Cheltenham Festival 2024: Cross Country Chase abandoned on Day 2 as Nicky Henderson withdraws number of horses

The Cross Country Chase will not be rescheduled for later in the week (Getty Images)
The Cross Country Chase will not be rescheduled for later in the week (Getty Images)

The Cross Country Chase was abandoned at the Cheltenham Festival, denying Delta Work a shot at a third victory.

An early morning inspection took place, after 11mm of rainfall on Tuesday, and officials said there had been “no improvement” to conditions.

The Cross Country Chase is run on a different course to the other races at the Festival. With areas of the course deemed “unraceable”, and further rain expected over the next couple of days, the decision was made not to reschedule for Friday, as was initially suggested.

Delta Work has won the Cross Country Chase in each of the last two years and was favourite to match Tiger Roll’s record tally of three victories in the race.

A Cheltenham spokesperson said: "Following 11mm of rainfall throughout yesterday, there has been no improvement in the conditions on the Cross Country Course and with areas of the track unraceable, the Cross Country Chase has sadly been abandoned.

"The forecast for the remainder of the week continues to look unsettled, with further showers likely on both Thursday and Friday.

"There will therefore be insufficient improvement to the Cross Country Course by Friday, and the decision has been taken not to reschedule the race."

Trainer Nicky Henderson, meanwhile, announced he has pulled three horses from Wednesday’s card, amid concern over a problem hindering his yard.

Henderson was forced to withdraw Constitution Hill from the Champion Hurdle in the build-up to the Festival, and his horses struggled badly on Tuesday to suggest the issue was a wider one.

Shiskin will now not run in the Gold Cup on Friday, having “shown an unsatisfactory picture” after he was scoped. Henderson said Shiskin had been working “better than ever” and appears to be “100% in himself”, despite the decision.

Jonbon has been withdrawn from the Queen Mother Champion Chase, with further non-runners expected throughout the week.

"I'm afraid we have had to make some very tough decisions following the very disappointing performances of all bar one of our horses yesterday,” Henderson said in a statement.

"It was there for all to see that there is obviously something affecting nearly all our horses and consequently we have reluctantly decided that Jonbon, First Street and Kingston Pride will not run today.

"It is impossible to identify any reason for all the disappointments and none of these three horses have given us any cause for concern, all yesterday's runners were scoped clean post-race and I am glad to say all are sound this morning.

"There will unfortunately be further non-runners on Thursday and Friday. I hope everybody will appreciate that we have to do this in everybody's interests, particularly the horses. It is very, very disappointing for everybody.”