National Hunt Chase Tips, Betting Offers and Odds – 10th March 2020

National Hunt Chase Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

The penultimate race on the opening day is one of the oldest of the whole Cheltenham Festival. Read on for the best odds, offers and betting tips surrounding the historic National Hunt Chase.

Having been with us since as long ago as 1860, of the Cheltenham Festival contests, only the Grand Annual predates this event. Restricted to amateur riders and novice chasers, this Listed class event is run over a distance just short of four miles. With over £80,000 in total prize money up for grabs, this is one of the major amateur races of the racing year.

National Hunt Chase Tips and 2020 Race Preview

Race preview to follow soon.

National Hunt Chase Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Le Breuil – jockey Jamie Codd, trainer Ben Pauling
  • 2018 – Rathvinden – jockey Patrick Mullins, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2017 – Tiger Roll – jockey Lisa O’Neill, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2016 – Minella Rocco – jockey Derek O’Connor, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
  • 2015 – Cause Of Causes – jockey Jamie Codd, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2014 – Midnight Prayer – jockey Joshua Newman, trainer Alan King
  • 2013 – Back In Focus – jockey Patrick Mullins, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2012 – Teaforthree – jockey J.T. McNamara, trainer Rebecca Curtis
  • 2011 – Chicago Grey – jockey Derek O’Connor, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2010 – Poker de Sivola – jockey Katie Walsh, trainer Ferdy Murphy
  • 2009 – Tricky Trickster – jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2008 – Old Benny – jockey Charlie Huxley, trainer Alan King
  • 2007 – Butler’s Cabin – jockey Alan Berry, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
  • 2006 – Hot Weld – jockey Richard Harding, trainer Ferdy Murphy

National Hunt Chase Trends – Future Stars Earn Spurs

The National Hunt Chase may be an historic race but it’s a race that’s all about the future in the eyes of the leading trainers. Every trainer with an entry in this novices chase wants their charge to kick on to have the sort of success enjoyed by the 2017 winner Tiger Roll.

Tiger Roll subsequently went on to prove his stamina by winning the Grand National but had already proved his stamina ahead of his National Hunt Chase performance by winning the Munster National Handicap over 3m at Limerick. He’s far from the only winner of this race who had already got the job done over 3m, in fact, doing so is almost a prerequisite for success.

Not all of those wins came over fences. Many leading long distance hurdlers have found the step up to the bigger obstacles difficult before finding their groove later on, sometimes at Cheltenham. Putting it all together amongst the hullabaloo of the Festival is no easy task so it’s no surprise the majority of National Hunt Chase winners already had Cheltenham experience.

Cheltenham Experience Not Essential

Whether or not horses have Cheltenham form or not it is vital to come into the race on the back of some good recent form. Just a handful of recent winners did so without finishing at least third last time out whilst most had a first or second place in their three most recent appearances. It’s also important only to back horses who have at last four runs in the current season.

2018 winner, Rathvinden, stands out in that, at 10, he was aged older than any of the 15 winners who came before him. As this is a novices’ chase, winners tend to be seven, eight or nine with just a smattering of winners outside of this range.

Each of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 winners were the favourite with the bookies but the National Hunt Chase is not typically an easy race for punters. Winners at double figures are relatively common but shorter priced horses can go well, especially if they are partnered with an amateur rider who has more experience than most.

National Hunt Chase History

This contest stands out not only due to its age, it is also held over the longest distance of any race at the festival. There are 24 fences in all to negotiate over this marathon near four mile trip.

The race has never been commercially sponsored but has altered its title over the years to honour significant individuals. These include legendary racing broadcaster Peter O’Sullevan, journalist and significant contributor to jockey care John Oaksey, Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Terry Biddlecombe and trainer Toby Balding who won the Gold Cup and Champion hurdle as well as the Grand National.

1860 marked the first ever running of this race at Market Harborough. The second edition took place here at Cheltenham, but it took until 1911 before the race made its permanent home at this track. In the intervening years the contest was held at such exotic locations as Abergavenny, Bogside, Rugby, Burton Lazars and Crewkerne.

A look through the lists of previous winning trainers and jockeys further illustrates the rich heritage of this race. There is no Ruby Walsh or Tony McCoy in sight but we do have six different Captains and a pair of Sir’s, whilst on the trainers list we find one Lieutenant-Colonel M Lindsay.

It is one of the aforementioned Captains who was one of the real stars of the 19th century in this race. Captain Arthur Smith rode the winner four times between the years of 1864 and 1880 at three different tracks. He remains the most successful jockey in the history of the race.

In the modern era there are nine men to have twice ridden the winner. One name stands out on the list. Namely a certain Willie Mullins, the man who went on to set a festival training record when sending out eight winners in 2015. Willie rode Hazy Dawn (1982) and Macks Friendly (1984) to victory for his father Paddy Mullins. Keeping the family tradition going Willie Mullins only winner in this as a trainer, Back In Focus (2013 was ridden by his son Patrick.

Younger runners fared pretty well in this race in the early years, as 16 five-year-olds and 11 four-year-olds came home in front prior to 1911. This trend was never going to continue as the race has long since been restricted to horses aged five and older. Nevertheless the record of the younger contenders has been pretty dismal since the event became established at Cheltenham.

Only two five-year-olds have won in this time, and none since 1978. Six-year-olds have fared only marginally better with eight wins. In contrast those aged seven or eight have claimed a total of 53 wins between them over this period. The oldest winner of this race came in 1928 when Cryptical prevailed at the grand old age of 13.