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Cheltenham Festival

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National Hunt Chase 2020 Racecard

The National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase is the second-oldest race at the Cheltenham Festival, but has actually been run the most number of times because the Grand Annual handicap wasn’t run for a large period of the late 19th century.

5:30

Tuesday 10 March

Distance: 29f 201y Age: 5yo + Prize: £125000 Going: Soft (Heavy in places)

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. ANTEROS (IRE)
J: Mr D. Skehan
T: Sophie Leech
12
11-6
Veteran who was in fine form during the autumn, completing a chase hat-trick at Hereford in October. Jumping has proved his undoing since and very hard to envisage him playing a part on these terms.
11 stars

2
jockey silks 2. CAREFULLY SELECTED (IRE)
J: Mr P. W. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
8
11-6
Grade 1 placed in bumpers/over hurdles and arrives boasting a 100% record over fences, landing a Grade 3 novice at Naas (3m) in January. Prone to the odd mistake but open to progress up in trip.
44 stars

3
jockey silks 3. CLONDAW CIAN (IRE)
J: Mr J. C. Barry
T: Sophie Leech
10
11-6
One-time useful hurdler/chaser but clearly not the force of old so it's easy to look elsewhere in this company (pulled up in last 2 renewals of this).
11 stars

4
jockey silks 4. FORZA MILAN (IRE)
J: Mr D. O'Connor
T: James A. Nash, Ireland
8
11-6
Useful at best over timber and back at that sort of level over fences for present stable, beaten 4 lengths behind Carefully Selected at Naas in January. Work to do with that rival now 6 lb worse off.
33 stars

5
jockey silks 5. LAMANVER PIPPIN
J: Mr William Biddick
T: Colin Tizzard
7
11-6
Small-field novice winner over hurdles who confirmed chase debut promise with a comfortable success at Chepstow (23.6f) in November. Absent since but he remains with untapped potential.
33 stars

6
jockey silks 6. LORD DU MESNIL (FR)
J: Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
T: Richard Hobson
7
11-6
Improved again when completing hat-trick in the Last Fling Chase at Haydock (28.4f) in December and lost very little in defeat in the Grand National Trial back at that venue. One to consider.
33 stars

7
jockey silks 7. NEWTIDE (IRE)
J: Mr B. O'Neill
T: Kim Bailey
7
11-6
Useful hurdler who is built for fences, making it 2-2 in a Grade 2 at Wetherby. Held in second when left in front that day but stamina is clearly his forte. Tongue tie goes on.
44 stars

8
jockey silks 8. OCEAN COVE (IRE)
J: Ms L. O'Neill
T: Fergal O'Brien
8
11-6
Fairly useful hurdler who looks all about stamina, needing a greater test when second at Exeter (3m) last month. Fair bit to find on bare form but the demands of this race will be up his street.
22 stars

9
jockey silks 9. RAVENHILL (IRE)
J: Mr J. J. Codd
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
10
11-6
Low-mileage 10-y-o who scored twice over fences at up to 22f last summer. Improved again when second in Kerry National and fell too far out to suggest outcome in Troytown in November.
33 stars

10
jockey silks 10. REDZOR (IRE)
J: Mr Jack Andrews
T: Dan Skelton
7
11-6
Perfect start over fences when landing a Fakenham novice in good style on return in October. Not disgraced on 2 of his 3 subsequent starts but work to do to feature on these terms.
22 stars

11
jockey silks 11. SMOKING GUN (IRE)
J: Mr T. Hamilton
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
7
11-6
Progressive over hurdles last season and stayed on to open chase account in a Punchestown maiden (25f) in December. Laboured display in Thyestes Chase and he needs to advance his form.
33 stars

12
jockey silks 12. SOME CAN DANCE (IRE)
J: Mr H. D. Dunne
T: Samuel Drinkwater
7
11-6
Fairly useful handicap chaser who ran poorly on his latest start and is very hard to make a case for upped markedly in grade.
11 stars

13
jockey silks 13. SPRINGFIELD FOX
J: Mr Noel George
T: Tom George
7
11-6
Unbeaten in Irish points and left hurdling efforts in his wake when landing brace of handicaps over fences at around 3m. Well worth his place at this higher level with good deal more to come.
55 stars

14
jockey silks 14. THE HOLLOW GINGE (IRE)
J: Mr Zac Baker
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
7
11-6
Improved model over fences, though he was aided by 3 rivals failing to complete when getting back to winning ways at Leicester (22.7f) in January. Has looked all about stamina but this demands more.
22 stars

Analyst's Verdict

SPRINGFIELD FOX extended his winning sequence over the larger obstacles to 5 (including points) with another dominant success at Exeter last month and this uncomplicated ride looks tailor-made for the demands of this race. Carefully Selected brings a touch of class to the race but is prone to the odd bad mistake and he hasn't been missed in the market, while Newtide is another to consider.

The inaugural running of the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase was in 1860, but the race was transferred permanently to Cheltenham in 1911.

Often referred to colloquially as the ‘four miler’, the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase is a Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase for amateur riders, which is open to horses aged five years or older.

It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham, and, as the name suggests, is run over a distance of about four miles (3 miles 7 furlongs and 170 yards), and during its running there are twenty-four fences to be jumped.

The race is for novice chasers, those horses that have not won a race over fences before that season, and was upgraded to Grade 2 status in 2017 having previously been a listed contest.

The race’s title has been added to in recent years to commemorate notable names from the world of horse racing.

The 2008 running was titled the Peter O'Sullevan National Hunt Chase in celebration of the 90th birthday of the ‘Voice of Racing’ Peter O'Sullevan, while the 2012 running was titled the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

The 2013 race was run as the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase in memory of John Oaksey, a notable amateur National Hunt jockey and racing journalist who died in September 2012.

The National Hunt Chase included the name of former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe, who died in January 2014, in its title that year, while the 2015 race name celebrated the life of trainer Toby Balding.

The most successful National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase trainer is Jonjo O’Neill , who has won the race six times since 1995, with: Front Line (1995), Rith Dubh (2002), Sudden Shock (2003), Native Emperor (2004), Butler's Cabin (2007), and Minella Rocco (2016).

Willie Mullins has won the race twice as a trainer, including with Rathvinden in 2018, but he also won the race twice as a jockey when riding for his father Paddy Mullins, the trainer of Dawn Run who is the only horse to ever complete the Champion Hurdle/Gold Cup double.

Dawn Run was ridden by Jonjo O’Neill on both occasions. Willie Mullins recorded National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase wins as a jockey with Hazy Dawn (1982) and Macks Friendly (1984), and is one of a large number of jockeys that have won the race on two occasions.

One of those is his own son Patrick , who won the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase with Back In Focus (2013) and Rathvinden.

The 2017 renewal of the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase was renamed in honour of JT McNamara , the amateur rider who sustained a serious back injury and a broken neck after a fall at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival which left him paralysed and using a wheelchair.

McNamara won the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase twice, with Rith Dubh (2002) and ten years later with Teaforthree (2012). McNamara passed away in 2016. No jockey has won the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase more than twice in recent times.

In terms of Timeform ratings, a smart performance of usually needed to win the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase.

That was the case in 2017 when Tiger Roll prevailed for trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Lisa O’Neill.

Tiger Roll produced a then career-best effort that day, but even bigger days were to come, the former Triumph Hurdle winner going on to add a third Cheltenham Festival win when winning the 2018 Cross Country.

Less than a month later, he added the biggest win of his career when landing the 2018 Grand National at Aintree. He has since added a fourth Cheltenham Festival win, when successfully defending his Cross Country Crown in 2019.

As you’d expect given the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase’s distance of four miles, many of the field go on to compete in the Grand National.

The most successful National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase jockeys still riding are Derek O'Connor, who has won the race with Chicago Grey (2011) and Minella Rocco (2016), Patrick Mullins, who won the race on Back in Focus (2013) and Rathvinden (2018), and Jamie Codd, who added to Cause of Causes’ 2015 win when guiding Le Breuil to a gutsy success in the 2019 renewal.

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National Hunt Chase 2020 FAQs

What is the distance of the National Hunt Chase?

3 miles, 7 furlongs and 170 yards

How many obstacles are jumped in the National Hunt Chase?

24

What day of the festival is the National Hunt Chase?

Day 1

What time is the National Hunt Chase?

17:30

What weights are carried for the National Hunt Chase?

11 st 6 lb (6yo+). 11 st 4 lb (5yo).

What is the purse for the National Hunt Chase?

£125,000 (2020)

Who is the leading jockey in the National Hunt Chase*?

Dermot Daly, Bunny Cox, George Small, John Fowler, Tony Fowler, Willie Mullins, Tony Martin, Marcus Armytage, JT McNamara, Derek O'Connor, Patrick Mullins and Jamie Codd.

Who is the leading trainer in the National Hunt Chase*?

Jonjo O’Neill

Who won the National Hunt Chase?

You can check out our National Hunt Chase results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the National Hunt Chase?

Click the link to visit our National Hunt Chase Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1946

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