With this year’s Cheltenham Festival a matter of weeks away, we’re going to consider whether Sprinter Sacre can return to Cheltenham and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The best odds for Sptinter Sacre to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham are currently 11/4 with William Hill.
Queen Mother Champion Chase Preview
So, where is the debate for this race? This time last year this race was the banker of the festival in many people eyes, with the superb Sprinter Sacre beating all before him on his way to the festival, that was until he suffered an injury at Kempton over the Christmas period. This then turned the race into a one sided contest into a wide open race where the fast improving Sire De Grugy took the spoils. So, can Sprinter Sacre do what horse racing fans around the country want and complete a comeback to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase? Here are my thoughts.
Is he the same Sprinter Sacre of old?
In my opinion – no. However, that is based purely on his last run where he ran creditably in defeat to Dodging Bullets. Whilst I was aware he was not asked an awful lot of during the run in towards the end, I didn’t think he was as fluent around the obstacles as he once was. That could possibly be down to a little bit of rust, however, I (along with a lot of people) still expected him to beat the horses in that race comfortably. There were positives in this run however, in that he did bring the crowd to their feet with a few huge leaps reminding people of what they had missed over the year of his absence. He also looked very good turning in for home, before running on one paced and running out of gas. Now for me, that is a worry, because that is something he could never be accused of, he has always been a bowl along runner, who has the turn of foot to breeze past up the run in and certainly never could be accused of a poor run. Again, that could be down to rust, but it is difficult to tell at this moment.
Who is Sprinter Sacre up against?
He has beaten many ‘good’ horses across his years of chasing, but this year I think could be the stiffest opposition he has faced in a long time. For example, Sire De Grugy although not impressive on his comeback, still has the ability (as does Sprinter Sacre) to make an impressive comeback at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. Then there is his conqueror last time out in DODGING BULLETS. In my opinion this horse received no credit whatsoever for his performance at Ascot. This is a horse who has been cutting his teeth at different distances for a long time, but he now seems very settled at this trip. At Ascot his jumping was assured which gave his jockey Noel Fehily the confidence to ride him in the manner which he did, front running and confidently. Now myself, like many, thought Sprinter Sacre was all ready to breeze by and take the race at Ascot, that was until Dodging Bullets stuck his head alongside and battled back. A lot of horses would have been defeated there but he wasn’t and stayed on to win comfortably by 3 lengths. Then there could be an Irish representative in Champagne Fever if they decide to choose that route. That is an interesting one as he is a quality operator who was originally aimed at the Gold Cup before he was well beaten in a trial earlier in the year. The shorter distance is definitely better for him, but will they take him there?
Is it a genuine comeback?
I am of the belief that once a horse suffers from respiratory problems, it is very rare that they are the same performer after they have has treatment. Now this is not always the case, but it is very rare they come back to the same level of performance. So, if this is the case, is he capable of beating the horses mentioned above? It is very tough to call. A worrying sign for me also was after his comeback run that he was found to have bled from the nose during the race which does effect performance and indicated a lot of bleeding from the lungs. IF that was what caused his performance dip at Ascot, then that run could be excused, however if it was to reoccur then I would be very worried.
Queen Mother Champion Chase betting tip:
Overall, as I said earlier, I would love nothing more for Sprinter Sacre to turn up to Cheltenham’s 2015 Queen Mother Champion Chase at his fluent, outstanding best and prove all the doubters (myself included) wrong. However, I am always inclined to look at pros and cons and I have found more questions than answers this time around. My personal Cheltenham tip for the Champion Chase is Dodging Bullets. Hopefully Sprinter Sacre runs a good race and gets home safe and sound, and whatever the result, we can reflect on what a fantastic horse he has been.
Dodging Bullets to win the Champion Chase: best odds 9/2 at William Hill.
Open a new William Hill account and bet £10 on Dodging Bullets to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham. If he wins you’ll win £55 and win or lose get 2 free £10 bets to use on any other Cheltenham Festival bets.
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