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Festival Hunters’ Chase Tips, Odds, Free Bets, Betting Offers & Preview

The Festival Hunters’ Chase is run over the same gruelling three-mile two-furlong distance as the Gold Cup and is the amateur’s version of the race. It’s open to qualifying amateur riders and horses aged five and over.

In fact, its full name is actually the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters Chase, although has been more commonly known as the Foxhunters’ Chase in recent times.

For a horse to be eligible for the race, it must have - finished first or second twice in hunter chases, won two open point-to-point races or won one open point-to-point race and finished second or first in a hunter chase.

Read on for Festival Hunters’ Chase betting odds, tips and free bets for the 2024 renewal.

Race Details
When:Friday, March 15th - 4:10pm
Winner’s Prize:£24,445
Distance:Three-miles & two-and-a-half furlongs
Race Type:Hunter Chase
Course:New Course
Weights:11st 12lbs (5yo), 12st 0lb (6yo+), 7lb allowance for mares
Where to Watch?ITV Racing, Racing TV, Bookmaker Streams

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Festival Hunters’ Chase Tips

Known as the Gold Cup for amateurs, the Foxhunters Chase is run immediately following the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The race will have its fair share of bigger names, in terms of horses, jockeys, and trainers, and this is often a path that many punters like to go down as they try to find out the winner of this contest.

If you need some betting pointers for the Foxhunters’, our top tipster, Alan Kelly, has his Nap of the Day running in the race.

Alan Kelly - Ferns Lock (NAP)

The hunter chase division has changed a lot over the last twenty years or so. Prior to that, it was not unusual for Cheltenham’s Foxhunters to unleash a potential Gold Cup or Grand National horse—think Spartan Missile, Grittar, and Double Silk, just to name a few. The best point-to-point horses are now snapped up at an early stage. Both Denman and Constitution Hill were purchased shortly after showing promise in the pointing field.

However, one horse who may have slipped through the net is the seven-year-old Ferns Lock, who first caught my eye when trouncing a reliable yardstick in Billaway by 20 lengths at Thurles in January of last year. Leading point-to-point trainer David Christie has made no secret of the fact he rates this son of Telescope as the best he has trained by some way.

While Ferns Lock has been beaten twice, there were genuine excuses on both occasions, but when this horse is at his best, I don’t think there is a horse in the division capable of getting him off the bridle. I will be disappointed if my nap does not win comfortably before going on to greater things in the future.

Foxhunters’ Chase Betting Odds

Several of these runners have locked horns already this season, including Irish-trained trio It’s On The Line, Ferns Lock, and Billaway.

Last year’s winner, Premier Magic, is unbeaten since his success here 12 months ago and will be a popular selection with punters for trainer and jockey Bradley Gibbs.

What Happened Last Year?

Last year’s Festival Hunters’ Chase gave us another thrilling finish, with Premier Magic holding on in a frenetic finish up the infamous Cheltenham hill under jockey Bradley Gibbs, who also trains the horse.

This was the second time in four runnings of the race that the winner returned at odds of 66/1 - certainly a result for the bookies!

Festival Hunters’ Chase Key Stats

  • 11 of the last 12 winners were aged eight or older
  • Eight of the previous 12 winners of the Foxhunters’ Chase had at least one previous run at Cheltenham
  • Ten of the last 12 winners had a rating of 134 or higher

Previous Winners of the Foxhunters’ Chase

Check out the most recent winners of the Festival Hunters’ Chase in the table below.

2023Premier Magic
2021Porlock Bay
2020It Came To Pass
2019Hazel Hill


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When is the Festival Hunters' Chase?

The Festival Hunters' Chase takes place on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival. It’s the fifth race on the card and takes place immediately after the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In 2024 it is scheduled for Friday, March 15th, at 4:10pm.

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What time is the Festival Hunters' Chase?

The official start time of the 2024 Festival Hunters' Chase is 4:10pm. The race is the fifth race on the seven-race Gold Cup Day racecard.

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Who won the Festival Hunters' Chase at Cheltenham?

Premier Magic won the 2023 Festival Hunters' Chase for trainer and jockey Bradley Gibbs.

More Cheltenham Tips

Check out our tips for all the other Cheltenham Day 4 races:

Scott McGlynn

Famed for his Acca of the Day and Bet Builder selections, Scott provides tips across many sports on Freebets, and is our lead Scottish football writer