• Hands Heels

Champion Chase (Grade One)

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

15:05 Cheltenham 17/03

Heavy favourite for the race last year was Chacun Pour Soi, until dramatically missing out on the race due to an abscess, leaving Politologue to win. She is favourite again this year again and barring any sort of freak accident again, you would be hard pressed to argue with that. She has beaten all comers this year most recently winning the Dublin chase by 8 lengths, the same race she won last year before missing out at the festival. People might try and find faults in such a short price and look to take on the favourite, perhaps the lack of Cheltenham run, will the track suit etc. But for such a classy horse I don’t really think I’d be willing to pick holes in Chacun Pour Soi and will be having a win bet.

Altior would have been a similar price to Chacun a few years ago, but it’s fair to say time seems to be catching up on him now, he seems to have lost a few gears and the fact that they’ve even considered stepping him up in trip shows that even Nicky Henderson is doubting his pace as a two miler now. He had every chance to get by Nube Negra last time out but couldn’t. I’d never say rule out a horse with the ability Altior has, as we’ve seen before most recently with Yorkhill, horses can and do roll back the clock. But from a betting point of view I won’t be touching Altior. Following on from this I also wouldn’t back Nube Negra as that run flattered him, Altior was below par, and he was previously beaten by Rouge Vif who is decent at best. I just cannot have him beating Chacun here and the price isn’t big enough to tempt me each way. Min will most likely run in the Ryanair instead of here.

Put The Kettle on is interesting having won last years Arkle, since that she has beaten Duc Des Genieveres in the grade two Shloer chase before running third to Chacun and Notebook in Leopardstown. I think on the face of it the form of that race is nothing special. Notebook was preferred by Rachel Blackmore last time and finished ahead of Put The Kettle on with Chacun 6 lengths to the good. In behind though was Annamix who has been beaten by a combined 126 lengths in the next two starts! She merely finished the best of the rest that day and would even fancy Notebook over her in this. Interesting to see who Blackmore rides on the day.

Honourable mentions for Cilaos Emery and Sceau Royal who have both won well recently, but I think they just find grade one company too much and don’t rate their chances in this. Cilaos Emery just won a grade three as I’m writing this, but a small field with the second, Daly Tiger, a handicapper at best. This just isn’t champion chase worthy form. Sceau Royal usually finds one or two too good and fell in the race which Nube Negra won. He did win last time out beating Gold Cup fancy Champ over two miles. Again this was a good performance but Champ was running over an inadequate trip and would need to find something more to trouble here.

My outsider for this race which I’ll have a little each way poke at would be First Flow, who is 14/1 with William Hill but generally 12/1 is still available. He completed his 6 timer last time out beating last years winner of this race, Politologue, by 7 lengths. Before that first graded chase success, he had won a couple of novice chases, before stepping into top class handicaps winning twice. He was 14/1 that day and was very impressive in my eyes. He had Politologue in trouble with David Bass flying over the jumps he galloped them into the ground with some other top class horses behind, Defi Du Seuil, Waiting Patiently and Duc De Genievres. I think 12/1 is a great price for this horse who is a bit of an unknown element stepping up to grade one company. Whether he will get the lead as easily in a championship race, I’m not so sure but other than Chacun he’s the only one who I will be chancing as an each way bet in the race.

Selections -

Chacun Pour Soi 1pt win single 10/11

First Flow 12/1 (14/1 William Hill) 0.5pts each way single.

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