Queen Mother Champion Chase betting tips and predictions for Wednesday’s Cheltenham Festival feature race.
It didn’t come as any great surprise when the news broke about Sprinter Sacre not taking his chance to defend his crown this year, but what has come as a surprise are the horses we are left with at the five day stage.
The obvious assumption at the time was that we’d see the Ryanair cut up terribly with many of its leading runners heading for what looks an easier Champion Chase, but that didn’t really happen. Cue Card of course would have had a favourites chance if supplemented, but is now ruled out for the season.
Sire De Grugy is a worthy favourite of the race at 9/4 (Betfred) having won the Tingle Creek and Clarence House as well as the grade two at Kempton at Christmas time. However, the fact it has been soundly beaten and off the bridle a long way from home in both visits to Prestbury Park in races nowhere near as hot as what he experiences on Wednesday, I am forced to look elsewhere for my Champion Chase betting tip.
The next few in the betting are a cluster of horses that I just can’t have on my mind, with the exception of Benefficient (7/1 William Hill), who will take his chance in the Ryanair if the money on the exchanges is to be trusted. Captain Conan and Arvika Ligeonniere both looked to have massive chances in-running in their respective novice chases here last year, particularly the former who emptied out badly up the hill, albeit over a half mile longer trip. What happened to the Willie Mullins trained horse in the Arkle is just a mystery – it jumped right for a lot of the contest, but still seemed to have plenty in the tank when the pace quickened, then just faded out of the race and pulled up. For those reasons, I could not bring myself to even contemplate these two horses winning the 2014 Champion Chase.
I have reservations about Kid Cassidy and Hinterland as well and think that if they weren’t trained by Henderson and Nicholls, you’d probably be looking at double the 11/1 and 12/1 which is currently on offer and it’d have to be a pretty dire Queen Mother if either of these two were in the final reckoning. The same can be said for the last four in the betting: Module, Special Tiara, Somersby and Wishfull Thinking, who while at their best can be very good horses, they’d probably always go down as not quite a proper grade one horse in my book.
Baily Green at 8/1 (William Hill) is an interesting contender. He was the only one to have a pop at Simonsig in last year’s Arkle and Simonsig would have been odds-on for this race had it been fit, so that is an excellent form line. It finished ahead of Last Instalment (3rd fav for Gold Cup) two runs back and has had his spin over hurdles to blow away any cobwebs so will be in with chances come race day. It was the horse it lost to at Gowran Park in October which is the one that jumps off the page to me in what looks a very weak renewal. You might have heard of this horse as well – Sizing Europe (14/1 Betfred)?
Twice a winner at the Festival over course and distance and unlucky second in last two renewals – last fence omitted in 2012 handed the advantage to Finians Rainbow and went down by just over a length, then ran in to an absolute monster in Sprinter Sacre last year – so different types of poor fortune! A 12 year-old has never won this race and there was retirement talk this season, but if you can get past all the stat chat, then you will see that only the highest rated horse in training was better than it at the top level last season and back at the course he loves best and on the ground that he is best suited to, I’d definitely want him on side each-way at 14/1 in what, as I said, is a very weak Queen Mother Champion Chase.
2014 Champion Chase Each-Way Betting Tip
Sizing Europe each-way – click here to bet at 14/1 with Betfred.
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