Known as the “amateur Gold Cup”, the Foxhunter Chase attracts plenty of bets on the race, and the market regularly changes throughout the season. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on horseracing.net for expert views and analysis on the 2020 Foxhunter Chase as the picture becomes clearer.
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What is the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?
The Foxhunter Chase is a chase for amateur riders on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival, Gold Cup Day, and is run over a distance of three miles, two furlongs and 70 yards. It is known as the “amateur Gold Cup” due to being run over the same trip as the festival feature, and 40 minutes later. The race has had several sponsors over the years, and is currently backed by St James’s Place.
The history of the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase
The Foxhunter Chase was established in 1904, and is currently sponsored by St James’s Palace Ltd. The race has never been won three times by one horse, though several horses have won the race twice - with the most recent being the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder, who won the race in 2017 and 2018. Paul Nicholls has a good record in the race, and is the joint-winning most trainer along with Richard Barber in the Foxhunters, with four wins.
What happened in the 2019 St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?
The 2019 Foxhunter Chase proved to be a lively betting heat, and six of the 24-runner field were sent off at a single-figure price. Punters latched on to one horse in particular, the Philip Rowley-trained Hazel Hill, who was sent off a 7/2 favourite for the race. The in-form Road To Rome had won four races on the trot coming into the race, and set a strong pace from the offset, though he was slowly gathered in by Hazel Hill, who picked up the lead at the last and pulled clear to land something of a gamble, scoring by four lengths.
Who is the most iconic winner of the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?
Hunter chase horses tend to move into this sphere in the closing stages of their careers, so On The Fringe proved to be an exception to the rule, making his debut in this sphere as a five-year-old, and he has developed into an excellent hunter chase performer. Having finished fourth and third in the 2011 and 2014 renewals respectively, On The Fringe took a step up to win the Foxhunter Chase in 2015, going on to complete a remarkable hat-trick by following up at Aintree and then Punchestown in the following two months. On The Fringe wasn’t finished there, and returned 12 months later to seal a remarkable double hat-trick by winning all three races once again in 2016, and sealing an astonishing fifth win in the Punchestown race in the process. His powers have seemingly waned over the last couple of years or so, though he continues to be capable of the remarkable, and won at Listowel as a 14-year-old in June, meaning that he may not be finished quite yet...
Are there any trials for the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?
The Foxhunter Chase is a specialised event, meaning that to qualify, a horse must have finished first or second in two hunter chase races during the season, or have performed well in point-to-point races - or a combination of the two. As such, it’s worth keeping an eye on the sphere in general for eye-catching performances, though some races are more popular than others as warm-up races - for example, Pacha Du Polder used the same race at Doncaster as a warm-up for each of his wins, while the hunter chase on the Morebattle Hurdle card at Kelso usually attracts a talented runner or two.
Who is the most successful jockey in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?
The most successful jockey in the Foxhunter Chase since 1946 is Colman Sweeney, who has ridden the winner of the race on three occasions, with Sleeping Night (2005) and Salsify (2012 & 2013).
Who is the most successful trainer in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?
The joint-most successful trainers in the history of the Foxhunter Chase are Richard Barber and Paul Nicholls, with four wins each. Nicholls’ four wins in the race have come courtesy of Earthmover (2004), Sleeping Night (2005) and Pacha Du Polder (2017 & 2018), while Barber’s four winners came with Rushing Wild (1992), Fantus (1995 & 1997) and Earthmover (1998).