Champion Chase 2022 Tips (Cheltenham Day 2 3.30pm)

One of the most exhilarating races of the Cheltenham Festival is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, where 2-mile chasers going full flight over the fences is a sight not to be missed.

This has been amixed race for short price favs with the likes of Altior, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded all winning at odds on but we have also seen the likes of Chacun Pour Soi, Douvan and Defi De Seuil recently all beaten at very short odds. This year looks to be a cracker.

 

Champion Chase Trends for 2022

  • Age – 9 of the last 12 winners were aged between 8 and 10
  • Price – 4 of the last 12 winners were favourite, 9/12 winners were in the top 3 in the betting
  • Last Run – 7/12 winners won on their previous run before the Queen Mother Champion Chase, 9/12 winners ran within the last 53 days
  • 6/12 winners ran in the Clarence House Chase (Ascot) on their last run, 4 of the 6 won, 1 placed
  • Previous Course Form – 12/12 winners had at least 1 previous run at Cheltenham, 7/12 winners had a previous win at Cheltenham
  • Previous Distance Form – 12 of the last 12 winners had at least 8 previous runs over 15-17 furlongs, 10/12 winners had at least 6 wins over 15-17 furlongs
  • Previous Chase Form – 12/12 winners had at least 7 previous chase runs, 12/12 winners had at least 5 previous chase wins
  • Rating – 9/12 winners were rated 164 or higher
  • Grade 1 Wins – 12/12 winners had at least 1 grade 1 win
  • Grade 2 Wins – 12/12 winners had at least 1 grade 2 win
  • Season Form – 11/12 winners had at least 2 runs that season, 10/12 winners had at least 1 win that season

 

Champion Chase 2022 – Main Contenders

  • Shishkin
  • Energumene
  • Chacun Pour Soi
  • Nube Negra
  • Envoi Allen
  • Put The Kettle On
  • Greaneteen

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Shiskin

Shishkin is ome people’s banker of the festival and a perfect 7/7 over fences. The only time he has tasted defeat in his racing career was on his hurdling debut at Newbury when he fell at the second hurdle. He won the 2020 Supreme Novices Hurdle when really, he shouldn’t have. He made a whopping mistake and was pushed right back in the field but somehow Nico got him back into contention and just as he was making his effort, he was hampered at the second last, overcame that and literally led with about 100yds to spare. It was that day, he proved how special and really how hardy he was.

He was then put away till the next season where he went chasing and was sent off 1/6, 1/3 and 1/7 in his first three starts but winning by wide margins in all of those races. In the Arkle,  the leaders went off like a rocket, way too fast and Shishkin sat just behind and although the leaders tamely faded away, Shishkin just breezed past them and never looked like losing beating Eldorado Allen by 12 lengths. Watch a replay of the 2021 Arkle below.

This season had a bit of a controversial start to it, he was entered at the Tingle Creek but then was taken out at the 48-hour stage, people were questioning Nicky’s decision and we were wondering when we were going to see him. He came out over Christmas in the Desert Orchid Chase, wasn’t 100% and still blew away the field, the way Nico asked him 3 out and the response was instant, soon led, then pulled clear of the rest and was eased towards the finish, beating the Tingle Creek Winner Greaneteen by 10L.

Next up was the long-awaited match up with Energumene, a race for the ages, a potential one for the history books and it didn’t disappoint. Energuemene, as expected, bowled out in front at some speed with Nico not far behind, they were going that quick down the hill that Nico and Paul said to each other they think are going too quick down the hill. Shishkin pecked on landing at the 6th and again that was more of the speed they were going rather than a mistake. He was ridden before 2 out at about 2 lengths down but Nico commented after the race he went from feeling like he was going to lose to the race to being that confident going over the last he was going to pick the leader up.

What was interesting was that the race at Ascot is slightly longer than the race at Cheltenham and if you stopped over the Champion Chase Distance, Energumene would have won. He has been likened to Altior as he seems to hit a bit of a flat spot through his races and that is the one worry in a 2022 Champion Chase. If the leaders get too far in front and he hits a flat spot that combined with the potential traffic problems, he may just have too much to do.

 

Energumene

Bought out of a Point to Point in England, we didn’t really see much of him in his first season. and he was beaten in a Bumper on his debut for Willie. He was sent over hurdles immediately afterwards in the same season but only raced over them twice. Energumene has always looked a chaser and he lived up to the hype the following season where he won 4/4 in his novice season and was on course to meet Shishkin at Cheltenham in the Arkle but missed it due to injury.

We then saw him at Punchestown beating Janadil by 16 lengths. Although he had done it all very impressively that season, looking back you could definitely pick holes in his form. This year he won the Hilly Way in December never really coming off the bridle, that day Notebook, who had the benefit of a run, tried to go with him and just fell in a hole to finish last.

That really set up the battle with Shishkin, that day he had the run of the race, the track, the conditions in his favour and he still lost. It’s very hard to see how he will turn the form around with Shishkin. He was subject to a big market move on Betfair the other and rumours of him being out were quickly squashed, however, it did come to light he had a stone bruising. Which meant he had to have his shoes off and have an easy week. Really far from ideal preparation for such a big race

 

Chacun Pour Soi

A horse who obviously had his problems in his early career, but Willie, the master he is, seems to have sorted him out. Chacun is pretty much unbeatable in Ireland but for some reason the twice he has come over the Irish Sea, he just doesn’t seem to perform albeit excuses can be made for those runs.

He went in to last years Champion Chase as a good thing as the 8/13 favourite but disappointed. He travelled with his usual zest and looked to go on to win his race 3 out but just didn’t pick up, even drifting to his left, hampering his rivals and didn’t seem to find much up the hill, he even weakened at the finish. Paul did say he wasn’t happy with the ride and if they had made more use of him, he feels things would have been different.

But after that questions have been raised about him travelling over and the Cheltenham hill.  The next race at Leopardstown he was back to his best, beating the impressive Ryanair winner by 5 1/2l and never looked in trouble. He was then brought over to Sandown on his seasonal reappearance and something was definitely up at an early stage. He wasn’t fluent over his jumps and when Patrick asked him for a few big jumps, he didn’t oblige and ended up being eased in the run.

It came to light after that a small niggle was picked up but again questions were raised “Does he not just travel?” The niggles were sorted and he appeared at Dublin Racing Festival where, as expected, he blew his rivals away winning by 12l, really setting him up for another crack at the Champion Chase.

What is interesting, is how much Willie loves this horse. Whenever asked about Energumene, he always brings up this horse and always goes on about how good he really is. As mentioned, the questions about the travelling, the hill are still there and would take abit of faith to see him winning here.

Watch Chacun Pour Soi dominate the Dublin Chase below.

 

Nube Negra

Nube Negra is a Spanish bred horse which you don’t see many of. An average handicapper over hurdles rated 137 but is now rated 31lbs higher over fences. He has won 4/9 starts over the big obstacles, including the Grade 2 Desert Orchid last year beating Altior by 3 1/2 lengths although he wasn’t the same Altior from previous seasons it was still a very impressive performance.

In last year’s Champion Chase you can’t help feeling that it could have been his best opportunity to win the race and with a different ride, he would have won and beaten Put The Kettle On.

This season on reappearance he won the Shloer chase beating Politilogue by 6l with the Champion Chase winner back in third, massively disappointing. He was turned out quickly in the Tingle Creek and like his main market rival he too disappointed, but nothing really came to light after except you could have made an excuse for the quick turnaround.

Dan Skelton has learnt from that and kept him very quiet and fresh for this race, as he performs at his best after a layoff. He’s solid for a place in the race but lacks the quality of Shishkin and Energuemene. Apart from last time he is very consistent so if the top two in the market don’t turn up, he will be there to take advantage but would need that to happen to have a chance of winning.

 

Envoi Allen

Hasn’t been the same since moving from Gordons. Once seen as a Gold Cup horse, he was dropped back in trip last time in a 3 runner race, beating Battleoverdoyen by 7 ½ lengths. The form of that race doesn’t look to be near good enough to win this. The time was extremely slow that day but would be foolish to write him off on the off chance he is back to some sort of form from his novice season.

 

Put The Kettle On

Last years winner doesn’t look the same horse this season. If you back her you’re pinning your hopes on her Cheltenham record and it brings her back to some sort of life. That being said, Henry’s horses have not been performing but that does seem to be changing so that could be some improvement from her.

 

Greaneteen

The Tingle Creek winner was put firmly in his place by Shishkin, but the way he took advantage in the Tingle Creek was impressive, he’s also a very consistent horse so should the horses above him in the market disappoint he will be there to pick up the pieces.

 

Champion Chase Tip

For me, this is very easy. Shishkin would have to underperform to lose this. At Ascot, it was Energumenes’s chance to beat him but now with the conditions and track in Shishkin’s favour, I can’t see how he overturns the form. There are massive doubts over Chacun Pour Soi and the rest just aren’t good enough. The way the race will be run with Energumene or even Chacun Pour Soi going out in front it will fall into Shishkins lap and it should be a comfortable win with Shiskin charging up the Cheltenham hill.

SELECTION: SHISNKIN (4/6 with Paddy Power)

 

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Champion Chase Recent Winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2009 Master Minded Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls
2010 Big Zeb Barry Geraghty C A Murphy
2011 Sizing Europe A E Lynch Henry de Bromhead
2012 Finians Rainbow Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2013 Sprinter Sacre Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2014 Sire de Grugy Jamie Moore Gary Moore
2015 Dodging Bullets Sam Twiston-Davies Paul Nicholls
2016 Sprinter Sacre Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson
2017 Special Tiara Noel Fehily Henry de Bromhead
2018 Altior Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson
2019 Altior Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson
2020 Politologue Harry Skelton Paul Nicholls

 

Champion Chase Result 2020

1st – Politologue (6/1)

2nd – Dynamite Dollars (7/1)

3rd – Bun Doran (33/1)

4th – Defi De Seuil (2/5)

 

Champion Chase FAQs

  • When is the 2021 Champion Chase?

    The 2021 Champion Chase is due off at 3.30pm on Wednesday 17th March.

  • Wh is favourite for the Champion Chase?

    Chacun Pour Soi is the current favourite at odds of 6/5 with William Hill. Altior and Politilogue are both 8/1 in the latest betting odds.

  • Will Altior win the Champion Chase?

    Read our Champion Chase preview to find out our thoughts on Altior's chances in the 2021 Champion Chase. The 11-year-old has a fantastic record around Cheltenham and has won the race on two previous occasions.