The Cross County Chase is a unique contest at the Cheltenham Festival which has attracted plenty of attention in recent years since its introduction in 2005. There have been a variety of different trainer and jockey combinations who have found themselves in the winner’s enclosure and after studying some trends with us below you should be able to have a good idea of who will end up there this year. You can also check out our Cross Country Chase tips here.
Cause Of Causes ❌❌✅
Tiger Roll ❌❌✅
Josie’s Orders ✅✅✅
The Last Samuri ❌✅❌
Bless The Wings ❌✅✅
Gordon Elliott won this last year with Cause Of Causes and JP McManus will be hopeful that his colours will be led to victory once again, this ten year old is a three time Festival winner who hails from a yard who have begun to aim some proper horses at this contest.
Last year’s winner Cause Of Causes is a legend of the Festival having recorded three wins and a second in his four appearances and is the place to start with this year’s renewal of the Cross Country. He stayed on very powerfully to win this last year before running a grand race to finish second to One For Arthur in the Grand National. He looks to have been very much aimed at those two races once again this year, he is a high class performer who loves it round here and will likely continue his fruitful partnership with brilliant amateur Jamie Codd who is a big positive to his chances. Gordon Elliott was interviewed recently and said no Festival winner would make him happier than this lad and he may well get his wish.
Gordon Elliott had a fantastic Festival last year and looks to have another big chance of a winner in this race with not only Cause Of Causes but last year’s National Hunt Chase winner Tiger Roll. Another remarkable horse for the yard who won the Triumph Hurdle over two miles in 2014 and found himself staying on stronger than anything at the finish after four miles of jumping fences last year to provide Lisa O’Neill with her first winner over fences. He really seems to come alive at the Festival and is a seriously talented horse who proved his ability to stay marathon trips at this time last year. He had a spin round the Cross Country Course in January and schooled here again recently, he has had a very similar preparation to that of Cause Of Causes last year and looks a big danger if finding the same improvement as his stablemate did before him.
Tiger Roll is a relative newcomer to the discipline but one horse that certainly does not lack for experience is the Enda Bolger trained Josie’s Orders who won this contest back in 2016 with Bless The Wings back in second and is three from four in total over this course and distance. He is a talented horse in his own right but has taken to this discipline better than almost any horse in the history of the race which is why he is such a potent threat, he wastes no time over the variety of jumps and banks in front of him which gives him a fair advantage over most rivals and he sees the trip out perfectly well. He theoretically has plenty to find class-wise with the likes of Tiger Roll and Cause Of Causes but simply cannot be ruled out in a discipline which he has very much made his own over the past few years.
Tiger Roll and Cause Of Causes are both top notch horses but even they lack the class of The Last Samuri, were he to turn up here. He is rated 159 over fences and has no doubt been trained with a tilt at the Grand National in mind once again but should Kim Bailey decide to send him here that may well be a tip in of itself and he’d be hard to ignore. Other interesting candidates include Cantlow and Auvergnat who, like stablemate Josie’s Orders, will have been trained to the minute for this by Enda Bolger at home. Cantlow has won here before and finished placed on a couple of occasions while Auvergnat was successful by a short head over Josie’s Orders at Punchestown last time and would have to come into the reckoning based off that.
The final contender to look at is another Cross Country veteran, the Gordon Elliott trained Bless The Wings. He was pulled up twice at the start of this season but won the trial for this in December beating Cantlow in good style and he was second on his three previous visits to this course, he is a dour stayer who has never been out of the first four in a Cross Country contest so deserves the utmost respect.
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