Crystal Cup tips and runner-by-runner guide to Cheltenham 3.00 on Friday

Minella Indo makes his debut in this sphere.

Minella Indo

Minella Indo is the standout name in a classy renewal of the Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is given a go over the banks as trainer Henry de Bromhead considers a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival equivalent, which is shaping up to feature a whole host of top-level horses on the decline amid calls from some pundits and fans for that race to return to handicap status.

While the March contest sees the horses run off level weights, Minella Indo has to concede weight to all 12 rivals here including fellow Grade 1 winners Galvin and Fury Road as well as Grand Sefton scorer Gesskille.

Lower-rated horses stand little chance in the Cheltenham Festival race so these handicaps represent their best chance and Latenightpass will attempt to go one better after placing second in last month’s race on the cross country course.

Didero Vallis – officially 19lbs out of the handicap due to the presence of Minella Indo – and Francky De Berlais were third and fourth in last month’s contest and also take their place in Friday’s 15:00.

The latest Crystal Cup 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.

Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase verdict

Timeform: GALVIN took well to this course when second to his stablemate at the festival in March and he shaped as if the run was needed here last month, so he’s worth another chance. Minella Indo is another class act and an intriguing addition to this sphere, while another solid showing is expected from Latenightpass.

*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

Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase runners and riders

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

Minella Indo

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 10 Weight: 12st 0lbs

Been rather in and out since landing 2021 Gold Cup, returning with a poor effort in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal. Obviously a class act on his day, though, and he’s an interesting newcomer to this sphere.



Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Keith Donoghue Age: 9 Weight: 11st 11lbs

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. Not at best since but should come on for his return here and boasts leading claims.


Fury Road

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Sam Ewing Age: 9 Weight: 11st 10lbs

High-class chaser at his peak and, while he’s not been firing for a while, his stable has an excellent record on this Cross-Country track, so could bounce back after a break.



Trainer: Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero Jockey: Henry Brooke Age: 7 Weight: 10st 12lbs

Reliable sort who underlined his liking for the National fences when landing the Grand Sefton at Aintree last time. That form is working out well and he’s the sort to take to this new discipline.


Enjoy D’allen

Trainer: Ciaran Murphy Jockey: E. Walsh Age: 9 Weight: 10st 9lbs

Useful chaser at his best who was quite highly tried last term. Probably needed the run (didn’t have a hard race) on first go at Cross-Country chasing at Punchestown last time, so he’s likely to step forward from it.



Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Miss Gina Andrews Age: 10 Weight: 10st 8lbs

Landed the Aintree Foxhunters’ in April 2022. Good fourth in that corresponding race and started out for current yard with a good second over C&D last month. Another bold showing is on the cards.


Francky Du Berlais

Trainer: Peter Bowen Jockey: Sean Bowen Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Won the 2022 Summer Plate at Market Rasen and some good efforts since, including twice in September. Shaped as if still in form when fourth over C&D last time.


Diesel D’Allier

Trainer: Richard Bandey Jockey: Brendan Powell Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Useful chaser on the cross-country circuit but he’s not the force of old and failed to feature over C&D last time. Up against it again.


Vital Island

Trainer: R. P. O’Keeffe Jockey: Mr T. Power Roche Age: 11 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Course winner. Latest win in La Touche Cup in April. Back to form when second in Cross-Country event at Punchestown last time but has a bit on from out of the weights.



Trainer: Gavin Patrick Cromwell Jockey: Jonathan Burke Age: 7 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Error-prone chaser who has been struggling for form over hurdles this season. Hard to make a solid case for.


Wick Green

Trainer: Ben Pauling Jockey: Ben Jones Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Thriving since joining Ben Pauling, already a three-time winner for the yard, and he has hit the frame in a couple of handicaps here the last twice. Stiff task from out of the weights, though.



Trainer: Sheila Lewis Jockey: Robert Dunne Age: 9 Weight: 10st 2lbs

Strong stayer who is something of a Warwick specialist. Ran well from out of the weights over C&D last time but a place is the best he can hope for faced with a similar scenario.


Didero Vallis

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

Useful chaser at his best and, while he was out of sorts last season, he stopped the slide when third from out of the weights over C&D last time. Place claims again.


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