Horse Racing

National Hunt Steeplechase Challenge Cup 2022 Betting Odds, Runners & Preview

The curtain comes down on the Cheltenham Festival Day 1 proceedings with the 2022 National Hunt Challenge Cup, a race the Irish have won for the five of the past six 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.

Race Details
When:Tuesday 15th March, 16.50pm
Distance:Three-miles five-and-a-half furlongs
Race TypeChase
CourseOld Course
Weights:11st 4lbs (5yo), 11st 6lbs (6yo+), 7lb allowance for mares
Where to watch?ITV, Racing UK, Bookmaker Streams

What Happened in 2021?

In 2021 Galvin was a dogged but decisive winner of Day 1’s closing race. He was previously with Gordon Elliott until being transferred to Ian Ferguson’s yard in Northern Ireland the week before.

Current Favourites

The main contenders, according to the latest odds, are:

Run Wild Fred – 5/1 with bet365*

Trainer – Gordon Elliott | Jockey – Tbc | Age 7

A contender with no stamina concerns, having finished second to Freewheelin Dylan in the Irish Grand National, that coming after his second in the Thyestes Chase. The ground was yielding at Fairyhouse that day which suggests he can handle spring ground, and he already looks to be a major player.

Stattler – 6/1 with Betfred*

Trainer – Willie Mullins | Jockey – Tbc | Age 6

Showed immediate improvement when stepped up in trip last year, finishing third in a 2m6f Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, before finishing fourth in the Albert Bartlett and third at the Punchestown Festival. That is the strongest novice hurdle form amongst the likely contenders, and if he makes it here then he ought to take the beating.

Vanillier – 10/1 with bet365*

Trainer – Gavin Cromwell | Jockey – Tbc | Age 6

Very solid over hurdles but produced a huge career best when destroying the opposition in the Albert Bartlett last year. He wasn’t at his best at Punchestown afterwards but made a pleasing chasing debut behind Lifetime Ambition and Beacon Edge at Down Royal when dropped back markedly in trip, and looks sure to progress from that. The way he finished at Festival suggests he’d get the trip, but the Brown Advisory could be the first port of call.

* Odds correct at 12/12/21

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 last year).

Willie Mullins took this in 2017 and 2020, although the most successful trainer is Jonjo O’Neill, who’s won this five times. Alan King also has two winners. 

Here are some stats and facts on this race:

  • 9 of the last 11 winners were aged between 7 and 9
  • Mr J J Codd has won the race 3 times in the last 20 years
  • Mr Derek O’Connor and Mr P W Mullins are both on two wins apiece
  • 13 of the last 16 winners had previously won at least once over three miles
  • 11 of the last 14 winners were aged seven or eight

In 2017, trainer Gordon Elliott’s diminutive but very talented Tiger Roll stole the show under Lisa O’Neill. The rest as they say is history. He won at odds of 16/1 that day and returned to win the Cross Country race at the 2018 Festival before claiming the 2018 and 2019 Grand National’s for good measure.

Previous Winners of the National Hunt Chase

2021 – Galvin

2020 – Ravenhill

2019 – Le Breuil

2018 – Rathvinden

2017 – Tiger Roll

2016 – Minella Rocco

2015 – Cause Of Causes

2014 – Midnight Prayer

2013 – Back In Focus

2012 – Teaforthree

* Cheltenham 2022 betting odds correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to change.