In the absence of defending champion Sprinter Sacre, Tingle Creek winner Sire De Grugy is the well-fancied ante-post favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase on the second day of Cheltenham.
Will this season’s leading jumps horse earn his trainer Gary Moore yet more lute by breezing to victory or will the likes of a Captain Conan or Willie Mullins’ big hope Arvika Ligeonniere find Sire De Grugy wanting?
To help you decide which horse to be placing your hard-earned pennies on, we’ve picked out the patterns to look out for in this prestigious race.
Here’s what you need to know:
. Nine of the past 13 winners of the Champion Chase have won the Tingle Creek in the same season. Look no further than favourite Sire De Grugy there.
. Before you lump the mortgage on Moore’s stable star, though, it may be worth considering the amount of work he’s got through this season. The last time such an overworked horse won on his sixth start of the campaign was Viking Flagship in 1995. Of the market leaders Captain Conan and Hinterland arrive freshest.
. This is not the race for a shock result as proven by 31 of the last 32 winners been sent off at an SP no bigger than 11/1. This would appear to damage any claims outside of Sire Du Grugy, Captain Conan, Arvika Ligeonniere, Bailey Green, Hinterland and Kid Cassidy.
. With 17 of the 54 renewals going the way of the market leader, at a strike rate of very nearly one-in-three, an SP of no greater than 5/1 is optimum. This would make it a three-horse race between Sire Du Grugy, Captain Conan and Arvika Ligeonniere.
. All of the last 11 winners have had runs in the same calendar year as the Champion Chase. This is great news for Sire Du Grugy and Arvika Ligeonniere, but grave news for Captain Conan, Bailey Green, Hinterland and Kid Cassidy’s claims.
. Five of the last seven winners were French bred (Master Minded x2). This finally gives last year’s runner-up Sizing Europe something to shout about, but it’s hard to look beyond Sire Du Grugy and Arvika Ligeonniere yet again.
. Three of the last four renewals have gone the way of nine-year-olds. Ruby Walsh’s ride Arvika Ligeonniere is that precise age.
Our pick: Sire Du Grugy @ 9/4
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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