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Examining Gordon Elliott’s Cross Country Chase hopes

10 Mar Examining Gordon Elliott’s Cross Country Chase hopes


Established in 2005, the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase has become one of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the Cheltenham Festival calendar – with National Hunt racing fans appreciating how gruelling and unique a test the three-mile and six-furlong affair is.

Originally run as a handicap chase, it was eventually changed to a conditions event seven years ago. Since then, Gordon Elliott has dominated the contest, winning four of the last seven renewals – and the Longwood-based trainer will be hoping to add more Cross Country Chase silverware to his trophy cabinet when the esteemed race rolls around this month.

And with four of his thoroughbreds expected to line up in the fifth race on day one of the Festival, the Irishman will once again prove difficult to beat. With that in mind, read on as we dissect Elliott’s horses who will be making a tilt at the Class 2 contest.

Delta Work

Arguably the meeting’s biggest NAP alongside Champion Hurdle favourite Constitution Hill, many fans and pundits believe the Cross Country Chase is Delta Work’s to lose. The cause for the hype surrounding the ten-year-old is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he won the 2022 renewal and did so impressively, outlasting three-time champion Tiger Roll to reign supreme by three quarters of a length.

Couple that with his formidable record over course and distance, and you can see why the gelding is garnering a short price of 10/11 in the Cheltenham odds. If he is to go back-to-back however, he’ll need to improve on his 2023 performances.

After finishing third at Cheltenham in January, the French horse followed it up with an equally disappointing outing at Navan – finishing sixth and 13-and-a-half lengths off the leader. Despite his dip in form, Delta Work certainly isn’t one to write off – particularly at a course he knows so well.


If there is one horse that has the potential to upset Delta Work, it’s his stablemate Galvin. While the nine-year-old has been relatively inconsistent over the past 18 months or so, he has enough big-race experience to return to the form that saw him put together separate streaks of five and six wins in 2018/19 and 2020/21 respectively.

Similarly to Delta Work, he too has had success at Prestbury Park – notching up a win in the National Hunt Challenge Cup in 2021 to coincide with a second-placed finish in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase. If he can wind back the clock and display his 2018-2020 form, he might be worth a look at 5/2.


An outsider at 40/1, 11-year-old Mortal hasn’t secured a victory since August of 2020, when he reigned supreme in a handicap chase at Killarney. Although the Irish horse hasn’t sniffed a win in nearly three years, Elliott would have been buoyed by Mortal’s most recent run at Cheltenham.

The gelding would go on to finish fourth in what was a deep field that included the likes of Delta Work and Back On The Lash. Therefore, given how seasoned a thoroughbred Mortal is, if he can be there or thereabouts at the business end of the race, stranger things have happened. For those punters unwilling to tip a 40/1 long-shot to win – he could be good value as an each-way bet.


A highly unlikely prospect at 100/1, Hardline would need to run the race of his life and hope for some other things to go his way if he were to upset the applecart. While the 11-year-old has secured two wins this season, they came against limited opposition. Couple that with a less than stellar sixth-placed finish when stepping up in competition at Leopardstown – and I can’t see how Hardline gets the job done.