2021 Champion Chase Guide

Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
1
Paul Townend

Chacun Pour Soi

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 173
Days: -41

The eight year old has only had seven starts for the handler since joining from France back in December 2016 but has shown plenty of ability on all of his runs just losing his unbeaten record last season.

Having not raced since March 2016 he went to Naas for his first run in nearly exactly three years in a Beginners Chase and showed a perfect temperament to take the spoils by 31 lengths.

He was then sent to the Punchestown festival with many punters still unaware of the ability of this horse and he gave one of the stand out performances of the meeting, beating the Arkle Novices Chase winner Duc Des Genievres and JLT Novices Chase victor Defi Du Seuil to land the Grade One Ryanair Novices Chase.

He made his seasonal debut last season over Christmas at Leopardstown in this Grade One Chase against some superb horses and although looking like he had the race wrapped up he found nothing when coming off the bridle and was pipped close home.

He came on a huge amount for that run and got back to winning ways in the Grade One Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival, beating stablemate Min.

The gelding made his seasonal return at Cork at the start of December and although not impressive he still landed the Grade Two Hilly Way Chase in workman like fashion.

He then backed that up at Leopardstown Christmas meeting by landing the Grade One Paddy's Club Chase, that he was beat by A Plus Tard in last year.

He came on massively for that run to emphatically take back to back renewals of the Grade One Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival and that is the best performance heading into the race.

One to beat.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-122
16/03/22CHL16Sft11-10UR
06/02/22LEO17Y11-121
04/12/21SAN15.5GS11-75
27/04/21PUN16Y12-01
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
6
Harry Skelton

Nube Negra

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 165
Days: -41

The Dan Skelton trained gelding has been waited patiently on over the last few seasons, finishing second in the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices' Chase, before backing that up another smart placed run in the Kingmaker Novices' Chase.

Having been off the track for 10 months he returned in the Grade Two Desert Orchid and he looked a vastly improved horse to beat Altior and land the event.

He will be sure to be fresh and fit for the event at Cheltenham having not been seen since that run at Kempton.

The Skelton's have been very bullish about this horse all season and looks the most likely challenger to the favourite and the drying ground will massively suit.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/04/22SAN15.5Gd11-73
04/12/21SAN15.5GS11-74
14/11/21CHL16Gd11-61
27/04/21PUN16Y12-03
17/03/21CHL16GS11-102
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
7
Harry Cobden

Politologue

J:
 
Harry Cobden
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 168
Days: -23

It was thought that the nine year old would never be able to get back to his best Grade One winning form last year having raced twice before the festival, finishing second of four on debut in the Shloer Chase and then fifth of eight in the Tingle Creek, where again he finished behind Defi Du Seuil.

However, his win in the Champion Chase saw him back to his best and although the big hitters like Altior and Chacun Pour Soi were pulled out of the event which took the shine off the race, the grey was still the best horse on the day and under a superb ride from the front jumped the field into submission

His handler Paul Nicholls believed that his win in that race was not a fluke and with another great preparation he showed just how good he is when landing the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase for the second time in his career, on his seasonal debut.

Off the back of that win, he went seeking another Grade One success in the Clarence House and he was seen off by the Kim Bailey trained First Flow with ease.

He was beaten by the better horse that day and it looks as though he is back to looking for a place in this event.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/03/22CHL16Sft11-104
14/11/21CHL16Gd11-62
09/04/21AIN20GS11-74
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-72
05/12/20SAN15.5Sft11-71
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
10
Aidan Coleman

Put The Kettle On

J:
 
Aidan Coleman
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 7
Weight: 11-3
OR: 156
Days: -38

The seven year old for Henry De Bromhead has been an improving project over the last few years with the mare winning seven of her last nine events since May 2019.

Last season the daughter of Stowaway was nothing short of superb running four times and winning three of those events including back to back wins at Prestbury Park.

Having scored at Wexford in September she then went into a Grade Three event at Tipperary and was a narrow second in a race she really should have won.

However, she improved massively for that experience when stepping up to the Grade Two Arkle Trial at Cheltenham and seeing off three smart runners to land the event.

The mare was waited on patiently again and was not seen until March when sent into the Grade One Arkle at the festival and at a double figure price became the first mare to win the event for 40 years.

Having her first run since the festival she returned for her seasonal debut in the Grade Two Shloer Chase over the same course and distance and again put in a gritty performance to land the contest, seeing off Defi Du Seuil, Duc Des Genievres and Riders Onthe Storm.

She was then seen last time out over Christmas at Leopardstown finishing a fair third behind the favourite Chacun Pour Soi in a Grade One and it looks hard for her to reverse that form.

The mare is unbeaten at Cheltenham and that is a big factor that could see her go close.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/03/22CHL16Sft11-35
01/01/22FAI21.5Y11-95
14/11/21CHL16Gd10-133
24/04/21SAN15.5Gd11-04
17/03/21CHL16GS11-31
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
3
David Bass

First Flow

J:
 
David Bass
T:
 
Kim Bailey
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 166
Days: -41

Leading trainer Kim Bailey has had a superb season to date and he is looking to land back to back Grade Ones with First Flow, with the chaser being highly consistent.

The nine year old deserves his chance at the highest level having now won his last six events over fences with the gelding at the back end of last term going on to land a hat-trick of wins at Leicester, Doncaster and Carlisle and backing that up this term at Ascot and Wetherby last time out.

His first run this season came at Ascot over two miles and he was a gritty winner of a decent handicap chase, coming from nearly last to see off Amoola Gold for Dan Skelton.

Put into another handicap next time out at Wetherby in treacherous conditions, he just did enough in the final stages to keep his unbeaten record going.

He headed into the Clarence Chase last time out, with Bailey giving him his first ever chance in a Grade One and he deserved it after landing six straight events.

The gelding went into the race with a live place chance, but under a brave and superb ride by David Bass he went from the front and was not for catching, taking the event by seven lengths.

The more rain the better for this horse and from how progressive he has been all season warrants him some respect.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
22/01/22ASC17Sft11-73
05/12/21HUN20Gd11-81
27/04/21PUN16Y12-06
17/03/21CHL16GS11-106
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-71
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
9
Daryl Jacob

Sceau Royal

J:
 
Daryl Jacob
T:
 
Alan King
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 163
Days: -38

The eight year old has been tried over both hurdles and fences during his career and although winning races like the Shloer Chase and Henry VIII Novices' Chase over the bigger obstacles, last term showed that he may need to step back to hurdles.

This has now seen his handler move him back to the smaller obstacles this term and it looked to be the right move off the back of his seasonal debut when taking the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

He used that run to the go on and land the the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton next time out and then ran another cracker in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle finishing second to Champion Hurdle winner Epatante when stepping up to Grade One company.

Having been frequently run already this season, King still entered him for the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December and he ran another superb race to finish a closely bunched fourth.

With the versatile horse predominantly running this season over hurdles, King gave him his chance over fences over Christmas in the Desert Orchid Chase.

Unfortunately it was a disaster with him falling early on in the race, but he bounced back from that last time out when seeing off Champ in the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

He is a highly consistent horse that has placed in this race and won round Cheltenham before and he will give his running.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/22AIN20GS11-73
12/02/22NBY16.5GS11-62
11/12/21CHL17GS11-66
27/11/21NCS16GS11-73
06/11/21WCN15Gd11-61
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
8
Gavin Sheehan

Rouge Vif

J:
 
Gavin Sheehan
T:
 
Harry Whittington
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 163

Rouge Vif looks to be a solid contender in the two mile chase division this season having made his seasonal debut at Cheltenham in October and bolted in off top weight in a decent handicap event.

Since then Whittington took his time planning his next event, with soft conditions scuppering him going to the Grade Two Shloer Chase and they settled on the Tingle Creek at Sandown.

Looking to take on Politologue, he was no match for him and Greaneteen finishing third behind the pair of them with the wet ground again going against him.

He was last seen at Christmas at Kempton in the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase where he was totally outclassed by Altior and Nube Negra back in fourth, with the ground again an excuse.

This horse has shown how good he can be in the past, finishing third in the Arkle last season and getting his desired good ground makes him one to follow at a value price.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/04/22SAN15.5Gd11-74
15/01/22KEM20.5Sft11-03
14/11/21CHL16Gd11-04
17/03/21CHL16GS11-109
27/12/20KEM16Sft11-34
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
4
Bryony Frost

Greaneteen

J:
 
Bryony Frost
T:
 
Paul Nicholls
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 161
Days: -38

Having been a smart horse over hurdles, last term the gelding showed he was even better over fences when landing three of his five events and also finishing a good fourth in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham festival.

He seems to be a much different horse this term, maturing massively during summer and now looks like a very smart chaser in the making.

He proved how much he has improved on his seasonal debut at Exeter when grinding out the Grade Two Haldon Gold Cup from Moonlighter who has gone on to win since.

Nicholls then decided to step him up to Grade One company in the Tingle Creek Chase and he ran a cracker behind stablemate Politologue to finish runner up in the event.

He is the outsider of this field purely off the back of his run last time out in the Game Spirit Chase when a weak third of six runners.

Nicholls believes that run will put him spot on for this event and can't be ruled out of a place.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
06/02/22LEO17Y11-125
27/12/21KEM16Sft11-62
04/12/21SAN15.5GS11-71
02/11/21EXE17.5GS11-104
24/04/21SAN15.5Gd11-71
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
2
B J Cooper

Cilaos Emery

J:
 
B J Cooper
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 165
Days: -54

Set for the Champion Chase last season having been going over fences for the whole of last year, Mullins reverted him back to hurdles and it looked a stroke of genius with him winning his first start over flights for the first time since 2017.

He finished fifth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle back in the day and last year managed a good fourth in the Champion Hurdle behind Epatante, showing he does not lack pace.

This season all roads have firmly lead for this race and he made his seasonal debut in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase over 2m4f and was narrowly beaten by his stablemate Bachasson, who has since franked the form in emphatic style.

Cilaos Emery got back to winning ways last time out in a Grade Three at Naas which is a perfect prep run for this event and he could run a big race into a place.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/04/22FAI20Y11-52
12/03/22NAV16Sft11-86
05/02/22LEO24.5Y11-10UR
31/12/21PUN19Hy11-64
25/11/21THU22Gd11-91
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
5
Rachael Blackmore

Notebook

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 162
Days: -23

Notebook goes in this event for Henry De Bromhead and this eight year old is a superb talent over two miles, that could run a bigger race than his odds suggest.

Having been a fair hurdler, he was stepped up over fences for the first time in October last year and the six year old headed to Punchestown and saw off a nice Gigginstown horse that went on to frank the form.

The gelding off the back of that stepped into a Grade Two and again blew the field away in great style and next on the agenda was the Christmas festival at Leopardstown.

He went into the Grade One Novice Chase and in a field with Laurina and Fakir D'oudairies he rose to the challenge to again win by a comfortable margin.

Keeping his run of wins going he stepped into his toughest contest at the Dublin Racing Festival in the Grade One Arkle Novice Chase where him and Cashback went toe to toe and he managed to get up on the line.

His whole novice season was built towards the Arkle at the festival and having been unbeaten on all four of his starts prior to the run, not much went right for him on the day and having got light up before the race he could only finish a weak sixth.

This season he returned at Naas in the Grade Two Poplar Square Chase and got straight back to winning ways, reversing the form with Fakir D'Oudairies by beating him by 12 lengths.

Although a very talented prospect he looks no match for Chacun Pour Soi after being beaten easily by him next time out over Christmas.

He was third behind the favourite again last time out at the Dublin Racing Festival and he will need to improve for that run to get involved.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/04/22AIN21GS11-10UR
12/03/22NAV16Sft11-103
23/01/22THU20.5Gd/Y11-103
05/12/21COR16.5Sft11-125
07/11/21NAV16Gd11-121

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