Tuesday 15 March 2016

3:30 Cheltenham Festival (16th March) 2016: Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)

Ten horses declared for this Chase over 1m 7f 99y on good to soft going. The inaugural race was won in 1959 by Quita Que, ridden by Bunny Cox and trained by Dan Moore. 

The most successful horse to win this race three times was Badsworth Boy (1983 - 85). 

Jockeys Pat Taaffe & Barry Geraghty have won this race five times, while Tom Dreaper is the most successful trainer with six wins.  

The betting suggests this is a two horse race with Un De Sceaux and Sprinter Sacre battling for Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson, respectively. 

Dodging Bullets won this race last year against a few old adversaries Sprinter Sacre, who pulled up, Somersby, Special Tiara & Sire De Grugy.  

Un De Sceaux could well be sent off an odds on shot. This eight-year-old bay gelding, a French son of Denham Red is an exceptional horse. Sixteen runs have seen him triumphant fourteen time, falling twice, when pretty much guaranteed to win. He has run once at Cheltenham when quickening clear in the Racing post Arkle Challenge Trophy. With prize winning over £400,000 Mullins' charge must take some beating. 

Sprinter Sacre needs little introduction and a truly inspiring horse at best. This ten-year-old is trained by Nicky Henderson, racing in the silks of Mrs Caroline Mould. 

No stranger to Cheltenham, this gelding, a son of Network (GR), has won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2011) & Arkle Challenge Trophy (2012). He has mixed fortunes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase winning in 2013. However, he was pulled up last year when things started to fall apart. Sprinter Scare has shown he is enjoying his racing this season with two comfortable wins and plenty of supporters will be excited by the potential dual. 

I would have to favour Un De Sceaux to win but at 5/1 Sprinter Sacre could well be a fair each way bet.