The Christie’s Foxhunter Chase is run over precisely the same distance as the Gold Cup, although the prize money on offer and the horses on display are markedly different.
What is unique about the Foxhunter Chase? The race is for amateur riders only, so after the likes of Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy have hopped off their mounts after the Gold Cup, they give way for the current crop of amateurs to test themselves around the challenging chase course at Cheltenham.
Many of the horses you see contesting the Foxhunter Chase will be relatively unknown to the masses at Cheltenham, as they predominantly come from a background of running in the point-to-point circuit. For those of you unaccustomed to point-to-point racing, it is basically a form of amateur national hunt racing that is contested throughout the UK. UK point-to-points tend to be contested by chasers that are winding down their careers, so you will often see some familiar faces when attending these events.
The Irish also have their own point-to-point events, which are often used as a nursery for younger horses with big potential. Irish point-to-points have a history of producing some excellent talent; many of the horses successful in these events will go on to much bigger things as their careers progress.
In terms of betting on the Foxhunter Chase, the form is more difficult to quantify than with the high grade racing that we are all accustomed to watching on the TV at the weekend. There are normally a number of unknown quantities in the line up, however the big trainers will also saddle horses in the race. For this reason, it can be tough to assess the where to look to find some value, and the choice normally sits between a younger and progressive type looking to kick on to bigger things, or a chaser coming towards the twilight of their career.
- The Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup is classified as a Class 2 National Hunt Chase.
- The race will be run at 16:00 on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival, which is a Friday.
- The race is open to horses aged five years or older. 5 year olds run at 11 stone 13lb and 6 year olds run at 12 st. Mares (My Flora) receive a 7lb allowance.
- The total distance of the race is three miles, two and a half furlongs.
- In 2011 the winner received circa £21,000 and the total prize fund was approximately £33,000.
- There are a total of 22 fences across the extended three mile trip.
- 20 of the last 25 winners won last time out.
- The last 10 winners had previously won over 3 miles or further.
- Since 1992, only one winner (Cappa Bleu in 2009) had not previously won under rules.
- 18 of the last 20 winners were aged ten or younger.
- 9 of the last 10 winners (including the last 7) had run in less than 4 handicap chases.
- 9 of the last 10 winners had raced within 35 days (under rules or in a Point-To-Point) of their most recent run.
- 7 of the last 10 winners had raced under rules within 35 days of their most recent run. The other three winners came back off a break of at least 10 months.
- 6 of the last 10 winners had won at least 2 chases under rules. The other four winners had run in less than 7 chases.
- 7 of the last 10 winners had won or been placed in a ‘Class 3′ or higher race.
- Enda Bolger (On The Fringe) has sent out three runners in this race. All have completed the course but have failed to make the first three.
Betting on the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase
There are plenty of strong trends to get stuck into in the field of 24 runners in the Foxhunters. Usually just under half can be removed straight away by not having won last time out. Most runners will have won over a minimum of 3 miles and won a race under rules in the past so those traits, although vital, will not remove many from the card.
Horses aged over ten years of age have a terrible record and should be dismissed (only Earthmover and Cavalero have achieved this in the last 20 renewals and both were below average races).
A Foxhunters winner generally possesses a touch of class and will have won or been placed in a ‘Class 3′ (or higher) race in their history. Failing that, they will have a prolific record in Open Point-To-Point races, being unbeaten in at least one year.
You also want a horse who has run in the last 35 days, preferably under rules. However, do not dismiss those coming back from a long lay-off of over ten months (Roulez Cool).