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Cheltenham test can win over cross-country sceptics


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The Cross-Country chases at Britain’s premier jumps track are often rubbished but Friday’s race has three Grade One winners

The Cross-Country course at Cheltenham is nearly 30 years old, it was the stage for three of the dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll’s five Festival successes and is a circuit where market leaders and track specialists – both equine and human – have a consistently strong record. McGregor The Third, who took the first ever race over the course in 1995, was also its first multiple winner, and popular favourites like Spot Thedifference, with seven course wins, and Garde Champetre (six) have followed his lead.

And yet, there are still plenty of punters who regard the novel circuit that criss-crosses the Cheltenham infield with indifference at best, and hostility at worst. For some, the three races over the cross-country track each season are three too many.

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