THE Cross Country chase is one of the most unusual races of the Festival. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) is on hand to guide us through his picks.
Cross Country Chase | 16.10 Cheltenham | Channel 4
I love this race. OK, it’s more for the novelty of it rather than as a betting event but I feel it adds something different to the Festival.
Enda Bolger has a fantastic record in this race and I expect him to add to that today.
Balthazar King won this race two seasons ago and is somewhat of a course specialist. He also became one of the most famous horses in training after his fall in the Grand National saw him trending on Twitter as fans flocked to check his fate. Thankfully he survived that horrible fall and Philip Hobbs has worked wonders to get him back on course for this race.
He has a tremendous record fresh and at 12 years-old he wouldn’t be the oldest winner of a cross country race. However, I’m prepared to take him on as I think he meets a younger rival here who will take some stopping.
Any Currency is another horse who loves it round here and he has a fantastic course record. He was second in this for the last two seasons and could go close again, but I feel he is vulnerable for win purposes.
Quantativeeasing looked like he was going to go close to winning this race last season before he was carried out by Toutancarmont last season and comes here looking for redemption. However, he doesn’t win as often as he should and with one victory from his last 20 starts he is not a backable proposition for me.
The one I like is his stablemate Josies Orders (11/4 Ladbrokes). He won twice over course and distance earlier in the season and he seems at home over this unique course.
He represents JP McManus and Enda Bolger who have a real love affair with this race and at eight years of age, strikes me as the sort of horse who could run up a sequence of wins in this race.
He will improve for his last run over hurdles and this race has without a doubt been his long term target. I think he will win this and win well.
16:10 Cheltenham – Josies Orders to win (11/4 Ladbrokes)
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