FESTIVAL HUNTERS’ CHASE

The St James’s Place Festival Hunters' Chase is often referred to as the amateur riders’ Gold Cup, as it is run over the same course and distance as the big race.

Until 2020 it was known as the Foxhunters' Chase - "fox" was removed from the title prior to the 2021 running.

Rushing Wild went on from his 1992 win in this to finish second in the Gold Cup, while Grittar won the Grand National 13 months after taking this prize.

Listed | 5yo+ | Friday 16.10
3 miles 2½ furlongs | 22 fences | New Course
Weight: 11st 13lb (5yo) / 12st (6yo+) | Allowance: 7lb for mares
Prize money (2022): £50,000 | 1st: £24,445

Although the race is usually only open to amateur riders, professional jockeys took part in 2021 due to Covid restrictions. 

To qualify, a horse must have finished 1st or 2nd twice in hunter chases, or have won two open point-to-point races, or have won one open point-to-point race and finished 1st or 2nd in a hunter chase.

The last 7 winners have been aged 10 or 11
3 of the last 5 winners were French-bred
British-bred horses are 0-84 since 2003
9 of the last 10 winners were rated 134+
6 of the last 24 favourites won (1 joint-favourite)

There have been a number of repeat winners of this race, with Salsify, On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder all enjoying back-to-back success since 2012 alone.

Remarkably, Earthmover won in 1998 at the age of seven and again in 2004 at thirteen!

Whilst the majority of fields are made up of Irish-bred horses, it is worth noting the recent success of French-breds.

Last year's winner, Porlock Bay, was one of only three French-breds in a field of 18.

And in 2017 and 2018, Pacha Du Polder led home a French-bred 1-2 (from 12 of the 47 runners in those two renewals).

Top Wood was runner-up in 2018 at 50/1 and third in 2019 at 33/1, before going on to win the Aintree equivalent of this race.

Female jockeys have come to the fore in this race recently, with Nina Carberry (twice), Bryony Frost, Harriet Tucker and Maxine O'Sullivan all successful since 2015.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
10
140
12-0
2021
10
135
12-0
2020
10
126
12-0
2019
11
139
12-0
2018
11
138
12-0

RECENT WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Billaway
Mr P W Mullins / W P Mullins
13/8f
2021
Porlock Bay
Lorcan Williams / Will Biddick
16/1
2020
It Came to Pass
Maxine O'Sullivan / Eugene O'Sullivan
66/1
2019
Hazel Hill
Alex Edwards / Philip Rowley
7/2f
2018
Pacha Du Polder
Harriet Tucker / Paul Nicholls
25/1
2017
Pacha Du Polder
Bryony Frost / Paul Nicholls
16/1
2016
On The Fringe
Nina Carberry / Enda Bolger
13/8f
2015
On The Fringe
Nina Carberry / Enda Bolger
6/1
2014
Tammys Hill
James Smyth / Liam Lennon
15/2
2013
Salsify
Colman Sweeney / Roger Sweeney
2/1f
2012
Salsify
Colman Sweeney / Roger Sweeney
7/1
2011
Zemsky
Derek O'Connor / Ian Ferguson
33/1
2010
Baby Run
Sam Twiston-Davies / Nigel Twiston-Davies
9/2jf
2009
Cappa Bleu
Richard Burton / Sheila Crow
11/2
2008
Amicelli
Oliver Greenall / Cherry Coward
33/1
2007
Drombeag
J T McNamara / Jonjo O'Neill
20/1
2006
Whyso Mayo
Damien Murphy / Raymond Hurley
20/1
2005
Sleeping Night
Colman Sweeney / Paul Nicholls
7/2f
2004
Earthmover
Rilly Goschen / Paul Nicholls
14/1
2003
Kingscliff
Richard Young / Sally Alner
11/4f
2002
Last Option
Fiona Needham / Robin Tate
20/1
2001

Festival Cancelled

2000
Cavalero
Alex Charles-Jones / John Manners
16/1

The 2021 winner, Porlock Bay, was trained by Will Biddick, who would also have been riding until the covid protocols - handing over the reins to Lorcan Williams:

It Came To Pass caused a huge shock at 66/1 in 2020, with Maxine O'Sullivan riding for her father Eugene, who had also trained the winner of this race in 1991:

Hazel Hill, winner of 14 of his previous 15 races, stormed clear to win in 2019:

Pacha Du Polder secured back-to-back wins in 2018, despite jockey Harriet Tucker dislocating her shoulder during the race:

Pacha Du Polder held off Wonderful Charm in a 1-2 for Paul Nicholls in 2017:

On The Fringe was another back-to-back winner of the Foxhunters' Chase in 2016: