Champion Chase Trends

Cheltenham

Champion Chase Trends 2022

The second feature race of the festival and the first chance for the chasers to decide who’s the best in the division is the Champion Chase.

Shishkin looks to be the new king of the two mile division landing the Grade One Clarence House Chase last time out and the Irish contingent look to have it all to do.

Below we’ll look into who in the field the stats and trends over previous years favour for a tilt at the championship.

Stat One

The first place to start is with the average age of the last 14 winners, 12 of those 14 were aged between seven and 10 years old.

This breaks into; three seven year olds, two eight year olds, five nine year olds and two 10 year olds.

Three horses in the last 14 years have won this race twice, two of which have been trained by Nicky Henderson.

Chacun Pour Soi, First Flow and Sceau Royal are all teetering on the edge being 10 years old but the stats rule out Politologue regaining his title at the age of 11.

Stat Two

Next to start narrowing the field comes the class barrier, 14 of the last 15 winners have been rated 157 or more.

Nine of those 15 have been rated 167 of more.

It takes a different class of horse to win these championship races, but last year off 156 Put The Kettle On shocked many.

Special Tiara’s win in 2017 is another for Henry De Bromhead that was out of the bracket with a rating off 159 aswell.

Keep the official ratings in mind when drawing up shortlists.

Stat Three

With the race being of such high quality too many runs in a season could be detrimental to a horses chances come the Spring.

14 of the last 15 winners had four or fewer runs that season.

13 of the 15 had three or fewer runs that season, it’s about being primed for the big day.

Too many exertions through a long season could mean the horse has peaked earlier in the campaign and won’t arrive to Cheltenham at their best.

Many of the horses going to post have been seen only twice this season with horses like Envoi Allen, Funambule Sivola and Greaneteen all vulnerable running four times already this term.

Stat Four

Coming into the big day on form is prominent throughout previous winners with 11 of the last 15 winners placing in their Cheltenham prep run.

Nine of the last 14 winners won their prep race. Look for those in form, flopping last time out and not hitting the frame doesn’t look ideal for a tilt at the championship.

This hurts the chances of runners like Nube Negra and last year's winner Put The Kettle On, however she did win this race last year going against this stat.

Stat Five

To further narrow down those with the desired class, all of the previous 15 winners were a Grade One winner, being proven at this level is a must.

Horses like Editeur De Gite, Funambule Sivola and Hitman although clearly talented, have yet to win a Grade One and may struggle in this field.

It’s a clear separation in what makes a winner. Look out for those all important Grade One wins before sticking your pin in one.

Stat Six

Further adding to the amount of runs a horse needs leading into the race, being unexposed over fences looks to be a solid trend worth following.

12 of the last 15 winners had 13 or fewer career chase starts and 11 of those had 12 or fewer career chases.

Being over exposed to the chasing game looks to be a negative, but this stat was overturned in 2020 when Politologue beat the younger horses.

Stat Seven

Previous festival form isn’t a negative here, with 13 of the last 145winners having a previous run at the Cheltenham festival.

Proven course form sits well with Champion chase winners, but don’t discount those coming from both the Aintree and Punchestown festivals too.

Six of the previous 15 winners had ran a the previous season’s Aintree festival.

Five of the previous 15 winners had run at the previous season’s Punchestown festival.

Look for those who’re going for the big targets at marquee meetings and ideally running well.

Stat Eight

To further back up the course form previously mentioned, 9 of the last 14 winners had previously won at Cheltenham.

The favourite Shishkin heads into the race winning the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Arkle in consecutive years at the track, where as the Willie Mullins pair Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi have never won at Cheltenham, with the former not running at the track.

Having course form brings the benefit of knowing that your pick won’t get sick at the sight of the stiff fences and undulations.

Keep those onside who’ve notched a win at the track.

Potentially be wary of those who’re untested at the course.

Prior Races and Trainers To Watch

Key races to keep in mind are the Tingle Creek and the Clarence House Chase. 10 of the last 15 winners had ran in either of those races in the current season.

Politologue in 2020 landed the Tingle Creek in the December, whilst Shishkin this year took the Clarence House Chase at Ascot ahead of this race.

Trainers to watch here are Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls. Between the two they have trained nine of the last 15 winners.

They look to be sending Shishkin, Politologue, Greaneteen and Hitman.

Value Angle

Shishkin still looks to be the value in the field at 4/5 with him expected to much shorter come the off and looking through the stats, his Cheltenham form and winning mentality puts him in good stead.

At 25/1 last year's winner Put The Kettle on does need to bounce back to form but could be a huge price having won four out of her five races at the track.

Interesting race.

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