- 1:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle
- 2:10 Arkle Chase
- 2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase
- 3:30 Champion Hurdle
- 4:10 Mares Hurdle
- 4:50 Northern Trust Novices Chase
- 5:30 National Hunt Chase Cup
- 1:30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle
- 2:10 RSA Chase
- 2:50 Coral Cup
- 3:30 Champion Chase
- 4:10 Cross Country Chase
- 4:50 Boodles Handicap Hurdle
- 5:30 Champion Bumper
- 1:30 Marsh Novices Chase
- 2:10 Pertemps Final Hurdle
- 2:50 Ryanair Chase
- 3:30 Stayers Hurdle
- 4:10 Brown Advisory Plate
- 4:50 Dawn Run Mares Hurdle
- 5:30 Kim Muir Chase Cup
Champion Chase Tips - 3:30pm Cheltenham
2020 Queen Mother Champion Chase Preview
The highlight on day two of the Cheltenham Festival is the Queen Mother Champion Chase and all eyes will be focussed on Altior who has won this race for the past two seasons.
Now a 10 year-old Altior has not had his usual smooth build up to this year’s contest and in fact suffered his first ever defeat over obstacles when losing out to Cyrname at Ascot in November.
The plan was to see if he stayed beyond two miles with the hope of having a stab at the King George on Boxing Day. Well those plans went out the window after finishing a very tired horse that day and it was quickly decided to go back to the tried and tested and aim for a third victory in this race.
A couple of years ago he won the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on his way to Cheltenham and that is the plan this time round and if all goes well will line up at the Festival.
Whilst Altior has been having his problems one horse in particular has shot to the forefront of the Champion Chase picture. Last year’s JLT Chase winner Defi Du Seuil has rattled up a three-timer since switching back to the minimum trip.
The 7yo kicked off by winning the Grade 2 Shloer Chase over this C/D. He then stepped up a gear when landing the Tingle Creek in a thrilling battle with Un De Sceaux. That race at Sandown has produced many Champion Chase winners down the years and I think that was the point that trainer Philip Hobbs started to think of the horse as a proper two-miler.
Defi Du Seuil confirmed the form with Un De Sceaux next time out when taking the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and although all those connected with the horse were keeping their options open it was pretty obvious they had to go for the Champion Chase over the alternative which was going over the longer distance and the Ryanair Chase.
This race is the one that is missing from the Willie Mullins CV and he has a couple of possibilities this time round and the main hope must be with the lightly raced 8yo Chacun Pour Soi.
Former French horse, he won on his Irish debut last March at Naas where he bolted up by 31 lengths, he then went straight to the Punchestown Festival and beat Defi Du Seuil in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. He was mighty impressive considering it was only his third career start over fences.
He reappeared over Christmas at Leopardstown and was slightly disappointing when losing out to A Plus Tard by 3 ¾ lengths. The winner is a decent horse but I think they fancied Chacun Pour Soi to win so it was a shade disappointing at the time.
He bounced back in no uncertain terms at the Dublin Festival where he beat stablemate Min comfortably, he lines up here with a big chance.
Min has finished behind Altior in three different Cheltenham Festivals, twice in this race and once in the Supreme a few years ago. He still has the ability to go close at this level and proved his worth when taking the Irish Champion Chase last April at Punchestown. This season he showed his well-being by winning the John Durkan Chase race over a longer trip beating Hardline by 2 ¼ lengths. There is a case for him going down the Ryanair route and his overall record over 2m4f is very good.
Another Mullins horse with potential is Cilaos Emery, he was a decent hurdler and won a Grade 1 contest from Melon a couple of years ago but they always thought he would make a better chaser in time.
He won on his chase debut at Gowran Park last January in good style and then was not seen for nearly 300 days. He came back by winning a Grade 3 race at Naas by 9 lengths and then stepped up in class to beat Ballyoisin at Cork by an easy 7 lengths.
I thinks it’s fair to say we haven’t really got the bottom of this horse as yet and he fell last time out at Leopardstown, he could still be a lively outsider for those looking for a bit of value.
Of the others at bigger prices we have the likes of Sceau Royal who ran a cracker at a big price in this race last year. He actually led at the last before being outpointed by both Altior and Politologue. He wants really good ground to show his best and trainer Alan King will have him spot on for this.
Paul Nicholls has won this race five times and did well with Politologue last year to finish second, he just lacks that bit of class and looks sure to find one or two too good this time round. His other contender is Cyrname who has the option of the Ryanair to consider.
Cyrname was one of the most improved horses last year and in fact was the highest rated chaser in Europe on a mark of 177. His defeat of Altior at Ascot in November put him in line for a tilt at the King George over three miles for the first time but things didn’t work out that day and was beaten by his stablemate Clan Des Obeaux.
He will now step back in trip and has the option of this race or the Ryanair, you have to remember the last time he won over fences at two miles was when he was a novice chaser. His best performances have also been the other way round so could end up going straight to Aintree instead.Punters Lounge Tip: Chacun Pour Soi 3/1 at Betfair - Click Here To Bet