Festival Challenge Cup Hunters’ Chase Betting Tips

  • 17/03/2023
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Tips for the Foxhunter Steeplechase are the focus of this Cheltenham Festival 2023 racing preview.

This is the race that follows the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday afternoon from the final day of the Festival. Our betting experts have all the statistics, trends and form covered by providing those essential Foxhunter Steeplechase tips for the 2023 renewal.

They will be on this page when we get closer to the Festival. Who will follow on from the winner of last year’s renewal, Billaway?

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Hunters’ Chase Tips – Overlooked Outsiders

This is an exciting feature of the Cheltenham Festival as the Foxhunter Steeplechase Challenge Cup is for amateur riders. Because of that, and because the distance of this contest is the same as the Gold Cup, it’s informally referred to as the Amateurs Gold Cup.

It has not been uncommon for punters to have seen some bigger-priced winners in the Foxhunter Steeplechase land the win. Just three years ago, It Came To Pass scored by defying some enormous 66/1 odds in this race.

Two years before that, in 2018, Pacha Du Polder landed the victory from a quote of 25/1. So there will be some outsiders that warrant some respect in the latest Foxhunter Steeplechase odds.

As part of our Cheltenham Festival 2023 coverage, our tipsters will be looking at the best of them.


2023 Hunters Chase Runners + Odds – Friday, 17th March 4.10

Horse/Form Silks Jockey/Trainer Odds
Vaucelet

1-2111

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: B O’Neill
T: David Christie
5/2
Famous Clermont

-P1111

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: William Biddick
T: Chris Barber
13/2
Billaway

11-121

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Patrick Mullins
T: Willie Mullins
7/1
Chris’s Dream

/U0-11

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: M O’Sullivan
T: Henry De Bromhead
10/1
Bob And Co

/122F-

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Alice Stevens
T: Harry Derham
12/1
Rockys Howya

-11111

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: M C O’Donovan
T: Declan Queally
12/1
Secret Investor

01/611

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Natalie Parker
T: Paul Nicholls
12/1
Dorking Cock

311-32

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: B G Crawford
T: Staurt Crawford
16/1
Its On The Line

P22311

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Derek O’Connor
T: Emmet Mullins
20/1
The Storyteller

-11172

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: J J Codd
T: Gordon Elliott
20/1
Black Op

641-11

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: John Dawson
T: Emma Clarke
25/1
Cat Tiger

2102-5

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Charlie Sprake
T: Paul Nicholls
25/1
Le Malin

/34221

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: N McParlan
T: S McParlan
25/1
Premier Magic

1P1-11

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Bradley Gibbs
T: Bradley Gibbs
25/1
Shantou Flyer

-5112U

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Olive Nicholls
T: S Loxton
25/1
Brain Power

121F11

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: D McGill
T: Warren Ewing
28/1
Dandy Dan

11-133

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: James King
T: J Bourne
33/1
Go Go Geronimo

1-2211

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Tom Chatfeild-Roberts
T: Kelly Morgan
33/1
I K Brunel

156-11

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Izzie Marshall
T: Alan Hill
33/1
Not That Fuisse

11-412

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Jack Andrews
T: Dan Skelton
40/1
Mighty Stowaway

1P3-P4

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Ben Sutton
T: Alan Hill
66/1
Moratorium

-25321

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Martin Mcintyre
T: M Osborne
66/1
Myth Buster

-2P2F1

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Lily Bradstock
T: Sara V Bradstock
66/1
Wotzizname

1-1256

Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Megan Bevan
T: D Ward
100/1

But Foxhunter Steeplechase odds in the ante-post market does allow for some early speculation and recommendations to happen.

Dominating the market for the 2023 renewal has been the David Christie-trained Vaucelet. He finished runner-up behind Billaway at Punchestown last April, which was his only defeat since 2021.

Winged Leader is another who could potentially launch a bold bid, having finished just a neck off the winner Billaway in this race last year. 

Others to note currently in the Foxhunter Steeplechase are Ferns Lock and reigning champion Billaway.


How to pick a Hunters’ Chase winner

As we move towards the start of the Cheltenham Festival 2023, our tipsters will be uploading Foxhunter Steeplechase tips.

Some trends are worth looking at ahead of the fixture to try and narrow the market a bit.

For example, four of the last ten winners of the Foxhunter have been the favourite. There have been seven winning favourites in the previous 20 editions. 

Each of the last eight has been either a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old, with the last three renewals being won by 10YO’s.

Last 10 Foxhunter Steeplechase Winners Odds

  • 2022 Billaway 13/8F
  • 2021 Porlock Bay 16/1
  • 2020 It Came To Pass 66/1
  • 2019 Hazel Hill 7/2F
  • 2018 Pacha Du Polder 25/1
  • 2017 Pacha Du Polder 16/1
  • 2016 On The Fringe 13/8F
  • 2015 On The Fringe 6/1
  • 2014 Tammys Hill 15/2
  • 2013 Salsify 2/1F

It is also attractive looking at the last ten editions of the Foxhunter Steeplechase to see that on two occasions, the previous year’s winner had successfully defended their crown in the next renewal.

Of the last 20 winners, 11 have been from Great Britain and the other nine from Ireland, with no entry from France.

Each of the last 20 renewals has been won by a horse with fewer than six starts at the trip.

All but one had won a non-handicap race last time out, and 19 of the previous 20 winners had run between 2m 4f and 3m 2f last time out.

There are plenty of other trends to study, which our betting experts will be doing for Foxhunter Steeplechase Challenge Cup betting tips.


 

All About The Foxhunter Steeplechase: Past and Present

The official name of this is the St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase, which is limited to amateur riders on horses of at least five years of age.

St James’s Place plc has sponsored it since the 2016 edition. It was commonly known as the St James’s Place Foxhunters’ Chase, but the name was altered slightly for the 2021 edition to remove the word ‘fox’.

This is an ungraded race, but it is held at the same distance of 3m 2f 70y as the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the New Course. There are 22 fences, the same as in the Gold Cup.

There have been nine horses in the history of the Foxhunter Steeplechase that have won it twice. None have gone on to win more. The most recent of those dual winners were On The Fringe and Pacha du Polder, both within the last decade.

The leading jockey with three victories is Colman Sweeney, while there are joint all-time top trainers in Richard Barber and Paul Nicholls with four wins each. Two of those for Nicholls have come within the last six renewals.


How Do Horses Qualify for The Foxhunter Steeplechase Race?

There are qualification requirements for the fixture. Horses must have:

  • Won or finished as runner-up twice in hunter chases before
  • Won at least two open point-to-point races
  • Or have won one open point-to-point race and finished first or second in a hunter chase.

5-year-olds have a weight of 11st 13lb, while 6-year-olds plus go at 12st 0lb. Mares get a 7lb allowance.

What is the Foxhunter Steeplechase Prize Money in 2023?

The final purse is yet to be decided. Last year’s winner Billaway won £24,445. The rest of the prizes were 2nd £12,220, 3rd £6,110, 4th £3,055, 5th £1,530 and 6th £765.


Foxhunter Steeplechase Past winners

There has been that remarkable recent trend of horses winning the Foxhunter in consecutive years, with Salsify, On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder all achieving that in recent years.

Other notable winners include 2004 winner Earthmover, a 13-year-old veteran Hazel Hill and Zemsky.

Year Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
2022 Billaway 13/8F Patrick Mullins Willie Mullins
2021 Porlock Bay 16/1 Lorcan Williams Will Biddick
2020 It Came To Pass 66/1 Maxine O’Sullivan Eugene O’Sullivan
2019 Hazel Hill 7/2F Alex Edwards Philip Rowley
2018 Pacha Du Polder 25/1 Harriet Tucker Paul Nicholls
2017 Pacha Du Polder 16/1 Bryony Frost Paul Nicholls
2016 On The Fringe 13/8F Nina Carberry Enda Bolger
2015 On The Fringe 6/1 Nina Carberry Enda Bolger
2014 Tammys Hill 15/2 James Smyth Liam Lennon
2013 Salsify 2/1F Colman Sweeney Roger Sweeney
2012 Salsify 7/1 Colman Sweeney Roger Sweeney
2011 Zemsky 33/1 Derek O’Connor Ian Ferguson

Other Races on Day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival

The Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup betting is part of Day 4 of Cheltenham 2022. Here are all the races for Friday at the Festival:

13:30 The JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)

14:10 The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

14:50 The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

15:30 The Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeplechase (Grade 1)

16:10 The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase

16:50 The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeplechase (Grade 2)

17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145)