Queen Mother Champion Chase Odds and Betting Preview

The highlight from Wednesday’s card at the Cheltenham Festival is the Queen Mother Champion Chase and with Sprinter Sacre having been withdrawn, the field is a little more open. It’s sad to think that we won’t be able to see one of the greatest ever jumpers but in Sprinter Sacre’s absence, we have a new favourite.

Clarence House Chase 2014 – Sire De Grugy

Sire de Grugy leads the field by some distance and currently, the six year old is quoted at 9/4 with Winner Sports and Bet365. This is the in form horse and with wins this season in the Tingle Creek, Desert Orchid Chase and Clarence House Chase, it’s hard to see where the real challenge is going to come from.

That theory is backed up by the fact that second favourite Captain Conan is several points back at 5/1 with Coral. With Sprinter Sacre out of the running, this is Nicky Henderson’s main hope with the trainer aiming for a hat trick of wins in this event. Sire de Grugy beat this horse into second place at Sandown in December but it’s claimed that Henderson has worked hard on Captain Conan’s stamina in the hope of avoiding another defeat.

If the second favourite fails to compete, Henderson has another hope in the shape of Kid Cassidy who did beat Sire de Grugy when the two met at Cheltenham in November. Having already overcome the red hot favourite, you just can’t overlook this horse at an excellent 10/1 with Winner Sports.

Willie Mullins enters the fray with Arvika Ligeonierre who is out at 6/1 with Bet365 and William Hill. This is a horse bang in form right now having secured the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown in February. Mullins trained runners are going to be a threat right across the four days of the festival and the outsider can’t be ignored.

Further down the field there is a very interesting proposition in Sizing Europe who is way out at odds of 14/1 with most horse racing bookies including Bet365 and Paddy Power. This horse first burst on to the scene with a win in the Arkle Trophy in 2010 before claiming Cheltenham’s Champion Chase crown 12 months later.

Sizing Europe – 2010 Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Three years on and age is one of the factors behind a drift in Sizing Europe’s price but clearly Henry de Bromhead’s runner has the capability to finish among the places at least. In fact, the six time Grade One winner has only finished outside the top three on one previous occasion over the jumps – although that did come at Leopardstown last month.

As always, it’s worth taking the trends into account and while these are here to be broken, they give us some interesting pointers ahead of the big event.

Stats show that in the previous ten years, all ten Champion Chase winners have enjoyed at least one victory in that season. Ten out of ten had run no more than four times in that season while once again, ten out of ten were aged under ten years.

Interestingly, seven out of ten winners were priced no higher than 5/1 and if that particular trend were to continue, it would rule out most of the field.

Sire de Grugy may be the favourite by some clear margin but clearly there are some challengers, some of whom have already beaten this horse. However, with three wins already this season in an overall record that shows eight victories from 11 outings, it seems as if the 9/4 shot only has to stay on its feet to bring home the big prize.

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