Don Poli Holding All The Aces For Champion Novice Chase
Champion Novice Chase
Although still in its embryonic stages following just eight renewals of the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase over 3m1f (6.40), there have already been some interesting patterns to develop.
Of the 8 Novice Chase winners…
8 won during their last three outings
8 won two chases or more
7 ran in a Graded race last time
W Mullins won it twice
Stick With Winning Form
As can be seen from the above trends, those having won during their last three outings were the ones to stick with, which could count against the likes of Valseur Lido (11/2). However, that statistic won’t count against Don Poli (2/5), who arrives having won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last month (3m, good).
Don Poli A Class Act
Willie Mullins’ 6yo made it 3-3 over chases that day when winning by 6l, where Wounded Warrior (12/1), was a further 2l away in third. Runner-up in a Grade 1 hurdle at this meeting 12 months ago, Don Poli handles any ground and comes here without any chinks in his armour.
As for the record of RSA winners in this race, then only Willie Mullins’, Cooldine, in 2009 attempted the double here when managing fourth, but Don Poli looks a cut above that horse and his connections will be expecting victory.
Another key trend reveals that all bar one Champion Chase victor arrived at Punchestown having raced in a Grade 1 contest last time, which bodes well for Noel Meade’s, Apache Srtronghold (5/1).
Apache To Bounce Back?
This 7yo may have fallen on that occasion at Fairyhouse, but that was the fourth time he had visited that track without winning. Better judged when only 1/2l behind Vautor in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown in February (2m5f, yielding), while at the same venue prior to that, he was only 3l behind Don Poli over Christmas (3m, soft). A winner here at Punchestown over hurdles, Apache Stronghold is a worthy second favourite.
Let’s not forget, however, that Don Poli’s stablemate, Valseur Lido, beat Apache Stronghold 8l at Fairyhouse in November (2m4, soft), and while not at his best earlier this month, he does have the services of Ruby Walsh on Tuesday.
Not many of the Brits seem to fancy their chances in taking on the domestic runners, though Rebecca Curtis has Irish Cavalier (33/1) entered. While it would be a lot to expect this 6yo to win, he did land a Listed handicap at Cheltenham last month prior to falling at Aintree, and is going the right way.
Once again, it comes down to that man Willie Mullins, who looks to be holding all the aces with his improving novice, Don Poli. Foot perfect at Cheltenham last month, it’s hard to see anything troubling him if putting in the same kind of performance. If he does, then next year’s odds of 5/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup could soon vanish.
*Prices correct at time of publication.