Cross Country Handicap Chase tips and runner-by-runner guide to Cheltenham 2.55 on Friday

Roll on round two of Delta Work v Galvin!

Delta Work wins the Cross Country Chase


Stablemates Delta Work and Galvin renew rivalries in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.

Delta Work got the better of Galvin when they met off level weights in the Cross Country Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, although the latter is set to be 6lbs better off on this occasion, despite being 1lb higher in the handicap, due to the booking of claiming jockey Rob James.

A swing back in Delta Work’s favour, however, could be the fact that he is race fit after coming home third in a Grade 3 chase at Punchestown last month.

In addition to the presence of the big two, there are dangers lurking lower down the weights including two-time winner, Back On The Lash, and 2019 scorer Diesel D’Allier.

Foxy Jacks, third in this year’s Kerry National, also brings a touch of class to the contest but he has failed to complete on his two previous attempts over the banks at Cheltenham.

The latest Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.

Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase verdict

Timeform: BACK ON THE LASH comes alive over these fences and is 2 lb lower than for his last win in this sphere in January. He’ll be better for last month’s return at Exeter so a revival is surely on the cards and he gets the vote over Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work and Galvin, who are undoubtedly the class acts but must concede stacks of weight to Martin Keighley’s charge.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase runners and riders

The following horses have been declared for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase 2023.


Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Mr R. James Age: 9 Weight: 12st 0lbs

Tough and genuine performer with a good Cheltenham Festival CV, second to a stablemate with an even better one in Delta Work on his first go in a cross-country race in March. Didn’t last long in the Grand National but highly respected back here under 7 lb amateur given his good record fresh.


Delta Work

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Keith Donoghue Age: 10 Weight: 11st 13lbs

Won the Cross Country Chase for the second year running at the Festival, finding plenty to see off Galvin. No luck in the Grand National thereafter and should be better for last month’s Punchestown return. This always tough having to concede weight to most but his claims are obvious.


Foxy Jacks

Trainer: M. F. Morris Jockey: Gavin Peter Brouder Age: 9 Weight: 11st 3lbs

Ended long losing run in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan in July and good third in the Kerry National 8 weeks ago despite some poor jumping again. His record here isn’t great (hasn’t completed in 2 attempts over these fences).



Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Miss Gina Andrews Age: 10 Weight: 10st 5lbs

Multiple point winner who has taken a hunter here and also landed the Aintree Foxhunters’ in April 2022. Good fourth in that corresponding race when last seen and interesting runner up in trip now under the care of Dan Skelton.


Francky Du Berlais

Trainer: Peter Bowen Jockey: James Bowen Age: 10 Weight: 10st 3lbs

Won the 2022 Summer Plate at Market Rasen and some good efforts since, including twice in September. On a tempting mark but he’s never convinced over this far.


Back On The Lash

Trainer: Martin Keighley Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 9 Weight: 10st 3lbs

Has won this handicap for the last 2 seasons off similar marks (latest race re-scheduled and ran in January). No show last 3 starts but now 2 lb below that last winning mark and no surprise to see a revival. Big player.


Diesel D’Allier

Trainer: Richard Bandey Jockey: Harry Bannister Age: 10 Weight: 10st 3lbs

Useful chaser on the cross-country circuit, winning this in 2019, third to Back On The Lash in this in 2021 before taking the December contest here from a 2 lb lower mark. Struggled badly in 2 runs over these fences earlier in the year but should be better for last month’s reappearance over hurdles.


Musical Slave

Trainer: Philip Hobbs & Johnson White Jockey: Micheal Nolan Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Landed 3m veterans’ chase at Exeter in February and back on track with a good comeback run at Wincanton, helped by a better round of jumping than he often manages. First go over these fences and won’t lack for stamina. Interesting.


Dieu Vivant

Trainer: Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero Jockey: Toby Wynne Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Multiple hunter winner who took a 3m Bangor handicap chase in September. Well beaten at Uttoxeter next time and work to do on first go in one of these.



Trainer: Sheila Lewis Jockey: Ben Jones Age: 9 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Strong stayer who is something of a Warwick specialist, adding to his haul when winning the same race for third time in March. Decent enough return at Ludlow but plenty on his plate from well out of the handicap on his first crack at one of these.


Didero Vallis

Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Useful chaser at his best but had lost the plot when last seen in the spring (bled here) and can only be watched on return/first go in one of these races.



Trainer: Gearoid O’Loughlin Jockey: R. A. Doyle Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Scored over fences at Clonmel in June but not so good over hurdles twice since and faces a stiff task here.


Debden Bank

Trainer: Martin Keighley Jockey: James Best Age: 9 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Fair handicap chaser at best but pulled up last 4 starts and no appeal on these terms.


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