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 8 winners have been aged 10 or 11
3 of the last 6 winners were French-bred
British-bred horses are 0-85 since 2003
10 of the last 11 winners were rated 134+
7 of the last 25 favourites won (1 joint-favourite)
Updated to include 2022 renewal

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.

2021 winner, Porlock Bay, was one of only three French-breds in a field of 18.

And in both 2017 & 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
Patrick Mullins / Willie 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

It was third time lucky in this race for Billaway in 2022, having finished second in the last two renewals.

The 10-year-old, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by his son Patrick, produced a devastating late finish to snatch victory from Winged Leader in the shadow of the post:

‘I’M VERY PLEASED FOR PATRICK TO DO IT. AS A FATHER AND SON TEAM IT’S A TROPHY WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO WIN FOR YEARS, BUT WE DON’T HAVE TOO MANY HUNTERS’

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 had 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:

There was a dramatic finish back in 2013, with Oscar Delta jinking and unseating Jane Mangan on the run-in to allow Salsify to land his second successive Foxhunters' Chase.

That gave jockey Colman Sweeney his third victory in the race following their success the previous year, plus on Sleeping Night in 2005.

Looking back further, Cappa Bleu (twice placed in the Grand National subsequently) won the 2009 Foxhunters' on his Rules debut.

He was thus the first chaser since Rushing Wild in 1992 to win this race on his first start outside the point-to-point field.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
1999
Castle Mane
Ben Pollock / Caroline Bailey
9/2
1998
Earthmover
Joe Tizzard / Richard Barber
3/1
1997
Fantus
Tim Mitchell / Richard Barber
10/1
1996
Elegant Lord
Enda Bolger / Enda Bolger
3/1f
1995
Fantus
Polly Curling / Richard Barber
8/1
1994
Double Silk
Ron Treloggen / Reg Wilkins
2/5f
1993
Double Silk
Ron Treloggen / Reg Wilkins
12/1
1992
Rushing Wild
Justin Farthing / Richard Barber
9/1
1991
Lovely Citizen
Willie O'Sullivan / Eugene O'Sullivan
14/1
1990
Call Collect
Ray Martin / John Parkes
7/4f
1989
Three Counties
Katie Rimell / Mercy Rimell
6/1
1988
Certain Light
Paul Hacking / Jean Campbell
10/1
1987
Observe
Charlie Brooks / Fred Winter
14/1
1986
Attitude Adjuster
Ted Walsh / Mouse Morris
10/1
1985
Elmboy
Alan Hill / Norman Mawle
10/1
1984
Venture to Cognac
Oliver Sherwood / Fred Winter
7/1
1983
Eliogarty
Caroline Beasley / Barry Kelly
3/1f
1982
The Drunken Duck
Brod Munro-Wilson / Brod Munro-Wilson
12/1
1981
Grittar
Dick Saunders / Frank Gilman
12/1
1980
Rolls Rambler
Oliver Sherwood / Fred Winter
9/4
1979
Spartan Missile
John Thorne / John Thorne
9/4f
1978
Timmie's Battle
Peter Grenall / Arthur Stephenson
7/2
1977
Long Lane
Richard Shepherd / Richard Shepherd
9/4f
1976
False Note
Bryan Smart / John Horton
11/4f
1975
Real Rascal
George Hyatt / Barbara Surman
8/1
1974
Corrie Burn
Ian Williams / George Fairbairn
20/1
1973
Bullocks Horn
Lord Oaksey / Bob Turnell
5/1
1972
Credit Call
Chris Collins / Arthur Stephenson
7/4f
1971
Hope Again
Richard Smith / Denis Windell
16/1
1970
Highworth
Dick Woodhouse / Dick Woodhouse
15/2
1969
Queens Guide
Geoffrey Wade / Bill Wade
10/1
1968
Bright Beach
Charlie Macmillan / Geordie Dun
5/1
1967
Mulbarton
Nick Gaselee / Ian Pattullo
Evensf
1966
Straight Lady
Richard Shepherd / William Shepherd
100/8
1965
Woodside Terrace
Dick Woodhouse / Dick Woodhouse
33/1
1964
Freddie
Alan Mactaggart / Reg Tweedie
1/3f
1963
Grand Morn II
Bob Bloomfield / George Shepheard
15/2
1962
College Master
Laurie Morgan / Laurie Morgan
9/2
1961
College Master
Laurie Morgan / Laurie Morgan
7/2
1960
Whinstone Hill
Bobby Brewis / Bobby Brewis
11/8f
1959
Some Baby
John Thorne / Tim Rootes
100/8
1958
Whinstone Hill
Bobby Brewis / Bobby Brewis
7/1
1957
The Callant
John Scott-Aiton / Stewart Wight
10/11f
1956
The Callant
John Scott-Aiton / Stewart Wight
11/8f
1955

No Race

1954
Happymint
Danny Moralee / Stewart Wight
7/1
1953
Merry*
Gay Kindersley / Alec Kerr
100/7
1953
Dunboy II*
Charlie Scott / Pat Bruce
3/1f
1952
Parasol II
Ivor Kerwood / A.A Walton
8/1
1951
Halloween
Dickie Smalley / Bill Wightman
11/8f
1950
Greenwood
John Stuart-Evans / J. Tudor-Evans
100/7
1949

No Race

1948
State Control
Harry Llewellyn / Harry Llewellyn
7/2f
1947
Lucky Purchase
John Nichols / Sidney Banks
7/1
1946
Iloilo
Harry Freeman-Jackson / Harry Freeman-Jackson
6/1


No Race (1940-45)

1939
Kilshannig
Luke Lillingston / J.C Paterson
20/1
1938
Winter Knight
Eric Bailey / Eric Bailey
6/4f
1937

No Race

1936
Herode Bridge
Alexander Marsh / Ian Straker
5/2jf
1935
Empire Night
Alexander Marsh / Clifford Nicholson
4/1jf
1934
Ballybrack
Reg Tweedie / Stewart Wight
5/2f
1933
Minstrel Boy
Pete Bostwick / Tom Rimell
10/1
1932
Chadd's Ford
R. Hobbs / Ivor Anthony
8/1
1931

No Race

1930
Melleray's Belle
George Owen / Walter Easterby
100/6
1929
Blennerhasset
Bill Dutton / John Cockton
100/8
1928
Rathpatrick
Stratford Dennis / E. Davey
4/1f
1927
Pippin II
Meade Dennis / Percy Woodland
6/1
1926
Far Flight
Harry Brown / Harry Brown
9/4f
1925
Upton Lad
Bill Dutton / Max Barthropp
4/1
1924
Fairy Hill II
Edward Doyle / Tom Coulthwaite
4/5f
1923
Fairy Hill II
Edward Doyle / Tom Coulthwaite
2/1f
1922
Connemara Black
Herbrand Alexander / Herbrand Alexander
10/1
1921
Barca
J. Murphy / P. Feore
9/2
1920
Be Careful
P. Roberts / W. Faulkner
7/2
 

No Race (1916-1919)

1915
Denis Auburn
Jack Anthony / Aubrey Hastings
4/7f
1914
Charlbury
Jack Anthony / F. Hunt
5/2f
1913
Chapelizod
George Paynter / W. Taylor
5/2f
1912
Merry Land
Harry Ussher / Harry Ussher
10/1
All Foxhunter Chase winners at the Festival prior to 2000

* Dead heat

The Foxhunters' Challenge Cup was first run at the Festival in 1912, but had previously taken place at Cheltenham's Spring meeting in May (1908-1911). It was run over 4 miles until 1978.
 
Pippin II won the Foxhunters Chase aged 15 in 1927 and remains the oldest horse to have won at the Cheltenham Festival.