All the hype surrounding the Queen Mother Champion Chase will feature the last two winners of the race who meet over Cheltenham Festival fences for the first time.
Sprinter Sacre missed the chance to defend his Champion Chase crown in 2014, though the National Hunt star still fronts the ante post betting ahead of Sire De Grugy whose title Nicky Henderson’s horse will look to wrestle back.
However, this race is far from a cut-and-dry contest with fitness concerns hanging over both frontrunners and a cluster of horses with ample claims on the royalty-endorsed highlight.
Vote in our poll below and for a limited time only on Monday March 9 we’ll be enhancing the price of the public’s chosen runner!
For those yet to nail their colours to the mast, we’ve sampled some of the leading contenders:
Sprinter Sacre: Despite rewarding Festival backers in style over successive years, the former Arkle winner has to answer more than his fair share of questions back at Prestbury Park.
Henderson’s charge missed the whole of the 2014 season and came off second best in a duel with Dodging Bullets at Ascot in January on reappearance.
Sire De Grugy: Another horse whose campaign has been blighted by injury though many punters will have been encouraged by a win at Chepstow last time when giving plenty of weight to the field.
If back to full fitness, another mightily impressive push up the hill could be this powerful horse’s ticket to joining the company of Master Minded and Moscow Flyer as multiple Champions Chase winners.
Dodging Bullets: A high-class performer who proved his Tingle Creek win in December was no fluke by bettering Sprinter Sacre to the tune of 3l at Ascot a month or so later.
Such results in Grade 1 company have to give Paul Nicholls’ yard great confidence he can eclipse the main contenders.
Champagne Fever: A return to the shorter 2m trip should suit Willie Mullins’ chaser who went close to Arkle glory last year and showed plenty of staying power to bounce back from a disappointing King George VI to win well over 2m4 at Gowran Park when the going was heavy.
If you’d like to see a horse boosted that’s not on this list then leave the name of your fancy in the comments section below.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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