Queen Mother Champion Chase Tips – Day 2 – Cheltenham 2015
Throughout the history of the Cheltenham Festival there have been some memorable battles and pulsating finishes, and it’s quite possible another could take place in Wednesday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase (2.40).
Let The Battle Commence!
The main players set to do battle for the two-mile crown features a mouth-watering line-up consisting three of the last four Champion Chase winners in Sire De Grugy (3/1), Sprinter Sacre (5/2) and Sizing Europe, plus two young pretenders to the crown in Dodging Bullets (11/2) and Champagne Fever (6/1).
Sprinter To Regain Crown?
It’s a line-up that will have punters guessing right to the off as to who might triumph – maybe Sprinter Sacre will retain his crown, having been the subject of glowing home reports from trainer, Nicky Henderson. Having finished only second to Dodging Bullets at Ascot in January on his first outing for over a year, he has reportedly come on bundles for that, and aims to become the first horse to regain the title since Moscow Flyer 10 years ago.
The aforementioned, Dodging Bullets, was only fourth in last year’s Arkle Chase, but has improved massively since – more so in his last two outings where he scooped a couple of Grade 1’s. The second of those was when defeating Sprinter Sacre 3l, and while it’s easy to believe that rival needed to blow away the cobwebs, he still won fair and square and has certainly earned his quote of 11/2 to become the new champion.
De Grugy To Defend Crown?
As for the reigning champ, Sire De Grugy, then like Sprinter Sacre, he has hardly had a clear run of health leading up to his defence, unseating on his belated return at Newbury last month, before getting up to win a handicap off top weight a fortnight later.
That victory at Chepstow not only demonstrated that he was right back to his best, but in the process delivered a massive confidence booster to the 9yo ahead of Cheltenham.
Champagne For Mullins
You can’t keep Willie Mullins out of many races at Cheltenham, and he throws his hat into the ring with the 8yo, Champagne Fever (6/1), who has a sparkling record at this festival. Having won the Champion Bumper and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, he only lost his record at the track 12 months ago when beaten just a head in the Arkle.
Inconsistent since that runner-up effort, Champagne Fever, has still won two races since, including a 4l Grade 2 win last month, suggesting he is once more hitting his best at this time of year.
But, could there be a relative shock via the 9/1 shot, Mr Mole?
Paul Nicholls’ Dodging Bullets may be the one all eyes are on, but Mr Mole is an improving 7yo going places, as was confirmed when winning a Grade 2 at Newbury last month (2m1f, soft). A change of tactics to front-running has made all the difference to Mr Mole, though he’ll need to more foot perfect than when falling at last year’s festival.
Sizing Europe Back Again
Of the bigger prices who could make the frame, then the 13yo, Sizing Europe, was fourth in last year’s renewal, and may have one last hurrah in him. At 33/1, he wouldn’t be the most unrealistic of chances to be placed. But then again, in front of Sizing Europe when a 6l runner-up to Sire De Grugy last year was Somersby, who is also 33/1. Can one of the old guard make the frame again?
There have been numerous back-to-back winners of this race down the years, and Sire De Grugy showed enough last time to suggest he is right back to his best just in time to defend the crown at juicy odds.