Cheltenham: Grab the Champagne in the Champion Chase on day two

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Much of the storyline preceding the Queen Mother Champion Chase at this year’s Festival will surround Sprinter Sacre, and whether we will ever see the same horse of two years ago again.

Punters seem to think a return to Prestbury Park could bring out the best in Nicky Henderson’s star, with ‘The Black Aeroplane’ backed into 5/2 favouritism.

Nevertheless doubts remain as to whether his second to Dodging Bullets on his return at Ascot was a result of lack of match practice, or simply a decline in ability.

Whichever way you look at the 2013 champion, with Ladbrokes latest offer, there is no better time to take him on.

The bookmakers will be refunding all losers as free bets, if Sprinter Sacre is anyway near his best and finishes in the first two of the 2m championship race.*

Here at Ladbrokes News we love spotting one to beat the favourite, and while the defending champion Sire De Grugy and this season’s form horse Dodging Bullets are respected, we’re giving the nod to one of the few Willie Mullins horses that isn’t in the top three of the betting for his respective race.

Having won a Champion Bumper, a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and touched off narrowly in the Arkle last year, CHAMPAGNE FEVER loves a trip to Gloucestershire at Festival time.

Thought of as a potential Gold Cup type at the start of the season, the gallant grey has perhaps not stayed as well as hoped, despite a nice win first time out at Clonmel.

A respectable fourth in the King George is not to be sniped at, but it was a signal that he is not (yet) cut out for the top staying chasers.

He was going with Ryanair Chase favourite, Don Cossack all the way when coming down at the final fence in the Kinloch Brae, but bounced back in nice style to head into the Festival with a ‘1’ next to his name at Gowran Park last time out.

The ground will be perfect, and with a very favourable record at the minimum distance at Prestbury Park, he looks an each-way bet to nothing, if not a solid win only selection.

It’s a championship race, so it will be hard going, but he certainly has a whole lot going in his favour.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.