2021 Champion Chase tips – Runner-by-runner preview of the day two Festival feature
2021 Champion Chase tips and runner-by-runner guide
The feature race of day two of the Cheltenham Festival, the Queen Mother Champion Chase dominates the racecard on Wednesday at the ‘greatest show on turf’; we’ve looked over the final field of runners for the fantastic spectacle and pick out our best Champion Chase tips.
Featuring as the fourth race of the afternoon on the second day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, the Grade One Queen Mother Champion Chase headlines the day two racecard and goes to post at 3.05pm.
Top Irish trainer Willie Mullins has never won this race but holds solid claims of ending his hoodoo with favourite and many peoples’ banker of the meeting in Chacun Pour Soi.
The Irish raider won’t get everything his own way though despite the late defection of Altior with defending champion Politologue in opposition alongside last season’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On and rising star Nube Negra amongst his rivals for the top prize.
The day two spectacle will feature on ITV Racing and spearhead the Wednesday coverage, and we’ve looked over the final declared field of runners for the highlight and give our Champion Chase tips as we take a runner-by-runner look at the race.
2021 CHAMPION CHASE TIPS – RUNNER-BY-RUNNER GUIDE TO THE DAY TWO FEATURE
CHACUN POUR SOI
Top class performer whose only defeat over fences has come at the feet of Cheltenham Gold Cup hope A Plus Tard last season; Willie Mullins’ star is 5-6 otherwise over the larger obstacles including winning all three outings this campaign.
The Policy Maker gelding has hardly put a foot wrong in romping to an aggregate 34 lengths’ winning margin in his three runs to date which includes victories over Notebook in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase and latterly the Dublin Chase for a second year in succession where he demolished Fakir D’oudairies by eight lengths.
Soft ground holds no fears for him while he’s won on better ground so will have no issues with underfoot conditions and if handling this altogether different track test then he should be very hard to beat.
Very smart chaser at his best but can sometimes be let down by his jumping. However frailties in that department didn’t stop him winning his first three starts over fences prior to falling behind Chacun Pour Soi in last season’s Dublin Chase.
Willie Mullins returned the Califet gelding to hurdles in the wake of that spill where he was an impressive winner of a Grade Three contest prior to having a crack at the Champion Hurdle and he ran well to finish fourth in that race behind Epatante.
Beaten by Bachasson on his return to the larger obstacles in the Clonmel Oil Chase he made light work of three rivals when last seen winning a Grade Three at Naas and he’s no forlorn hope here if his jumping holds up although he has a bit to find in order to topple his stablemate.
Winner of his last six starts over fences and showing hugely progressive form to develop into a high-class performer culminating in a win in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot where he beat Politologue by seven lengths.
He was stepping out of handicap company on that occasion but took the step up in class in his stride, dominating from halfway and keeping on strongly for a ready success although it can be argued that the principals perhaps didn’t show their best on the deep ground.
Kim Bailey’s charge is well suited by plenty of give underfoot so the potentially drying conditions aren’t altogether ideal for the Primary gelding and this will demand significantly more from him taking in a stronger race than last time.
However he has to be respected given the form he’s been in this season and no surprise to see him give a good account.
Showed progressive form last term over fences, winning his first three starts prior to finishing a creditable fourth at this meeting in the Grand Annual Chase.
Paul Nicholls’ charge returned to action with an impressive win in the Haldon Gold Cup in November before running well in defeat behind stablemate Politologue in the Tingle Creek Chase and latterly crossed the line in third behind Sceau Royal in the Game Spirit Chase.
He reportedly raced too keenly in that Newbury contest and he could be better suited by the likely stronger pace of this contest although he does have a bit to find at the book if he’s to trouble Chacun Pour Soi.
Perhaps place claims is the best he can hope for although he could run well at a big price under Bryony Frost without being quite good enough to win and others look stronger.
Developed into a top-class novice chaser last term winning four on the bounce which included a pair of Grade Ones at Leopardstown and Henry De Bromhead’s charge was sent off favourite for the Arkle Chase.
Not for the first time here he was disappointing and could only finish sixth to Put The Kettle On; but he made his seasonal return with victory over Fakir D’oudairies in the Poplar Square Chase at Naas although he’s since been twice firmly put in his place behind Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown and the Samum gelding will need more if he’s to overturn his form with that rival.
He hasn’t looked entirely at ease on this track in two visits, also failing to fire in the 2019 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle but the bold-jumping front runner can give a good account if putting it altogether although he has a fair bit of improvement to find if he’s to get the better of Mullins’ star this time around.
Smart over hurdles and showed himself a very promising chaser in the making last term with two wins from four starts, readily beating Encore Champs at Fakenham before coming up short behind Esprit Du Large in that season’s Henry VIII Chase.
Subsequently beaten by Rouge Vif in the Kingmaker Chase he was put away for the season but made an impressive return to action in the Desert Orchid Chase over Christmas where he had Altior beaten by almost four lengths and Dan Skelton’s charge is dangerous to discount with further improvement anticipated.
He largely jumped and travelled well in that Kempton contest and clearly goes well fresh so it’s no surprise his in-form yard have kept him under wraps since that reappearance and the drying ground will certainly be in his favour.
However he’s been beaten on all three previous runs at this venue albeit over hurdles and he’ll likely need a bit more to feature here. That certainly isn’t beyond the realms of possibility though with his yard in top form but given what he’s done so far over fences his price looks too short.
High-class chaser who benefitted from a more aggressive ride to win this race twelve months ago, dominating from the front and jumping well to see off Dynamite Dollars although it can certainly be argued that race fell apart.
Both Altior and Chacun Pour Soi were withdrawn at the eleventh hour leaving Defi Du Seuil a red-hot favourite; that one turned in a dismal effort however and Paul Nicholls’ charge picked up the pieces to win for the first time since beating Charbel in the 2018 Christy 1965 Chase. Inbetween wins he’d been brushed aside by Altior, Min and Defi Du Seuil and while he’s clearly smart it is debatable whether he’d have won last year if Chacun Pour Soi and Altior had lined up.
Of course he could only beat those who were opposition and he looked as good as ever when beating Greaneteen to win the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown although the heavy ground at Ascot latest was likely a contributory factor to his defeat behind First Flow in the Clarence House Chase.
The Poliglote gelding is likely to give a good account of himself as he bids to defend his crown but he’ll need to be at his very best to do so in a stronger renewal than the race he won twelve months ago.
Smart hurdler who has looked very useful over fences, winning twice last term which included a defeat of Nube Negra in the Kingmaker Chase at Warwick before running a very good third in the Arkle Chase twelve months ago.
Harry Whittington’s star was impressive on his reappearance, blitzing rivals in a competitive handicap over course and distance before returning to Graded company where he’s been beaten by both Politologue and Nube Negra.
The ground on both occasions probably didn’t help and he’s shown his best form on better ground so any drying out of the underfoot conditions will help although he will need to considerably raise his game if he’s to feature here and this may well prove too much of a task for him.
Has mixed hurdling with chasing to very good effect and the Doctor Dino gelding arrives in good form having beaten the returning Champ to win the Game Spirit Chase recently where he was bouncing back from an earlier fall behind Nube Negra at Kempton.
Alan King’s charge has contested the last two renewals of this race, finishing third to Altior in 2019 but disappointing twelve months ago and he’s since been rejuvenated by wind surgery ahead of this campaign which has yielded two wins over hurdles and placed efforts in both the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and International Hurdle before his return to chasing.
He’ll surely appreciate the drying ground and ought to give a good account although he’s likely to find a couple too good again at this level.
PUT THE KETTLE ON
The sole mare in the race and a top-class chaser who won last season’s Arkle Chase as part of a very successful campaign that saw Henry de Bromhead’s charge win five times over fences and once over hurdles.
The Stowaway mare beat Fakir D’oudairies in the Arkle twelve months ago and made a winning reappearance back at Cheltenham in November when readily beating three rivals in the Shloer Chase although her task was made easier by Defi Du Seuil turning in another shocking performance.
Subsequently far from disgraced when finishing eight lengths’ third to Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown over Christmas she’s been kept fresh for this race and gets a handy 7lbs from the rest of the field so she’s dangerous to overlook given her record here while past Arkle winners tend to do very well in this race so certainly worth considering as an each-way play.
2021 CHAMPION CHASE – BIG-RACE VERDICT
CHACUN POUR SOI has already beaten a few of these rivals in Ireland and Willie Mullins’ charge looks hard to oppose in his quest to give the Closutton maestro a first win in the contest.
A late defector from the race twelve months ago the Policy Maker gelding can make amends this time around and already 3-3 for the campaign with victories over Notebook and Put The Kettle On from his earlier romps he could prove a class apart from these rivals if turning up in the sort of form that saw him demolish rivals in the Dublin Chase last time out.
The race rather fell apart for Politologue’s win twelve months ago and he was readily beaten last time by First Flow who can continue his progression to give a very good account. Kim Bailey’s charge can make the frame along with last season’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On who receives weight all round and is 3-3 at the track although there’ll be plenty of competition for the lead so a strong pace is expected which might play to the strengths of Willie Mullins’ star.