Grand Annual Chase

grand annual chase

The Grand Annual Chase stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of National Hunt steeplechase. This distinguished race takes place annually at the Cheltenham Festival, known for its prestigious collection of equestrian events.

Horses aged five years and older compete on the Old Course, galloping over approximately two miles, forging their way past fourteen stiff fences in a quest for victory.

Your interest in this race connects you to a historic event that dates back to 1834, making it the oldest chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

A Grade 3 contest, the Grand Annual Chase often features a gripping display of equine agility, speed, and the artful navigation of the course by skilled jockeys. The race unfolds on the second day of the Festival, adding to the excitement that builds throughout this iconic four-day event.

In recent history, the weight carried by successful horses has hovered between 10st 11lbs and 11st 6lbs, providing punters with insights into the attributes of likely winners.

Performance trends suggest a knack for the Cheltenham track may benefit contenders, given that many past winners have had previous runs, if not victories, at this venue.

The Grand Annual Chase is not just a race but an institution within British horseracing culture, embodying the thrill and heritage of the sport.

History of the Grand Annual Chase

The Grand Annual Chase stands as the longest-running chase in the National Hunt racing calendar, tracing back to its establishment in 1834. This race, with a rich heritage, embodies the evolution of steeplechase racing.

Notable Winners

Many champions have left their mark on the Grand Annual, but only a select few have achieved the honour of winning twice. Two such horses are Top Twenty and Dulwich, both winning the race in different eras.

Not many owners have dominated the event, yet JP McManus has frequently seen his colours cross the finish line first, including with Le Prezien in 2018. Gordon Elliott has also trained winners for this prestigious race, showing his skill in preparing top chasers for victory.

Historic Moments

Each race in the Grand Annual weaves a new thread into the fabric of its history. One such historic moment was when it moved dates in 2021, settling into a Wednesday slot after being traditionally run on the Friday. This shift was part of a wider reshuffle within the festival’s schedule.

Throughout its existence, the race witnessed venue changes, periods of cessation, and revivals, always adapting but maintaining its status and allure among enthusiasts.

Initially a three-mile race held in Andoversford, it was discontinued in the 1860s, later revived at the turn of the century. It settled in its current home at Cheltenham, solidifying its spot within the festival.

Notably, it’s not just horses that secure a place in history but also the notable trainers and owners who invest their passion into the race, anchoring its significance in the realm of horse racing year after year.

Race Details and Qualifications

The Grand Annual Chase is a pinnacle event in horse racing, demanding peak performance from participants. Your understanding of its structure will enhance appreciation for this historic race.

Cheltenham Festival Significance

The Grand Annual Chase stands as a celebrated contest within the Cheltenham Festival, respected for its deep roots in the sport.

Horses aged five years or older are eligible to compete, ensuring a lineup of seasoned chasers. The race is a handicap chase, contributing to its reputation as a test of a horses agility and speed.

Date: 13th of March 2024 (Cheltenham Festival Day 2)
Race Type: Handicap Chase
Minimum Age of Horses: 5 years
Historical Context: The oldest surviving chase in the National Hunt

Official Rating and Handicap Chase Information

To compete, horses must meet the criteria set by an official rating system. This intricate grading ensures an even playing field, assigning weights based on each horse’s past performance.

It’s a Premier Handicap National Hunt steeplechase, requiring entrants to be at their competitive prime, showcasing resilience over two miles at Cheltenham’s venerable Old Course.

Distance: Approximately 2 miles
Fences to Jump: 14
Weight: Varied, based on the official rating

By meeting the qualifications and rating demands, participants affirm their calibre, vying for glory in this esteemed event.

Betting and Trends

In this section, you will find specific insights into the odds and punting strategies for The Grand Annual Chase, with attention to Cross Country Chase odds and valuable Betting Tips and Free Bets. Learn how to navigate the betting landscape and leverage free bet offers effectively.

Cross Country Chase Odds

The odds are a vital aspect of horse racing, dictating potential payouts on successful bets.

For events like The Grand Annual Chase, bookmakers such as Paddy Power frequently provide competitive odds. To illustrate:

  • Favourite: 5/1
  • Close Contender: 8/1
  • Outsider: 12/1

Remember, odds fluctuate as the race approaches, impacted by factors such as horse form, weather, and expert opinion.

Betting Tips and Free Bets

Solid betting tips can guide your wager choices, enhancing your chances of a well-placed bet. Here are some crucial tips:

  • Weigh recent performance heavily; a horse in good form could offer value, even at shorter odds.
  • Consider each runner’s previous course form; experience at Cheltenham can be indicative.

Bookmakers offer free bets or bet credits for new and returning punters. These can serve as an advantage if you use them wisely:

  1. Sign-up offers: Register, make a deposit, and sometimes, place a qualifying bet to secure a free bet.
  2. Bet credits: Earn credits through loyalty programmes or deposit matches, which you can apply to future bets.

Always check terms and conditions to ensure you understand the requirements for redeeming these offers.

Key Personalities and Entities

In the realms of the Grand Annual Chase, certain trainers, jockeys, and horses have left an indelible mark on this historical race. Recognising these notables brings to light their contributions and successes.

Trainers and Jockeys

Your understanding of the Grand Annual Chase must include knowledge of prominent trainers like Enda Bolger, Willie Mullins, and Gordon Elliott, who have prepared contenders for this test of equine agility and speed.

The expertise of these trainers often proves crucial in the preparation and performance of the horses under their care.

With navigating the challenging jumps and maintaining a blistering pace, jockeys play a pivotal role. Keith Donoghue stands as such a figure, with a record demonstrating skill in coaxing the best from his rides.

Famous Horses

Several equine stars have etched their names in the annals of the Grand Annual Chase.

Tiger Roll is one such legend, renowned for his prowess on the national hunt circuit.

A horse like him comes once in a generation and his performances are always a highlight of the racing calendar.

YearWinning HorseStarting OddsWeight Carried
2022Global Citizen28/110-06
2019Croco Bay66/110-12
2016Rock The World9/2 Favourite11-05

Other notable horses include Josies Orders and Urgent de Gregaine, who have also performed admirably in previous races. Their agility and speed have thrilled spectators and rewarded the strategic foresight of their trainers and jockeys.

Other Key Cheltenham Festival Races

At the Cheltenham Festival, beyond the Grand Annual Chase, you’ll find several prestigious events.

One such highlight is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a Grade 1 steeplechase that features the fastest two-milers leaping over thirteen fences.

This race, typically scheduled for the second festival day, is a test of both speed and agility.

Another centrepiece event is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Horses run over three miles and two furlongs, and the race is often seen as a demonstration of stamina and jumping ability.

The Gold Cup represents the pinnacle of achievement for staying chasers and is held on the final day of the festival.

Here’s a snapshot of key festival races to look out for:

Day One (Tuesday)Champion HurdleGrade 1, two-mile hurdle
Day Two (Wednesday)Queen Mother Champion ChaseGrade 1, two-mile steeplechase
Day Three (Thursday)Ryan Air ChaseGrade 1, two-mile steeplechase
Day Four (Friday)Cheltenham Gold CupGrade 1, three-mile steeplechase


The Grand Annual Chase stands as a testament to Britain’s equestrian heritage.

This event anchors itself in tradition, dating back to 1834, making it the oldest chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The difficult race is designed for horses aged five or older and challenges competitors across two miles and numerous fences.

In recent years, winning horses typically carried a weight ranging from 10 stone 11 pounds to 11 stone 6 pounds. Successful contestants often boast at least one previous run or win at Cheltenham, emphasising the importance of course familiarity.

Moreover, most winners competed in the race within the preceding 92 days, suggesting a key pattern for prospective entrants and spectators alike.

The race is known for its unpredictability with winners coming in at a range of odds, including longshots. These dynamics make the event a peak attraction of the Cheltenham Festival, gathering crowds eager for both the spectacle and the competitive spirit.

For supporters, the race provides an opportunity to observe elite equine competition, underpinned by historical significance and contemporary stakes.

Ultimately, you witness a competition that is more than just a race; it’s a chapter in a story stretching over centuries. With each year, the Grand Annual Chase builds upon its legacy as a pinnacle of British steeplechasing.


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.