2022 Queen Mother Champion Chase Preview
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature race on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival and our expert has produced his analysis of the contest with includes a big race verdict. Check this out below, and if backing a runner in the race why not do so with Betway, who have an exclusive offer in place that provides money back as a free bet if your selection finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th.
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3:30pm, Wednesday March 16)
1. Chacun Pour Soi (Willie Mullins, Patrick Mullins) 6/1
Has proven a fine sort for connections landing six Grade 1s, bouncing back from an underwhelming run in the Tingle Creek when taking the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown last month, his third successive victory in that event. Beaten at prohibitive odds in this last year, however, in what looked a weak renewal at the time, and his subsequent Sandown disappointment opens him up for questions about his ability to travel over to Britain.
2. Energumene (Willie Mullins, Paul Townend) 7/2
Classy front-runner who was twice a Grade 1 winning novice chaser last season. Brought his winning sequence to seven with victory in the Hilly Way at Cork on first start this campaign, and that was only narrowly brought to an end when headed in the shadows of the post by Shishkin in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last time. Very slight drop in trip should suit on that evidence whilst his jumping will be an asset on the front end, so a bold show looks likely.
3. Envoi Allen (Henry De Bromhead, Rachael Blackmore) 25/1
Almost inconceivable to think that he’d be 25/1 for a Queen Mother Champion Chase when lining up as the 4/9F for the Marsh Novices’ Chase here at the Festival 12 months ago but that goes some small way to showing just how far his stock has fallen. Winner of two of his three starts this season but those victories came at odds of 4/11F and 2/5F and even though the most recent was at Grade 1 level it was a desperately weak contest. Freshened up since then and wind surgery applied but only a watching brief can be advised for now.
4. Funambule Sivola (Venetia Williams, Charlie Deutsch) 33/1
Started last season rated just 112 but improved enough to end the campaign rated 156, giving Shishkin backers a scare in the Grade 1 Maghull at Aintree last April. Has carried his form into this campaign, building on a Doncaster handicap success when taking the Grade 2 Game Spirit at Newbury last time. Not the biggest but jumps well and may not have stopped his rate of progression just yet, for all that he has more than a stone to find if the market leaders run to form.
5. Nube Negra (Dan Skelton, Harry Skelton) 14/1
Claimed the scalp of Altior in the Desert Orchid last season and went on to finish a somewhat unlucky second in this race. Maintained a solid record fresh when taking the Shloer Chase on reappearance in November but that form has received knocks since including from Nube Negra himself who disappointed in the Tingle Creek subsequently. Freshened up again since which on the balance of his form looks a good move but this looks a good deal stronger than last year’s race.
6. Politologue (Paul Nicholls, Harry Cobden) 80/1
Admirable sort who had his day in the sun when landing this race in 2020, scoring by 9l from stablemate Dynamite Dollars. Has been limited to just the four starts since, however, finishing 6l off Nube Negra in the Shloer Chase last time. Has another absence to overcome here and he’s now 11, which suggests he’s fighting a losing battle.
7. Shishkin (Nicky Henderson, Nico de Boinville) 10/11
Exceptional sort who took the Arkle Novices’ Chase at the 2021 Festival, building on his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle victory from the season prior. Winner of both starts this season, building on a Desert Orchid romp when landing a vintage renewal of the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last time, running down Energumene late in the day. Arguably not much to split the pair on that showing but this track is expected to favour Shishkin and his yard has started the week in great form.
8. Put The Kettle On (Henry De Bromhead, Aidan Coleman) 28/1
Smart mare who brought her record at Cheltenham to a perfect 4-4 when taking this race last year, battling gamely to score from both Nube Negra and Chacun Pour Soi. Has unfortunately failed to match that level of form in three subsequent outings, losing her unbeaten Cheltenham record in the Shloer and then failing to beat a rival home back against her own sex at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day. Tends to come alive at this time of year and cheekpieces now go on but very difficult to promote on her recent showings.
Big Race Verdict
A cracking renewal of the Queen Mother in prospect here. Energumene and SHISHKIN are closely matched on their Clarence House form but the latter has the Festival experience to his advantage having landed both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Novices’ Chase at the last two Festivals. This track can bring his proven stamina into proceedings earlier than at Ascot, where he still managed to get the win and maintain an unbeaten chase record. Energumene once again looks a danger as does stablemate Chacun Pour Soi, albeit in the case of the latter he is yet to prove that the travel over to Britain knocks some of the gloss off of him.