The National Hunt Chase closes the card on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, Champion Day, and as a result it is a popular race for punters to get stuck into - whether that is to build on successes or to resurrect a bad opening day! The market for the National Hunt Chase regularly changes throughout the season, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled on horseracing.net for expert views and analysis on the 2020 National Hunt Chase as the picture becomes clearer.
The latest odds for the NH Chase will be listed below just as soon as they become available.
National Hunt Chase Tips
Tips for the 2020 National Hunt Chase will appear here.
What is the National Hunt Chase?
The National Hunt Chase is the final race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, Champion Day, which takes place on a Tuesday in March. The race is a Grade 2 novices’ chase over three miles and six furlongs (from 2020), and is exclusively for amateur riders. The race was traditionally held over four miles, though the distance was changed due to animal welfare concerns after the 2019 renewal, which was won by Le Breuil. The race regularly produces a smart staying chaser, with the dual Grand National-winner Tiger Roll winning the race in 2017.
The history of the National Hunt Chase
The National Hunt Chase was first run back in 1860, and holds the distinction of being run more times than any other race at the Cheltenham Festival. The race has been named in honour of several legendary figures of the sport in recent years, including Sir Peter O’Sullevan in 2008, John Oaksey in 2013, Terry Biddlecombe in 2014 and Toby Balding in 2015. The race was upgraded to listed status in 2014, and was again boosted to Grade 2 status in 2017. Following the 2019 renewal, the BHA announced a series of changes to the conditions of the race, which included shortening the distance by two furlongs to three miles and six furlongs.
What happened in the 2019 National Hunt Chase?
As alluded to above, the 2019 renewal of the National Hunt Chase made headlines for the wrong reasons, with one horse suffering a fatal injury and just four of the 18-strong field able to finish in gruelling conditions. Three of the riders who were able to finish were handed bans for continuing when contrary to the horse’s welfare (though one of those bans was subsequently overturned), and although the race proved something of a tough watch, it was the Ben Pauling-trained Le Breuil who stayed on best, defeating the Paul Nolan-trained Discorama by half a length.
Who is the most iconic winner of National Hunt Chase?
The National Hunt Chase has proven to be a good breeding ground for staying chasers, and several winners of the race have gone on to make their mark in the Grand National - though none more so than the 2017 winner, Tiger Roll. The 2014 Triumph Hurdle winner had proven a talented but quirky individual up to this point, losing his enthusiasm for the game to the point that he was even tried on the Flat at Dundalk by his trainer in March 2016 (rather than head to the Cheltenham Festival!), but he has really come into his own since switching to fences, and his 2017 National Hunt Chase felt like his coming of age moment. It hardly needs documenting what Tiger Roll has achieved since, winning back-to-back renewals of the Cross Country Chase at the Festival in 2018 and 2019 and becoming the first horse since Red Rum to successfully defend his Grand National crown at Aintree in April 2019. He will be back in 2020, and it remains to be seen whether he will go for a hat-trick of wins in the Cross Country Chase, or whether connections will aim for an even loftier prize...
Are there any trials for the National Hunt Chase?
Contenders for the National Hunt Chase can come from many different places, though there are several listed and graded novice contests worth keeping an eye on throughout the season, including the John Francombe Novices’ Chase at Newbury, the Patrick Coyne Memorial Novices’ Chase at Haydock, the Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick and the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
Who is the most successful jockey in the National Hunt Chase?
In total, 12 jockeys share the accolade of having ridden two winners in the National Hunt Chase, with the most recent being Jamie Codd - who was successful on Cause of Causes in 2015 and Le Breuil in 2019. Other names on the list include Willie Mullins (Hazy Dawn in 1982 and Macks Friendly in 1984), Tony Martin (Smooth Escort in 1991 and Deejaydee in 1999) and Willie’s son Patrick Mullins (Back In Focus in 2013 and Rathvinden in 2018).
Who is the most successful trainer in the National Hunt Chase?
The most successful trainer in the history of the National Hunt Chase in Jonjo O’Neill, who has won the race six times. Jonjo O’Neill’s wins in the race came courtesy of Front Line (1995), Rith Dubh (2002), Sudden Shock (2003), Native Emperor (2004), Butler’s Cabin (2007) and Minella Rocco (2016).