Cross Country Chase Trends

Jumps water

Cross Country Trends 2022

A love-hate race for many horse racing fans, the Cross Country is a unique test pitting horses against an array of obstacles to negotiate.

The 3 mile 6 furlong trip asks for an established stayer, but the array of obstacles calls on runners to be concentrated, sure footed and consistent for the entire marathon trip.

The quirky race has been one that people have looked forward to over the last few years with superstar horse Tiger Roll taking the event in 2018, 2019 and last year and we have some trends that will look at whether we could have a new winner or he will sign off with a bang.

Stats One

Age is always a good place to start for building your profile for festival races and the Cross Country is no different.

12 of the last 15 winners have been aged 8-10 years old.

It immediately gives us a bracket to focus on with only three recent winners falling outside of this criteria, Tiger Roll being one of them last year.

Easysland was only 6 years old in 2020 and in 2010 12 year old A New Story landed the prize at a massive price.

Stat Two

There is an established quality barrier for runners in this going on to win.

All of the last 15 winners were rated 126 or more.

13 of the 15 have been rated 134 or more.

eight of the last 10 have been rated 140 or more.

More recently class has come to the forefront in this.

Take official ratings seriously. Look for the class in the field, their ability has a tendency to tell in this race.

Stat Three

Don’t get too caught up in previous form from the last year’s festival.

10 of the last 15 winners hadn’t run in the previous year’s renewal.

Eight of the last 10 winners hadn’t run in the previous year’s renewal.

The only recent exception to this rule is Tiger Roll defending his crown and winning this in back to back years in 2018 and 2019 and again last year.

However, don’t be too put off by a runner that didn’t take their chance last year.

Easysland was a prime example of this. 

Stat Four

To further add to the previous trend, nine of the last 15 winners hadn’t won around Cheltenham’s Cross Country course before.

It can be easy to be sucked into previous course form but as previously stated, new comers aren’t a bad thing. Stamina, jumping ability and experience are the real key.

Easysland and Tiger Roll are recent exceptions to this having previously won around Cheltenham’s cross country course.

Stat Five

Stamina is an important factor here and 12 of the last 13 winners had at least one run over 30 furlongs on their CV.

It can be an obvious stat to overlook but an assured stamina is important and seeking out those who have tried a marathon trip before is important.

Only six of those 13 had a previous win over 30 furlongs, pay attention to those who ran well over 3 miles and 6 furlongs without getting too hung up on distance winners.

With that in mind, don’t be too keen on National runners:

10 of the 15 winners had never run in the Grand National.

10 of the 15 had never run in the Irish National.

12 of the 15 had never run in the Scottish National.

Stat Six

Finally, jumping is a big test here. There’s more than just plain fences and open ditches to negotiate so an assured jumper is key.

11 of the last 13 winners had at least 13 chase runs to their name.

Having experience is clearly important. Even six year old Easysland ticked this trend box as he had plenty of chase runs over in his native France.

Look for runners who have plenty of runs over fences and are an assured jumper. The obstacles come thick and fast here, concentration and accuracy are important.

Value Angle

Shady Operator for trainer Enda Bolger looks to have been set up for this race over the season and at 8/1 ticks a lot of the trend boxes and also offers each way value.

In the colours of JP McManus the nine year old looks extremely likeable getting weight off the other runners near the top of the market.

Having been up and down during the last few years, his stand out piece of form came two runs ago when landing a three mile Cross Country Chase around Punchestown.

Having recently had another blow out when only beating one home in a 17 runner handicap hurdle, two places behind Tiger Roll, it will have been used as a prep run for this event.

He has since been seen finishing a narrow second behind stablemate Midnight Maestro at Punchestown, which should have put him bang on.

Getting back over a longer trip and Cross Country event should see him go close.

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