The curtain comes down on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival with the 2023 National Hunt Challenge Cup, a race the Irish have won for the six of the past seven seasons.
This race for amateur jockeys was previously staged over 4 miles but in 2020 the distance was reduced to just short of 3 miles and 6 furlongs. The criterion for the qualifying riders was also adjusted too. This event still requires a top staying performance to win it regardless of the conditions.
|When:||Tuesday 14th March, 17:30pm|
|Distance:||Three-miles five-and-a-half furlongs|
|Weights:||11st 4lbs (5yo), 11st 6lbs (6yo+), 7lb allowance for mares|
|Where to watch?||ITV, Racing UK, Bookmaker Streams|
National Hunt Chase Tips
This is a race that has just as much importance on the day, as it does for the future, and over the years we’ve seen horses go on from here to be staying chasers, including Tiger Roll, who won this race before his Grand National heroics. When the final field is confirmed, our tipsters will be on hand to guide you with their thoughts on the race, a real test of jumping ability for novice chasers, plus stamina, over this long trip of three miles and six furlongs.
National Hunt Chase Betting Odds (January Update)
The market leader for this contest is Gaillard Du Mesnil, who is already short in the betting to win the race, priced up generally at 6/4. Thanks to no victories last year, he’s allowed to run as a novice again this season, so comes with a wealth of experience, including a Grade One third placed effort at the festival last season.
What Happened in 2022?
We only had a small field for this contest last year, with just six going to post, and the betting was dominated by a front three who were trained in Ireland.
It was Willie Mullins who came out on top, second favourite Stattler produced a better staying and jumping display than his rivals, and came away with ease to win the contest by eight lengths, under jockey Patrick Mullins.
National Hunt Chase Key Race Stats
This contest has proven to be a real springboard for future top staying prospects.
This is another race in which the Irish have an excellent record, with Gordon Elliott winning four renewals (or five if you credit him with Galvin’s success in 2021).
Willie Mullins took this in 2017, 2020 most recently in 2022, further enhancing his dominance of the Cheltenham Festival
Here are some stats and facts on this race:
- 10 of the last 12 winners were aged between 7 and 9
- Mr J J Codd has won the race 3 times in the last 20 years
- 13 of the last 16 winners had previously won at least once over three miles
Previous Winners of the National Hunt Chase
- 2022 - Stattler
- 2021 – Galvin
- 2020 – Ravenhill
- 2019 – Le Breuil
- 2018 – Rathvinden