Grade One William Hill Champion Chase Guide

Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
3
Paul Townend

Chacun Pour Soi

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 12-0
OR: 172
Days: 41

Chacun Pour Soi is in pursuit of his fifth career grade one success and heads the market here for the straight hat-trick seeking Willie Mullins.

He comes to Punchestown on the back of a third placed finish in the Queen Mother’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham by which he was an 8/13 favourite for the contest but weakened when climbing that famous final hill, despite seemingly travelling strongly throughout the race. 

The return to Punchestown on the flatter track and under quicker conditions looks sure to suit and he holds a one from one record at the venue having won his first ever grade one in the Ryanair Novice Chase back in 2019, also making him the only course and distance winner in the field.

He’s been consistently excellent since joining the Mullins yard with six wins from eight runs across varying conditions and was better than ever on his penultimate run at Leopardstown when giving an eight length beating to Fakir D’Oudaires in the Grade One Dublin Chase, who has since complimented that win with a Grade one success in the Melling Chase at Aintree. 

It would be no surprise to see him go in again here, equipped once more with usual jock and current leading Irish National Hunt jumps rider Paul Townend.

However, having said this, he won’t have it easy, as he faces off against market rivals with claims just as compelling as his own.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-122
16/03/22CHL16Sft11-10UR
06/02/22LEO17Y11-121
04/12/21SAN15.5GS11-75
27/04/21PUN16Y12-01
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
1
Rachael Blackmore

Allaho

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 12-0
OR: 174
Days: 40

Allaho was arguably the most impressive winner of the entire 2021 Cheltenham festival when landing the Grade One Ryanair Chase, making all from the front in eye catching fashion.

The build up of pace set by Rachel Blackmore on board that day had each and every rival slowly crumbling away and the manner by which he took each and every jump made it a coming of age performance.

Allaho now has a new proposition in the form of a drop back in trip to the two mile distance and Mullins has been quoted saying that the distance is well worth a go thanks to the speed and efficiency in his jumping technique.

Allaho had a winning margin of 12 lengths against Fakir D’Oudaires last time out, giving reason to believe Chacun Pour Soi has four lengths to find on Allaho based on those exploits, although it must be noted that both head to heads were cast over differing trips.

It’s no surprise to see winning jockey Rachel Blackmore re-employed for the ride who’s own riding style clearly pays compliment to the horse in the way she goes through the gears, increasing the tempo and forcing each rival into submission! 

A drop down to two miles does pose some concerns due to the speed possessed by some of todays rivals. He won’t get a lead as easy as his Cheltenham success and competitors will be keen to track him closely from the off.

He’s also not managed a Punchestown win in his two attempts at the venue finishing second and sixth, although the latter was on unsuited heavy ground. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-101
17/03/22CHL20.5Sft11-101
23/01/22THU20.5Gd/Y11-121
05/12/21PUN20.5Y/Sft11-121
27/04/21PUN16Y12-02
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
7
Harry Skelton

Nube Negra

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 12-0
OR: 165
Days: 41

Nube Negra travelled very impressively throughout before stumbling over the last and finding himself short of room on the run in to the line in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Once switched right, he really showed that electric turn of foot and bared down on the leaders however the line came too soon and he settled for just a half length loss to race winner Put The Kettle On, although he did beat third place market leader, Chacun Pour Soi by a length. 

In his penultimate run, Nube Negra had ran out a 3 1/2 length winner at Kempton in a Grade Two beating fans favourite Altior, again deploying similar tactics to his following run, using his speedy nature to full effect on the run for home.

The flat track and quick conditions look sure to suit and it’s interesting that trainer Dan Skelton opted to send his runner here rather than to the Bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown won by Greaneteen who most would expect Nube Negra to have had the beating of.

Mostly due to the fact that Greaneteen was 1 1/2 lengths behind Nube Negra and held back in fourth at the Cheltenham festival meeting.

Recently crowned UK jumps jockey champion Harry Skelton, once again teams up on board, eager to make up for the Queen Mother run.

This is also just Nube Negra's third run of the season making him relatively fresher than his market rivals who will be having their fifth big run of the season respectively.

At just seven-years-old he’s continuously improving and rates big value here at taking on the top two. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/04/22SAN15.5Gd11-73
04/12/21SAN15.5GS11-74
14/11/21CHL16Gd11-61
27/04/21PUN16Y12-03
17/03/21CHL16GS11-102
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
6
David Bass

First Flow

J:
 
David Bass
T:
 
Kim Bailey
Age: 9
Weight: 12-0
OR: 164
Days: 41

The Kim Bailey and David Bass partnership has gone from strength to strength this season  and they make the trip across the Irish Sea seeking their second grade one success for competitor First Flow. 

The impressive gelding had won six races in a row prior to his less impressive most recent run at the Cheltenham festival and he boasts a very solid formline via the seven length beating of 2020 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner, Politilogue.

Nevertheless, all of his wins came on testing ground and the quicker conditions ran over at Cheltenham looked to find him out. He finished sixth that day, five lengths off podium finisher Chacun Pour Soi and six behind runner up Nube Negra.

Despite this, trainer Kim Bailey still sees it feasible to run him at the Punchestown festival even with the prospect of again facing quicker conditions, which could be seen as a sign that the poor run was just a blip.

He has plenty to find on the aforementioned pair he reopposes today based on that most recent run, however, he poses a very interesting contender should he take to the conditions on this occasion. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
22/01/22ASC17Sft11-73
05/12/21HUN20Gd11-81
27/04/21PUN16Y12-06
17/03/21CHL16GS11-106
23/01/21ASC17Sft11-71
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
4
Brian Hayes

Cilaos Emery

J:
 
Brian Hayes
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 12-0
OR: 163
Days: 41

Cilaos Emery clearly has levels of ability with a number of Grade 3 and Grade 2 success’ to his name and has never run a bad race at Punchestown boasting form figures of 121, albeit with all runs coming outside of the chasing sphere. 

He does however look to be out of his depth in this contest and was well held back in eighth last month in the Queen Mothers Champion Chase.

Based on this, he has a lot to find on those above him in the market. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/04/22FAI20Y11-52
12/03/22NAV16Sft11-86
05/02/22LEO24.5Y11-10UR
31/12/21PUN19Hy11-64
25/11/21THU22Gd11-91
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
2
B J Cooper

Castlegrace Paddy

J:
 
B J Cooper
T:
 
P A Fahy
Age: 10
Weight: 12-0
OR: 155
Days: 22

Castlegrace Paddy has been highly tried this season and has a very strong formline to his name in the form of a 1/2 length beating of Gold Cup runner up, A Plus Tard, over the two mile trip in November.

Of course, A Plus Tard has now been found to be a long distance stayer, but that run warrants respect all the same. 

The 10 year old has most recently finished runner up in his last three runs, all in Grade Two affairs, Two of which have been over middle distances.

He drops back down now to the minimum trip and is upped to a Grade One contest.

The pace on display looks to be too much for him to handle and he will need to pull out all the stops to be involved here. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/07/22KLN14Gd11-121
18/04/22FAI20Y11-83
12/03/22NAV16Sft11-104
09/01/22FAI17Sft11-93
02/10/21GOW20Gd11-10PU
Punchestown - April 26 2021
Punchestown 16:25
5

Daly Tiger

J:
 
T:
 
Noel Meade
Age: 8
Weight: 12-0
OR: 157
Days: 45


Daly Tiger ran home a five length winner in a Grade A race at Fairyhouse in January but has since been well held by another of today’s rivals Cilaos Emery, who beat Daly Tiger by 11 lengths next time out at Naas in a Grade Three.

He then finished 31 lengths off the pace in a Grade Two on his most recent run at Navan, finishing last of five behind Grand National third, Any Second Now.

He certainly has a lot to find if wanting to land any sort of blow in this race and his form falls short of what is expected from a competitor in this level of race. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/07/22GAL22.5Gd11-115
17/04/22COR24Hy11-0F
16/03/22CHL21Sft11-012
19/02/22GOW20Hy11-34
15/01/22FAI16Sft11-74

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