Champion Chase tips – who will win the standout race at this year’s Cheltenham Festival?

Altior (centre) battles back bravely to win the 2019 Champion Chase.Altior (centre) battles back bravely to win the 2019 Champion Chase.

Champion Chase Tips

Daryl Carter (@DarylCarter7) gives the latest of his Cheltenham tips here as he runs the rule over the Day 2 highlight, the Champion Chase.

The Champion Chase will crown the best two-mile chaser in Britain and Ireland and is the feature race of the second day at the Cheltenham Festival. I’ve taken a look at the top of the market but favourites have won only four of the past ten runnings, and two of those were heavily odds on in Altior and Sprinter Sacre. The average SP of the Champion Chase winner in this time is 6/1.

Champion Chase Tips – Hard to oppose course specialist

It has taken me a while to warm to the Phillip Hobbs runner DEFI DU SEUIL after trying to take him on last season with Lostintranslation at every opportunity but it’s very hard to do so considering recent events. The Champion Chase favourite has won both key trials on his way to the Cheltenham Festival and cemented his dominance over the division with an emphatic victory in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.

The two time Cheltenham Festival winner has an outstanding record overall at the course with six victories from eight visits and considering one of those losses can be forgiven (chase debut on seasonal return) he looks rock solid. Tactically versatile, a winner on a variety of ground conditions adds to his claims as well as the return to his favoured Cheltenham makes him the one to beat on this season’s evidence.

Champion Chase Tips – A legend who still holds big chance

An outstanding ten-time Grade 1 winner and unbeaten in 19 starts prior to the season, ALTIOR still holds leading claims to land a third consecutive Champion Chase. His only defeat since 2015 came at the hands of Cyrname at Ascot when attempting a new trip of 2m5f for the first time on his seasonal return. He wasn’t disgraced chasing home the highest rated horse in training in that rivals optimum conditions and that run ultimately left an effect on him. He returned recently in the 2m Game Spirit Chase at Newbury and won with a striking turn of foot.

You could easily argue that this will be his toughest assignment for some time and the race this term has more depth than previous year but you write this legend off at your peril. A leading contender for me.

Champion Chase Tips – Improvement needed from French star

Willie Mullins’ CHACUN POUR SOI has only been seen four times in Ireland but has quickly reached a high level over fences and is a rapidly improving horse. Taking the scalp of Defi Du Seuil at Punchestown in May last year threw him to the head of the early ante-post market but his defeat to A Plus Tard on reappearance saw punters take a cautious step back.

He bounced back at the Dublin Racing Festival with an excellent victory over Min but the race did somewhat fall apart with the front two (Ornua and Min) tearing away at a blistering speed and despite some untidy jumping from the latter he managed to get within 3l of the winner who had pole position throughout the race. Interesting contender but will need to improve again.

Champion Chase Tips – Interesting contender has a shout

CILAOS EMERY fell on his most recent outing behind stable mate Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown but was previously progressing nicely over fences and could have played a big part in last season’s Arkle if he was kept fit. Not one to give up on and could yet have a say come March.

Champion Chase Tips – Big race verdict

This is one of the races of the Cheltenham Festival and that hasn’t been the case in the past couple of years. That would give you a slight concern for ALTIOR considering his poor media pressured preparation which has been infuriating for the worlds biggest fan right here.

Head doesn’t always prevail over heart and although Defi Du Seuil (head choice) has given supporters plenty to celebrate this season, I have to side with the magnificent beast that is for one last time. He is the one I want on my side when the three market leaders come to the last together and he is the one I will be cheering home.