The CGA Foxhunter Chase (4:00 pm) is a Class B chase run over three miles and about two and a half furlongs.
It is open to horses aged five years old and upwards who have met various qualifying criteria. The total prize fund in 2015 is £40,000 and the race will be run on Friday, March 13.
The Foxhunters is the amateur riders Gold Cup and the highlight of the hunter chase season. However, major stables are frequently represented in the race and not just the traditional point to point trainers.
The race is run over the course and distance of the Gold Cup and has been won by some top class steeplechasers in recent years most notably Double Silk, Kingscliff and Sleeping Night.
The field tends to be a combination of older experienced chasers nearing retirement and young pretenders from the point to point circuit looking to make the leap to racing under rules. One horse, in particular, epitomizes this mix, having won the race at both ends of his career.
Earthmover bust on to the scene when winning the 1998 renewal and he went on to compete for many of the biggest prizes in the sport. He then returned to hunter chasing in the twilight of his career and sprung something of an upset when winning this race for the second time aged thirteen in 2004. Salsify made it a double last year when winning under Mr CJ Sweeney ahead of fellow Irish Divine Intavention and Cottage Oak.
2014 Tammys Hill
2010 Baby Run
2009 Cappa Bleu
2006 Whyso Mayo
2005 Sleeping Night
2002 Last Option
1999 Castle Mane
1996 Elegant Lord
1994 Double Silk
1993 Double Silk
1992 Rushing Wild
1991 Lovely Citizen
1990 Call Collect
1989 Three Counties
(prior winners detailed at bottom of page)
1. The Christie’s Foxhunter Chase is one of the oldest races at the Festival. The first running in 1904 was won by the 6/4 favourite Palmy Boy, owned and ridden by Mr J Widger. It is now one of the richest and most prestigious hunter chases of the season, worth a total of £35,000.
2. In 2011, Christie’s, the international auctioneers and valuation experts, sponsored the race for the 34th and final time, with the Country Gentleman's Association (CGA) taking over in 2013.
3. Since 1946 six horses have won the Foxhunter Chase twice although no horse has won it three times. The Callant won in 1956 and 1957, Whinstone Hill in 1958 and 1960, Colledge Master in 1961 and 1962, Double Silk in 1993 and 1994, Fantus in 1995 and 1997 and Earthmover in 1998 and 2004.
4. Caroline Beasley became the first female jockey to win a race at The Festival when successful on Eliogarty in the 1983 Christie’s Foxhunter Chase. Since then the race has been won four times by women - Katie Rimell on Three Counties in 1989, Polly Curling on Fantus in 1995, Fiona Needham in 2002 on Last Option and Rilly Goschen on Earthmover in 2004.
5. Three of the five 13-year-olds to have been successful at The Festival since 1946 have come in the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase - Earthmover in 2004, Merry, who dead-heated in 1953 and Greenwood in 1950. The other two 13-year-olds to have won were Approval in the 1959 Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle and Willie Wumpkins in the 1981 Pertemps Final. They are the oldest horses to have succeeded at The Festival in this period.
6. The Christie’s Foxhunter Chase is the only race at The Festival open to trainers who are not full-time professionals or hold a permit to train their family’s horses.
7. The Christie’s Foxhunter Chase is one of three races exclusively for amateur riders at The Festival – the others are the National Hunt Chase and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase.
8. There have been five Irish-trained winners since Eliogarty won in 1983 – the others being Attitude Adjuster in 1986, Lovely Citizen in 1991, Whyso Mayo in 2006 and Salsify in 2012.
2012 Foxhunters Chase Review
Ireland landed back-to-back success in 2012 with the seven-year-old SALSIFY, who was not unfancied at 7/1 – he's likely to return in 2013 to defend his crown.
In doing so, he foiled an ante post gamble on Chapoturgeon, who was punted right down to 3/1 favouritism, although he went down fighting, finding the winner just a length too good.
The pair were well clear of the third horse home Oscar Delta, who was outrunning his starting price of 28/1.
2011 Foxhunters Chase Review
Zemsky landed the Christie's Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup as Baby Run fell late on in the exciting showpiece.
Willie Twiston-Davies asked for a jump from the 3-1 joint-favourite at the second last but last year's winner didn't respond and the young jockey fell to the turf, much to the disappointment of some of Cheltenham's most battle-hardened punters.
Zemsky (33-1) took full advantage under Derek O'Connor to win by an impressive 17 lengths from 100-1 chance Mid Div And Creep with Oscar Delta (25-1) in third.
2010 Foxhunters Chase Review
With the going getting softer by the minute, this turned into a real stamina test (the winning time was over ten seconds more than that recorded in the Gold Cup half an hour earlier) and it was no surprise to see the field strung out all over Gloucestershire by the finish.
Given the conditions, the performance of the winner, BABY RUN, was all the more meritorious as he was in the firing line from the off, leading from pillar to post. He jumped his rivals ragged and although he was very tired on the run in, so were the rest and he hung on gamely for a well deserved success.
The ex Pipe horse, Kilty Storm, who has been in fine form in hunter chases and point to points in Ireland this season, was the one to chase the winner home. He has always been suited by soft ground, so conditions turned in his favour at the last minute.
Reach For The Top used to be with Henrietta Knight and was unproven over this trip, so while it wasnt a shock to see a big priced outsider reaching the frame in these conditions, it was a surprise that it was this horse, given those stamina doubts. He has been lightly raced in recent seasons and should be capable of winning hunter chases if kept sound and healthy.
The front three had the race between them from some way out, but all of them were virtually walking by the time they past the post and a posse of horses were closing fast, headed by the eventual fourth, Gentle George. He never looked like winning and given how the race panned out was probably dropped out too far back in the early stages.
The well backed Roulez Cool was comfortably the highest-rated of these, but a blunder at the tenth didn't help his chances, and he seemed to have run his race when tripped up by Take The Stand four from home, at which point the weakening Chesnut Annie was also brought down.
2009 Foxhunters Chase Review
It has been a while since this race threw up a decent recruit to the professional ranks, but in winning impressively here the well touted seven year old, CAPPA BLEU gave the impression that he might be go on to bigger and better things when he joins Evan Williams’ yard next season.
He travelled and jumped well throughout, but a mixture of inexperience and tiredness meant that he wasn’t able to put the race to bed until the final 100 yards.
With only a handful of runs under his belt to date, there is scope for a good deal of improvement, but one slight concern was the time of the race, which was nearly 10 seconds slower than the Gold Cup. For all his potential, he has some way to go before being able to mix it with the big boys.
Turthen chased the winner all the way up the straight, but got very tired after the last. He has enjoyed his switch from Paul Nicholls’ yard to the pointing scene and he deserved to hang on to second.
Baby Run was third. Despite being nine, he has had only sixteen career starts to date and in that time has only been out of the first three once. He has clearly had his problems, but retains plenty of ability and pulled nicely clear of last year’s winner, Amicelli, who was fourth.
Robbers Glen, the champion novice hunter last season, stayed on strongly up the hill to finish a never nearer fifth.
Juveigneur who won the Kim Muir here in 2005 and went off favourite on the back of three wins in Irish points, made mistakes at the 16th and 17th fences and could never get competitive thereafter. He eventually came home in twelve.
Another former top class chaser and well backed runner, Royal Auclair crashed out at the seventh.
2008 Foxhunters Chase Review
A competitive field, but not a particularly classy one, lined up for this year’s renewal of the amateurs’ Gold Cup and the openness of the contest was reflected by the bookies who went 5-1 the field.
It perhaps wasn’t surprising, therefore, that the race should fall to an outsider and 33-1 shot, AMICELLI, was certainly one of the least fancied runners in the field. The nine year old gelding was formerly trained by Philip Hobbs, for whom he won over both hurdles and fences.
Since changing stables, he has been unbeaten in two point to points and maintained that unbeaten record here with a well earned success. He was never far from the front throughout this three and a quarter mile contest and could be called the winner from some way out as his more fancied rivals took it in terms to fall by the wayside. The winner was clear going to the last, which he brushed through, and although tiring up the hill, he was never going to be caught.
It was left to Bon Accord to chase Amicelli home. The runner up came here on the back of six consecutive wins (including a previous success at Cheltenham on his only previous start under rules) and this was another fine effort from him here. At eight years of age he would have a chance of improving on this result next year if he stays in one piece.
The veteran, Arctic Times, a prolific point to point winner in Ireland, ran a cracker in third. All his does is stay and he got tapped for toe when the winner made his move running down to the second from home.
Climate Control set the pace for much of the way, but faded on the climb up the hill as his stamina seemed to give way.
A number of the fancied runners disappointed badly, none more so than the favourite, Agus A Vic. He beat Climate Control last time out and so this clearly wasn’t his running and he didn’t help his chances here by jumping right at a number of fences. He was eventually pulled up.
Last year’s winner, Drombeag, was another to perform well below his best as he was already out of the contention when the field freewheeled down the hill for the final time. He’s very lightly raced and clearly isn’t easy to train.
2007 Foxhunters Chase Review
Another big price winner for the powerful team of Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus as DROMBEAG followed up Butler’s Cabin’s 33-1 success in the National Hunt Chase with a 20-1 success here. The horse was prominent throughout this Gold Cup for amateur riders and battled on gamely to win a race in which only four horses had a realistic chance of success turning for home.
It was a great training performance by Jonjo, not only because this was Drombeag’s first start of the season, but also because the horse had badly lost his form since flopping when one of the favourites for this contest last year.
In winning here, Drombeag turned the tables on Whyso Mayo who put up a bold effort to defend the crown he secured last season. However, the chances of the 2006 champion were badly hampered by some awful jumping (most notably at the first and the last) and Whyso Mayo would surely have won with a clear round
Ned Kelly and Bica were the other two in contention at the business end of the race.
Ned Kelly was an ante post favourite for the Champion Hurdle in his younger days, but his career has been blighted by injury since, so it was good to see him running well back at the Festival. He was travelling best of all coming down the hill, but as you’d expect from this former top class two mile hurdler, his stamina didn’t last out and the front two had pulled well clear of him at the finish.
Bica’s challenge also faded up the Cheltenham hill, but he is only seven and so has time on his side. He may also prefer softer ground.
He actually finished fifth in the end – passed by Oscar India in the dying strides. Oscar India is another of the younger brigade of hunter chasers and so should be back next year to resume battle with the likes of Drombeag, Bica and Patches (who was well backed here but fell early on).
2006 Foxhunters Chase Review
Although this year’s Foxhunter’s was short on quality, the amateur riders’ Gold Cup was high on excitement with the race producing one of the best finishes of the week. The first five home (all of whom are trained in Ireland) were covered by only six lengths. Indeed, the first eleven were separated by less than 12 lengths.
WHYSO MAYO was the horse to emerge from the bunch on top. The nine year has won plenty of point to points in his time, but looked to be relatively exposed under Rules, which suggests the form is nothing special. The second, First Down Jets, and third, Joe Blake, are also experienced and exposed performers.
If there are a couple of performances worth taking out of the race, they are probably those of the seven year old Bothar Na, in fourth, and Savati, who is a year younger and finished fifth. Both have time on their side and should improve.
Drombeag is also probably better than his finishing position suggests. He was hampered at the first and let down by his jumping when trying to close on the leaders.
Bosham Mill possibly failed to stay.
The class horse of the race, Harbour Pilot, was bitterly disappointing. He made a terrible mistake at the seventh and was eventually pulled up when tailed off.
Roll of Honour (1946-1988)
(recent winners detailed towards top of page)
1988 Certain Light 10-12-00 Mr Paul Hacking Jean Campbell Jean Campbell 10/1
1987 Observe 11-12-00 Mr Charlie Brooks Fred Winter R Bott (Wigmore St) Ltd 14/1
1986 Attitude Adjuster 6-12-00 Mr Ted Walsh Mouse Morris IRE Sue Magnier 10/1
1985 Elmboy 7-12-00 Mr Alan Hill Norman Mawle Norman Mawle 10/1
1984 Venture To Cognac 11-12-00 Mr Oliver Sherwood Fred Winter Nat Sherwood 7/1
1983 Eliogarty 8-12-00 Miss Caroline Beasley Barry Kelly IRE Caroline Beasley 3/1F
1982 The Drunken Duck 9-12-00 Mr Brod Munro-Wilson Brod Munro-Wilson Brod Munro-Wilson 12/1
1981 Grittar 8-12-00 Mr Dick Saunders Frank Gilman Frank Gilman 12/1
1980 Rolls Rambler 9-12-00 Mr Oliver Sherwood Fred Winter B Braziel 9/4
1979 Spartan Missile 7-12-00 Mr John Thorne John Thorne John Thorne 9/4F
1978 Timmie’s Battle 7-12-00 Mr Peter Greenall Arthur Stephenson G Deverell 7/2
1977 Long Lane 9-11-11 Mr Richard Shepherd Richard Shepherd Richard Shepherd 9/4F
1976 False Note 10-11-09 Mr Bryan Smart John Horton John Horton 11/4F
1975 Real Rascal 12-11-10 Mr George Hyatt Barbara Surman Barbara Surman 8/1
1974 Corrie Burn 8-12-00 Mr Ian Williams George Fairbairn Joanna Fairbairn 20/1
1973 Bullocks Horn 10-12-00 Lord Oaksey Bob Turnell Mrs E Barker 5/1
1972 Credit Call 8-12-00 Mr Chris Collins Arthur Stephenson Chris Collins 7/4F
1971 Hope Again 9-11-07 Mr Richard Smith Denis Windell Denis Windell 16/1
1970 Highworth 11-11-07 Mr R H Woodhouse R H Woodhouse R H Woodhouse 15/2
1969 Queens Guide 8-11-07 Mr G Wade Willie Wade Willie Wade 10/1
1968 Bright Beach 8-11-11 Mr Charlie Macmillan Geordie Dun Geordie Dun 5/1
1967 Mulbarton 11-12-00 Mr Nick Gaselee I H Pattullo I H Pattullo EvsF
1966 Straight Lady 10-11-07 Mr Richard Shepherd William Shepherd William Shepherd 100/8
1965 Woodside Terrace 12-11-07 Mr R Woodhouse R Woodhouse R Woodhouse 33/1
1964 Freddie 7-11-07 Mr Alan Mactaggart Reg Tweedie Reg Tweedie 1/3F
1963 Grand Morn II 9-12-00 Mr R Bloomfield G Shepheard G Shepheard 15/2
1962 Colledge Master12-12-00 Mr Laurie Morgan Laurie Morgan Laurie Morgan 9/2
1961 Colledge Master11-12-00 Mr Laurie Morgan Laurie Morgan Laurie Morgan 7/2
1960 Whinstone Hill 11-12-00 Mr Bobby Brewis Bobby Brewis Bobby Brewis 11/8F
1959 Some Baby 10-12-00 Mr John Thorne Tim Rootes Tim Rootes 100/8
1958 Whinstone Hill 9-12-00 Mr Bobby Brewis Bobby Brewis Bobby Brewis 7/1
1957 The Callant 9-12-00 Mr John Scott-Aiton Stewart Wight C D Scott 10/11F
1956 The Callant 8-12-00 Mr John Scott-Aiton Stewart Wight C D Scott 11/8F
1955 Abandoned (snow)
1954 Happymint 9-12-00 Mr Danny Moralee Stewart Wight Danny Moralee 7/1
1953 DH Dunboy II 9-12-00 Mr Charlie Scott P Bruce Miss P Bruce 3/1F
1953 DH Merry 13-12-00 Mr Gay Kindersley Alec Kerr John Baillie 100/7
1952 Parasol II 7-12-00 Mr Ivor Kerwood A Walton A Walton 8/1
1951 Halloween 6-12-00 Mr Dickie Smalley Bill Wightman Captain Dick Smalley 11/8F
1950 Greenwood 13-12-00 Mr John Stuart-Evans J T Evans J T Evans 100/7
1949 Abandoned (frost)
1948 State Control 8-12-00 Mr Harry Llewellyn Harry Llewellyn Harry Llewellyn 7/2F
1947 Lucky Purchase 9-12-00 Mr John Nichols Sidney Banks Sidney Banks 7/1
1946 Iloilo 9-12-00 Mr Harry Freeman-Jackson Harry Freeman-Jackson Mrs Harry Freeman-Jackson 6/1