notice that experience often proves vital in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

Historically, 12 winners have been aged 8 or older, signalling that maturity and race familiarity are influential factors.

In recent years, certain names have resonated as perennial favourites.

A consistent pattern emerges as many of the favourites are frequently found among the top three in betting odds.

In the previous edition of the race, a notable winner triumphantly cleared the obstacles and chased the leader to secure victory, illustrating the competitive nature of frontrunners in this unique event.

Winners (Past 3 Years)Odds at Win
2024 Winner (anticipated)To be decided
2023 Winner (Delta Work)Favourable
2022 Winner (Tiger Roll)Leading Odds

Emerging Challengers

Shifting attention to the new entrants, you will find a crop of eager horses ready to challenge the status quo and leave their mark on the race.

These emerging challengers have a point to prove—coming off from recent training victories or notable performances in other circuits.

It is these runners that you must watch, for they bring fresh competition to the established hierarchy of Cross Country Chase.

Among them could very well be the dark horse that surprises everyone with a swift chase to the finish, ousting the seasoned contenders.

Jargon and Terminology

As you dive into the world of cross-country chase, you’ll encounter specific language unique to this thrilling sport. Understanding these terms can enhance your appreciation and experience of the events.

Racing Terms Explained

In cross-country chases, base mileage signifies the foundation of a horse’s endurance, built through consistent weekly training during the off-season.

These events often fall under the category of handicap chases, where horses carry different weights to level the competition.

Famed races like the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham present a stern test for participants; with a distance of around 3 miles and 6 furlongs and 32 obstacles, these races demand peak equine fitness and agility.

Bet Types and Their Meanings

Navigating the betting landscape can be as challenging as the chase itself.

For instance, win bet means staking on a horse to finish first.

In a place bet, your horse must finish within preset top positions, which provides better chances but potentially lower returns.

A treble bet involves picking three winners from three races.

Deviating from standard racing, cross-country bet types might mirror these but are tailored to the event’s unique format.

Impact of Weather and Conditions

The success of participants in a cross country chase often hinges on the prevailing weather and condition of the course.

The Influence on Race Outcome

Weather affects the cross country chase outcome in several ways.

For instance, a dry period leads to firmer ground, favouring horses with speed.

Conversely, wet weather softens the ground, which might benefit horses with stamina who can navigate the muddier, more challenging terrain.

A forecast of -3°C to -4°C might prompt a course inspection to determine the race’s feasibility, as cold weather can lead to frost, which could render the track unsafe for both horse and jockey.

Course Adaptability

Cheltenham, known for its cross country races, adapts its course according to the weather.

The size and uniqueness of the cross country strip mean it can’t be covered.

However, race organisers might replace a cross country race with an alternative if conditions are unsuitable, such as during unexpected dry spells leading to hard ground.

For example, a lack of rain once resulted in a cross country chase at The November Meeting being replaced by a veterans’ handicap chase.

Memorable Moments

The Cheltenham Cross Country Chase dazzles spectators with its storied history, featuring dramatic finishes and record-breaking performances. As you explore the rich tapestry of this event, certain instances stand out.

Dramatic Finishes

A notable heart-stopper occurred when Urgent de Gregaine charged through the field to claim a close second in 2018.

Each hoofbeat thundered against the turf as fans watched with bated breath; it was a finish that imprinted itself in the memory of all who witnessed it.

Record-breaking Performances

No discussion would be complete without Tiger Roll, a name synonymous with excellence in the event.

This legendary horse etched its name into the annals of history with back-to-back victories in 2018 and 2019, showcasing an extraordinary blend of speed and stamina.

Tiger Roll’s achievements not only raised the bar but also inspired a new generation to dream big.

Table: Tiger Roll’s Remarkable Achievements in the Cross Country Chase


Other Races to Watch

As you set your sights on the Cheltenham Festival, it’s crucial to recognise other key races that mirror the excitement of the Cross Country Chase.

National Hunt and Champion Hurdle

You’ll find that the National Hunt Chase serves as a prime display of up-and-coming talent.

With amateur riders piloting the future stars, this 4-mile test of stamina is a highlight for those who follow the progress of novice chasers.

The Champion Hurdle, meanwhile, is a spectacle of speed and agility.

As horses hurdle over the 2-mile course, you witness a blend of raw pace and precision — a true test for seasoned hurdlers aiming to secure their place in history.

Ryanair Chase and Queen Mother Chase

Engage in the strategic battle of the Ryanair Chase, where competitors attack the 2 miles and 5 furlongs with vigour.

This race calls for a perfect mix of speed and endurance, making it a thrilling event for spectators.

In contrast, the Queen Mother Champion Chase brings forth the fastest two-milers in the realm of jump racing.

As the pinnacle event for two-mile chasers, this contest is where legends etch their names into the annals with electrifying performances.

RaceDistanceObstacle TypeNotable Feature
National Hunt Chase4 milesFencesAmateur riders
Champion Hurdle2 milesHurdlesSpeed and skill
Ryanair Chase2m 5fFencesMix of speed/endurance
Queen Mother Champion Chase2 milesFencesTest of pure speed

Familiarise yourself with these races to grasp the full spectrum of horseracing mastery on display at the Festivals. Each represents a facet of the courage and prowess inherent in the sport.

Frequently Asked Questions

In navigating the terrain of the Cross Country Chase, you may have queries about trainers’ success, race scheduling, classification, recent outcomes, and historical records. The following will address these topics concisely.

Who are the most successful trainers in Cross Country Chase history?

Trainers with the most victories form a crucial part of the race’s legacy. Gordon Elliott stands out with his trained horses, such as Tiger Roll, marking significant wins.

On which day does the Cross Country Chase take place during the Cheltenham Festival?

The Cross Country Chase unfolds on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival. This is a detail that race fans eagerly anticipate each year.

Is the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham classified as a handicap race?

Indeed, the Cheltenham Cross Country Chase operates under handicap conditions. This levels the field, as horses carry different weights based on their ability.

What are the recent results of the Cross Country Chase?

The outcomes of recent races reflect both upsets and predictable triumphs. A table or detailed list featuring recent winners and their times would provide a clear vision of these results.

Which horse triumphed in the last Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham?

The winner of the previous race earns fame and commendation. Identify the horse, its trainer, and the jockey in relation to the latest edition to grasp the current champions of this course.

What have been the winning distances in past editions of the Cross Country Chase?

A look at winning distances offers insight into the competitive nature of the race. Documenting these margins highlights close finishes and dominant victories.


The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase stands as a unique event in the National Hunt calendar. You witness horses aged five or older compete over a course that spans more than three miles and contains 32 obstacles.

The race, originating in 2005, embodies a test of endurance and versatility for both horse and jockey.

Yearly, as part of the Cheltenham Festival, the Cross Country Chase showcases a special cross-country course. With prize money totalling around £74,000 in the previous year, competition proves fierce among entrants.

The complexity of the course—with its banks, ditches, and hedges—adds to the challenge that horses face.

Here are essential statistics for potential winners:

  • Age: Most are five years or older
  • Prize Money: £74,000 total last year
  • Obstacles: 32 unique challenges
  • Origin: Began in 2005
  • Success Factors: Top-five finish in last start, prior success in Cross Country Chases at Cheltenham or Punchestown

Understanding these elements can help you appreciate the rigour of the event and the achievement of triumphing over such a demanding course. Remember, each race writes a new chapter in the storied history of this prestigious chase.


About Josh Stewart

Josh lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and works as a website editor. He has previously worked for several prominent online sites and, as a former professional golfer, specialises in sports and iGaming. Josh has almost a decade of experience as a freelancer and has received excellent reviews from current and previous clients.