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Champion Chase Tips

Wednesday 13th March 15:30

Below you'll find our betting tips for the Champion Chase which takes place at 15:30 on Wednesday 13th March at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival. Our tips are provided by our expert horse racing analyst Will Smith who has featured on Racing TV and William Hill Racing.

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Champion Chase Preview

by Will Smith…

What looked for most of the season as a real match-up to savour, in the shape of El Fabiolo v Jonbon – Round 3, has rather faded for me. The tendency of Jonbon to let his season just unravel slightly means that the Champion Chase is now more a case of El Fabiolo v the rest.

All things being equal, El Fabiolo should prove to be too good, too straightforward and it might be more a case of who runs their race in behind as to who fills the podium positions. Like I say, it feels as if Jonbon has slightly gone the wrong way, he doesn’t look an easy ride, and has certainly not looked to be naturally enjoying jumping fences this season, for whatever reason.

So, with that in mind, once we get final declarations and some of the extra place markets and more likely, the ‘betting without’ markets are made available, that will be the time to really pick through the other contestants.

Given my negativity towards Jonbon, the fact that he is a clear second favourite, there will surely be some value in those ‘betting without El Fabiolo’ markets.

Tactically, this will surely be a well-run race, as Edwardstone seemed to really enjoy those tactics in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, and even if connections of him throw a curveball in and don’t employ the same, then Jonbon and Elixir De Nutz won’t want it to turn into a dawdle, so you’d expect an honest tempo at the very least.

A peak form Captain Guinness would be a likely candidate for this particular angle, as he has run really well at the last 3 Cheltenham Festivals – brought down when going well in the 2020 Supreme, 3rd in the 2021 Arkle and 2nd in the 2023 Champion Chase.

More of that in a few days though…

Champion Chase
DateTimeDistanceType
Wed 13/03/202315:302mChase

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade 1 race. It’s run on the Old Course over a distance of 2 miles and features 12 fences to be jumped. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is open to horses aged five years or older and is one of the most prestigious two-mile chases in the National Hunt calendar. Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer and Master Minded are just a few of the notable winners that the race has produced.

Champion Chase Odds

Selection Odds
El Fabiolo 1/2
Jonbon 7/2
Edwardstone 7/1
Captain Guinness 20/1
Elixir De Nutz 33/1
Gentleman De Mee 50/1
Boothill 66/1
Funambule Sivola 200/1

Previous Tips

2023 Tips [expired]

Edwardstone became the joint 7/4 favourite to win this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase after losing by the narrowest of margins to Editeur Du Gite in the Clarence House Chase.

The nine-year-old couldn’t quite peg back Gary Moore’s front-runner on Cheltenham’s Trials Day, where the race was moved to after the Ascot’s original date was abandoned. With just a head separating them at the line, Alan King’s runner will now go straight to the Festival.

Editeur Du Gite was understandably slashed in the ante-post market, going from 20/1 to 5/1 in one foul swoop. Many punters will be hoping that the fourth favourite can repeat the front running tactics at the Festival but the bookmakers are taking no chances this time on him repeating the feat.

Last year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Energumene drifted out in the betting from the 8/11 favourite to 9/4 second favourite after finishing third in the Clarence House, but has been the subject of plenty of support again and now vies for favouritism.

Before his defeat on Trials Day, the Tony Bloom-owned nine-year-old had won his previous three races and was looking like a Cheltenham banker for many a punter and their portfolio.

Speaking on the latest episode of Off The Fence, former jockey Barry Geraghty pointed out to the viewers that the Champion Chase is run on entirely a different course, saying:

“The main difference is the Champion Chase will be on the Old Course rather than the New Course, which was always my main concern for Energumene. The New Course is more stamina-based and I think that suited the winner.

Editeur Du Gite got a brilliant ride from Niall Houlihan, keeping the pace even and quickening from four out.

Both Energumene and Edwardstone ran keen. The Old Course is sharper and quicker and I think Energumene will settle better at the pace.”

Gentleman De Mee put himself right into the Champion Chase picture by turning over Blue Lord in the Dublin Chase at the DRF.

The seven-year-old was a Grade One winner at Aintree last year beating Edwardstone in a thriller, which puts him in with a real live chance now going into Cheltenham.

Speaking of Blue Lord, the Munir and Souede-owned eight-year-old who was unbeaten this season until the DRF, has taken a walk out 5/1 with most bookmakers after Gentleman De Mee dented his pride.

It’s too early to be writing any horse’s chances off in the Champion Chase, but Blue Lord really does have some major turning around to do now at Prestbury Park.

After the first five horses in the betting there’s quite a marked jump then to the next horse which is Greaneteen who is a general 14/1 shot with most firms.

Greaneteen reclaimed the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter back in November but hasn’t been seen since December when he finished nine lengths inferior to Edwardstone in Sandown’s Tingle Creek. You have to feel that he would require one or two of these to falter to take home the silverware in this Grade 1.

Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra (25/1) is not the silliest ante-post bet you could place at this juncture and the course and distance winner could well hit the frame on his favoured good ground. The nine-year-old almost pulled off this championship race in 2021 but for stumbling just after the last fence, so he’s no forlorn hope.

Champion Chase verdict

With all of the main contenders having now played their hand I have decided that I will now nail my colours to the Edwardstone mast.

On a going day, which is generally 99.9% of the time, he’s a slick jumping racehorse with the ability to change gears in the closing stages of a race. I’m really struggling to find a rival here that has that complete all round game so I will stick with Alan King’s gelding.

2022 Tips [expired]

Cheltenham Tips by Day
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Tips for Friday 15th March

Many eyes were on a Henry De Bromhead-trained horse during the Arkle, but it wasn’t until they began the downhill run, did any interested observer feel that Put The Kettle On was that horse. Notebook was a long-term favourite for the race, but failed to handle everything that goes with a festival race.

Put The Kettle On meanwhile, was sparkling in her Arkle chase victory. Comparing times on different days is always fraught with complications, but the ground was officially described as the same on the Old Course for days one and two, and time calculations suggested it rode very similar on both days also. So, the fact that Put The Kettle On ran a time 1.89 seconds quicker than Politologue did in winning the Champion Chase, makes the performance all the more notable. She was taken on up front everywhere by the free going Cash Back, and then when Fakir D’Oudaries came to challenge, she had every right to wilt, but so tough, determined and classy is she, that she went again and charged away up the hill.

Paul Nicholls felt that Politologue ran a career best in the Champion Chase, so indirectly Put The Kettle On has the beating of that field already. Obviously Altior and Chacun Pour Soi loom large, due to their eleventh-hour defections from this year’s Champion Chase. But Altior has just started to show fallibilities – in ability and soundness, and Chacun Pour Soi is yet to be tested at Cheltenham.

Put The Kettle On is now two from two at Cheltenham, is trained by a master of two mile chasers, and would have been a good winner of this year’s Champion Chase had she ran in it. How she is 25/1 for the 2021 Champion Chase is beyond me.

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