CROSS COUNTRY CHASE

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is run over a specially designed cross-country course consisting of 32 unique obstacles, including banks, ditches and hedges.

It was added to the Festival roster in 2005 when a fourth day was introduced and is one of three races run over this course at Cheltenham during the season.

Listed | 5yo+ | Wednesday 16.10
3 miles 6 furlongs | 32 obstacles | Old Course
Weight: 11st (5yo) / 11st 4lb (6yo+) | Allowance: 7lb for mares
Prize money (2022): £75,000 | 1st: £39,023

In its early years, the race was dominated by trainer Enda Bolger who won 4 of the first 5 renewals, all for owner JP McManus.

He also trained Josies Orders - awarded the race in 2016 after Any Currency, who had finished first, was later disqualified.

Originally a handicap, the contest was changed to a conditions race in 2016.

A unique test of a horse's capabilities, it is no surprise to see repeat winners of this race.

14/18 winners had run on the course before
15/18 winners were trained in Ireland
9/18 winners had run in the National Hunt Chase
5/18 favourites won
Updated to include 2022 renewal

In recent years Gordon Elliott has taken over as the trainer to follow, coinciding with the race becoming a level weights contest.

That includes the 1-2 in 2022, while Tiger Roll's remarkable third win in 2021 would have added to Elliott's tally, but for his suspension.

Nonetheless he has trained four Cross Country Chase winners, plus four more to 2nd/3rd, from just 13 entries since 2016.

Unsurprisingly for this specialised discipline, previous course form or Banks course form at Punchestown is key.

Rivage d'Or & Delta Work are the only winners not to not have prior experience of either.

Various Cross Country Chase winners had previously run in the National Hunt Chase.

In fact, Cause of Causes and Tiger Roll had both won that and a different Festival race.

It usually pays to swerve horses trained by Messrs Nicholls and Mullins whose records stand at 0-13 and 0-16 respectively.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
9
160
11-4
2021
11
166
11-4
2020
6
152
11-4
2019
9
159
11-4
2018
8
150
11-4

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Delta Work
Jack Kennedy / Gordon Elliott
5/2f
2021
Tiger Roll
Keith Donoghue / Mrs Denise Foster
9/2
2020
Easysland
Jonathan Plouganou / David Cottin
3/1
2019
Tiger Roll
Keith Donoghue / Gordon Elliott
5/4f
2018
Tiger Roll
Keith Donoghue / Gordon Elliott
7/1
2017
Cause of Causes
Jamie Codd / Gordon Elliott
4/1
2016
Josies Orders*
Nina Carberry / Enda Bolger
15/8f
2015
Rivage d'Or
Davy Russell / Tony Martin
16/1
2014
Balthazar King
Richard Johnson / Philip Hobbs
4/1
2013
Big Shu
Barry Cash / Peter Maher
14/1
2012
Balthazar King
Richard Johnson / Philip Hobbs
11/2
2011
Sizing Australia
Andrew Lynch / Henry De Bromhead
13/2
2010
A New Story
Adrian Heskin / Michael Hourigan
33/1
2009
Garde Champetre
Nina Carberry / Enda Bolger
7/2
2008
Garde Champetre
Nina Carberry / Enda Bolger
4/1
2007
Heads Onthe Ground
Nina Carberry / Enda Bolger
5/2f
2006
Native Jack
Davy Russell / Philip Rothwell
7/2jf
2005
Spot Thedifference
JT McNamara / Enda Bolger
4/1
* Any Currency finished first in 2016 but was subsequently disqualified after a prohibited substance was found in a post-race urine sample

Delta Work, winner of the Pertemps Final in 2018, denied his stablemate Tiger Roll a fairytale farewell in 2022.

There were some boos from the crowd as winning jockey Jack Kennedy passed the line, but both horses were led into the winners' enclosure to an almighty cheer:

‘I KNEW I COULD BE THE MOST HATED MAN IN CHELTENHAM ON WEDNESDAY EVENING IF I WON’

Tiger Roll's third Cross Country Chase win was his fifth victory at the Festival in total:

JP McManus had a seventh Cross Country Chase winner with Easyland in 2020:

Tiger Roll romped to back-to-back wins in 2019, winning by 22 lengths:

His victory in 2018 made it three different types of races he had won at the Festival.

It was a first Festival win for jockey Keith Donoghue, while owner Michael O'Leary memorably said about his horse:

‘HE’S A LITTLE RAT OF A THING, BUT HE’S THE HEART OF A LION’

In 2017 Cause Of Causes became just the fourth horse to win three different races in succession at the Cheltenham Festival, emulating Flying Bolt, Bobs Worth and Vautour.

Back in 2014, Richard Johnson rode Balthazar King to his second Cross Country Chase win - in an even closer finish than the first:

‘HE’S JUST AMAZING. EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT WITH TOP WEIGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR HIM BUT HE’S A HORSE THAT JUST WANTS TO WIN’

He had won by a head in 2012 for trainer Philip Hobbs to end Irish dominance of the race, in what remains a course record time (7:51.70):

‘HE JUMPED VERY WELL AND HE TRIES HARD. IT’S A DIFFERENT RACE BUT THEY ALL COUNT’

Garde Champetre was another dual winner of the Cross Country Chase.

In 2009 he led home stablemates L'Ami and Drombeag in a clean sweep for Enda Bolger and JP McManus:

The £556,500 paid for Garde Champetre in 2004 was a world record for a jumps horse sold at auction, not exceeded until 2019. 

But his Cheltenham Gold Cup potential never materialised after he missed the following season injured (unplaced in Festival races in 2006 & 2007 for Jonjo O'Neill).

Switched to Enda Bolger, he went on to win 10 cross country races, including his two Festival wins.

The inaugural Cross Country Chase run at the Cheltenham Festival was won by cross country specialist Spot Thedifference.

Ridden by the late JT McNamara, the 12-year-old came from a long way back to defy top-weight, with trainer Enda Bolger saying:

‘IT’S THE STORY OF HIS LIFE, HE NEVER GETS GOING UNTIL THE PARTY IS OVER...THE ONE THING HE REALLY DOES IS STAY’