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2024 Cross Country Chase Tips - Former Gold Cup king can taste Festival glory again

jon-vine
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Last updated: 13 Mar 2024
Jon Vine 13 Mar 2024
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  • Free guide to the 2024 Cross Country Chase
  • This Class 2 takes place on day two of the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday 13th March
  • Minella Indo features in our verdict
latenightpass
Minella Indo (right) finishing second in a Cross Country Handicap at Cheltenham in December. (Getty)

The most unusual race of the Cheltenham Festival takes place on Ladies' Day, as a classy field enters the Cross Country Chase. Runners must see out a grueling trip of over three-and-a-half miles, while also navigating a meandering route that features a range of weird and wonderful obstacles.

Here's our free guide to the 2024 Cross Country Chase. You'll find our best betting tips in the verdict section below.

2024 Cross Country Chase Tips


Delta Work was the most unpopular winner of the meeting back in 2022, as Gordon Elliott's star took down the retiring legend, Tiger Roll to win his first Cross Country. Elliott's 11-year-old then held off Galvin to retain his crown 12 months ago and Delta Work again limbered up for Cheltenham with a decent run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan.

Galvin looks set to renew rivalries with Delta Work. Elliott's former National Hunt Chase winner is at his best on good ground and, while he ran well on soft behind Delta Work 12 months ago, I can't see the going coming up in his favour this year. Elliott looks set to run another Grand National hopeful, Coko Beach, following his victory over the banks at Punchestown, but all of his best form has come in handicaps.

The fly in Gordon Elliott's ointment is Minella Indo, winner of the Gold Cup back in 2021. Henry De Bromhead's star ran a mighty race under 12-00 on his first spin around the Cross Country course at Cheltenham December meeting and Minella Indo has been backed into favouritism in the build-up to this year's contest.

Stattler was well-beaten as he took to the bank's course at Punchestown for the first time, but Willie Mullins still seems keen to run his former Festival winner in the Cross Country, before he too lines up in the Grand National.

Foxy Jacks claimed an impressive victory in the Cross Country handicap at Cheltenham's November Meeting, beating Latenightpass, who went on to fend off Minella Indo the following month. Mouse Morris' ten-year-old is massively respected, but he's got three horses who've been running in Gold Cups ahead of him in the market and Foxy Jacks has to challenge them off level weights.

Escaria Ten, a former stablemate of Delta Work, Galvin and Coko Beach, could have his first start for French trainer Patrice Quinton on day two of the Cheltenham Festival. Annual Invictus and Busselton are also Grand National bound, but it'll be a big ask for either to challenge the big guns on their first starts around this unique track.

Verdict

I've always had a soft spot for Minella Indo, having backed him when he won the Gold Cup three years ago. Henry De Bromhead's star took to the Cross Country course well back in December and he's been trained with this race in mind ever since.

Defending champion Delta Work is the obvious challenger, but he's finished behind Minella Indo on several occasions, including when the pair made their reappearances at Punchestown back in October. Galvin would be a player on decent ground, but given the likely going, I'm happy to side with Minella Indo.

Best Bet1: Minella Indo 2024 Cross Country Chase Best Bet @2/1 at QuinnBet - 15 Units
Minella Indo
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