Foxhunter Chase Tips and Betting Offers

Foxhunter Chase Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

Traditionally run immediately after the Cheltenham Gold Cup, is Cheltenham’s Foxhunter Chase. Read on for the best odds, offers and betting tips for this always exciting spectacle

The Foxhunter Chase is held over the same 22 fences and 3m 2½f trip of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. First run in 1904 this level weights contest is restricted to amateur riders and horses meeting the criteria of having performed to a certain level in point to points or hunter chases.

Foxhunter Chase Tips and 2020 Race Preview

The Foxhunter Chase takes place over the same course and distance as the Gold Cup but is a very different race. It’s open only to horses who have precious strong form either in hunter chases or point to point races while every horse is partnered by an amateur jockey.

There are some real class options in the field for the 2020 renewal including last year’s winner, Hazel Hill and Minella Rocco who has played a role in many Cheltenham Festivals before. However, it’s two others who stand out in the betting at tempting odds.

Caid Du Berlais has run twice in this race before and this year could be the time that he finally wins it. Alcala has taken to hunter chasers well having made the switch this year and could earn Paul Nicholls more success in a race he’s won in two of the last three editions.

Foxhunter Chase Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Hazel Hill – jockey Alex Edwards, trainer Philip Rowley
  • 2018 – Pacha Du Polder – jockey Harriet Tucker, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2017 – Pacha Du Polder – jockey Bryony Frost, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2016 – On The Fringe – jockey Nina Carberry, trainer Enda Bolger
  • 2015 – On The Fringe – jockey Nina Carberry, trainer Enda Bolger
  • 2014 – Tammys Hill – jockey James Smyth, trainer Liam Lennon
  • 2013 – Salsify – jockey Colman Sweeney, trainer Roger Sweeney
  • 2012 – Salsify – jockey Colman Sweeney, trainer Roger Sweeney
  • 2011 – Zemsky – jockey Derek O’Connor, trainer Ian Ferguson
  • 2010 – Baby Run – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2009 – Cappa Bleu – jockey Richard Burton, trainer Sheila Crow
  • 2008 – Amicelli – jockey Oliver Greenall, trainer Cherry Coward
  • 2007 – Drombeag – jockey J.T. McNamara, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
  • 2006 – Whyso Mayo – jockey Damien Murphy, trainer Raymond Hurley

Foxhunter Chase Trends

The Foxhunter Chase is run over the exact same course and distance as the Gold Cup but the pace of the two races is considerably different. Therefore, the Foxhunter Chase comes down to out and out stamina rather than the ability to travel quickly whilst jumping ability is a little less pivotal but still important.

Older horses have a much better recent record in the Foxhunter Chase than the Gold Cup. The majority of recent winners were aged eight or older. One of the quirks of the trends for this race is that only a smaller number of recent winners had already won over the 3m2½f trip and a handful hadn’t even contested the distance. That means those who have shown an ability to grind out wins on heavy ground over shorter trips should be looked at seriously.

The importance of experience is seen in a couple of other ways. It’s fairly rare for a horse to win the Foxhunter Chase on their Cheltenham debut. That’s due to the specific challenges of the course and all the noise that comes with the big crowds moving about following the Gold Cup. The other indicator that experience is a hugely valuable commodity is the number of multiple winners. Between 2012 and 2018 Salsify, On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder each won the Foxhunter Chase twice in a row.

Calmness is Key

Experienced horses who remain calm during the race can help the amateur jockeys who compete in the Foxhunter Chase but it would be unfair to call winning jockeys such as Bryony Frost, Nina Carberry or Sam Twiston-Davies inexperienced.

The price of recent winners paints the picture of an unpredictable race. Everything from 13/8 favourites to 33/1 outsiders have won the Foxhunter Chase which doesn’t make things much easier for punters.

Foxhunter Chase History

Now over one hundred years old, this race provides a festival target for those horses and jockeys predominantly based in the spheres of point to pointing and hunter chasing.

Being run over the same course and distance as the showpiece of the Cheltenham festival, this event is often referred to as the “Amateurs Gold Cup”, and is the highlight of the Amateur jockey’s season.

This race often represents the pinnacle of the winner’s career, with not many going on to graded level success. That said 1951 winner Halloween did progress to take the King George VI Chase in 1952 and 1954 and so rates the highest class winner in the races history.

There are however perhaps more significant names amongst the list of amateur jockeys to have won this race.

Harry Llewellyn trained and rode State Contol to victory in 1948. Clearly a talented horseman Harry was part of the equestrian team that won Great Britain’s only gold medal at the Helsinki Olympic games of 1952.

Harry is not the only Olympian to feature here though. Laurie Morgan won aboard College Master in 1961 and 1962.The multi-talented Laurie not only played professional Australian Rules Football but also won two gold medals at the Rome games of 1960.

Legendary broadcaster and president of the Injured Jockeys Fund, Lord Oaksey achieved one of his four Cheltenham Festival successes aboard Bullocks Horn here in 1973.

Now famous as the trainer of Grand National winner, Many Clouds, Oliver Sherwood was previously a champion amateur jockey and won this race twice aboard Rolls Rambler (1980) and Venture To Cognac (1984).

Charlie Brooks has hit the headlines for a variety of reasons, good and bad, not least due to his wife’s involvement in the phone hacking scandal which led to the demise of the News Of The World newspaper. Charlie was making the news for happier reasons back in 1987 when riding Observe to victory for Fred Winter here.

Nine horses have won this race on more than one occasion. Perhaps the most impressive feat is that of Earthmover. Having first won the race for Richard Barber in 1998, Earthmover had since moved to the yard of Paul Nicholls when returning in 2004 as a 13 year old. In a stirring performance, the admirable chestnut gelding rolled back the years to take the race for a second time.

Two trainers have taken the Foxhunter four times: Richard Barber and Paul Nicholls. In addition to Earthmover, Barber he won with Rushing Wild in 1992 and Fantus in 1995 and 1997. Nicholls, meanwhile, posted back to back wins with Pacha Du Polder in 2017 and 2018.

Another to do the double was Salsify who won back to back renewals in 2012-13. Colman Sweeney was doing the steering for both of those wins, having also won aboard Sleeping Night in 2005, Colman leads the way in the jockey standings. While the Nina Carberry/Enda Bolger combo got back to back victories in 2015 and 2016.