Queen Mother Champion Chase Tips - 3.30pm Cheltenham

Leading Contenders

On day two of the Festival all eyes will be on the feature race where we bring you Queen Mother Champion Chase tips. It brings together the quickest jumpers around and is often run at top speed from start to finish.

Ante-post favourite Altior is hard to oppose here and is unbeaten in twelve races over hurdles and fences. In his first season he made it 5 from 5 over the smaller obstacles when landing the Supreme Novices Hurdle from the Willie Mullins trained Min. He won by 7 lengths that day and was immediately put away to get ready for his chasing career.

He went on to win his first four chases on the bridle and then won the Arkle Chase by six lengths from Cloudy Dream. Unfortunately he suffered a minor injury and had to have a wind operation which has put him on the sidelines for most of the season. He made his comeback in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury and couldnt have been more impressive. On that form he looks well on his way to securing another big title and will be a very short price favourite to do so.

Last years winner Special Tiara will be one of those responsible for the pace, the 11yo has no other way of running and if he jumps as well as he can do he will be still battling at the head of the race turning for home.

Twelve months ago the race fell apart when hot favourite Douvan failed to spark, it left the race wide open and many people though the winner was a touch fortunate. At the end of the day he was the horse that took full advantage and fought off the challenge of Fox Norton to win by a head.

This season hasn’t gone according to plan so far and last time out uncharacteristically fell when still going ok in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton. He often goes well in the spring so his supporters will not be too worried about his form just yet.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has won this race five times in the past but has found it difficult replace his Grade 1 stars like Master Minded who won this race a few years back. As a result he wasn’t really expected to challenge for the big championship races this season but has done well with his 7yo Politologue.

Owned by the Hales family, of Neptune Collonges and One Man fame, he has won six of his nine starts over fences and has improved this season to earn a mark of 165, that certainly is on a par with some recent winners and earned his biggest pay check when beating Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.

He has since won at Kempton in lesser company but has proved beyond doubt that he is an out and out two-miler and deserves his chance in the line up despite a heavy defeat in the hands of Altior last time.

The Irish have won this race six times since 2003 but the name of Willie Mullins is not as yet on the roll of honour. The leading handler at the Festival on no less than five times has had no luck in the race and his last two runners Un De Sceaux and Douvan were odds on favourites but still couldn’t get the job done.

This time round Mullins has another strong hand, at one time the most likely number one was Min who had most of last year off but has returned with a victory at Gowran Park in November and then was second to Simply Ned at Leopardstown after being demoted by the stewards.

That last run was a bit of a disappointment as he should have won easily in that company but could be still improving as he has only had 9 career starts and learning all of the time.

Last years beaten favourite Douvan has not been seen since and it was thought he would miss this years Festival too, recent reports suggest he is back to full health and will after all take his chance. Its a big ask to come straight back into a race of this nature but if anyone can do it then a horse like Douvan can. He won the Arkle in 2016 and has won nine of his ten starts over fences.

Mullins also has Great Field who is owned by J.P.McManus, the famous green and gold hoops have never lifted the Champion Chase despite many attempts in the past. This young horse has come on leaps and bounds this season and deserves a crack at the big time.

Last time out he won his first Grade 1 race when taking the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown by 11 lengths and looked very impressive. He is a confirmed front runner and takes the odds chance with his fences, if he gets into a rhythm he could be very hard to peg back.

Of the others we have Fox Norton and Un De Sceaux, both have finished second in this race before and on their best form could easily grab a place once again. The likelihood is that both will contest the Ryanair if as expected Altior is declared fit to run here.



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Champion Chase Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer SP
2017 Special Tiara 10 Noel Fehily Henry De Bromhead 11/1
2016 Sprinter Sacre 10 Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson 5/1
2015 Dodging Bullets 7 Sam Twiston-Davies Paul Nicholls 4/1
2014 Sire de Grugy 8 Jamie Moore Gary Moore 11/4
2013 Sprinter Sacre 7 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 1/4
2012 Finian's Rainbow 9 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 4/1
2011 Sizing Europe 9 Andrew Lynch Henry de Bromhead 10/1
2010 Big Zeb 9 Barry Geraghty Colm Murphy 10/1
2009 Master Minded 6 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls 4/11
2008 Master Minded 5 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls 3/1


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