Thursday 22 February 2018

2018 Queen Mother Champion Chase Fancies

The Cheltenham Festival is closing faster than a speeding horse.
The venue: Prestbury Park, Gloucester. Jot down these dates 13th - 16th March because you really don't want to miss out.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase takes place on the 14th March.

3:30 Cheltenham -

This two mile Grade 1 Chase is run on the old course featuring twelve jumps. It has a history which puts it on a par with the best racing in the world. This National Hunt steeplechase is open to horses ages five years and older.

Inaugurated in 1959, Quita Que, a ten-year-old horse, ridden by Bunny Cox, showed the way.

One of the most outstanding horses to have won this race on no less that three occasions is Badsworth Boy taking victory in consecutive years from 1983 – 1985.

Recent winners that may bring fond memories include:

2014 Sire de Grugy
2015 Dodging Bullets
2016 Sprinter Sacre
2017 Special Tiara

At the time of writing, 21 horses are entered to run. However, if we are looking at the betting we may be forgiven to thinking this is a one-horse race.

Altior is an exceptional talent for trainer Nicky Henderson. This eight-year-old bay gelding has race 15 times and defeated twice. This Irish-bred son of High Chaparral has started favourite 13 times and achieved total prize earnings of almost £400,000. It's no wonder this wonder horse is priced 8/11f. After winning at odds of 1/3f when winning ''comfortably'' at Newbury in February, bookmakers are willing to push their luck too far with this May foal. With Henderson primed to have a superb meeting, this gelding will be one for the big players. For those looking to get in on the action for 2018 Cheltenham betting odds and offers there is value in every race. In truth, Altior looks a great bet at 8/11 and if the bookmakers push this out on the day it would be a steal - anything near 1/1 is a bet.

One trainer who may try to spoil the party is Willie Mullins. Readers will be quick to note that he has no record in this race at all. Looking at the previous winners his name is missing. Could this be his year?

The bookmakers' prices illustrate a couple of live contenders.

Min has been backed to odds of 3/1. This seven-year-old gelding, a son of Walk In The Park, has started favourite since joining Mullins, racing in the familiar silks of Mrs S Ricci. He won well on his latest victory at Leopardstown.

Mrs Ricci fields another horse which leads little introduction – Douvan. This eight-year-old bay gelding has raced 16 times and proven victorious 14. Losses bookend his career with being runner-up on debut and a truly disappointing display last time out last year at Cheltenham in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. That day, the 2/9f led but found to be lame finishing 7th. It will be interesting to see how this once untouchable gelding fares this year.

Other fancies as far as the betting considers include:

Fox Norton, trained by Colin Tizzard. This eight-year-old gelding pulled up on his last start and priced 12/1 with leading bookmakers.

Great Field, another charge from Willie Mullins. A winner on his last four starts, hasn't been seen for the best part of a year. Betting odds of 12/1 suggest he is the third string racing in the famous silks of J P McManus.

The betting: Altior 8/11, Min 100/30, Douvan 5/1, Politologue 10/1, Fox Norton 12/1, Un Des Sceaux 12/1, Great Field 14/1, Special Tiara 16/1, York Hill 16/1, Top Notch 20/1, 25/1 Bar.