Clarence House Chase Preview & Odds – Can Defi De Seuil Defend his Crown?
The Clarence House Chase, run over 2 miles 1 furlong at Ascot, became a Grade One conditions race in 2007 and, nowadays, is a bona fide trial for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Indeed, since 2007, the roll of honour includes Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre, Sire de Grugy, Dodging Bullets and Altior, all of whom went on to win the two-mile steeplechasing championship the following March.
At the five-day declaration stage, ten horses, headed by reigning champion chaser Politologue, stood their ground for the 2021 renewal of the Clarence House Chase, due off at 3.35pm on Saturday, January 23rd.
2021 Clarence House Odds
- Politologue – 5/4
- Waiting Patiently – 5/2
- Defi De Seuil – 7/2
- First Flow – 10/1
- Dec des Genievres – 12/1
- Fanion dEstruval – 12/1
- Impact Factor – 20/1
- Bun Doran – 33/1
- Benatar – 33/1
- Le Patriote – 66/1
All odds with William Hill.
Is Politologue a worthy favourite?
Trainer Paul Nicholls confirmed the Clarence House Chase as the next target for Politologue shortly after he won the Tingle Creek at Sandown in early December and, as the highest-rated horse in the race, the ten-year-old looks a worthy favourite.
He is a three-time Grade One winner over fences on the prevailing soft going and his sound jumping should stand him in good stead on a course that often favours horses ridden prominently.
Will Defi bounce back to form?
By contrast, defending champion Defi Du Seuil, who is officially rated just 1lb inferior to Politologue, has questions to answer after two dismal runs in a row. Philip Hobbs’ nine-year-old started odds-on for the 2020 Queen Mother Champion Chase, but was never really travelling and eventually trailed in fourth of five, beaten 13½ lengths, behind Politologue.
He reappeared in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November, for which he was also sent off favourite, but stopped quickly and was pulled up before the final fence.
A return to the form that saw Defi Du Seuil cruise to an impressive, 2¼-length victory over Un De Sceaux in this race last year would obviously give him every chance but, for the time being, he comes with risks attached.
Defi De Seuil beat Un De Sceaux in this race 12 months ago.
Waiting Patiently to take his chance
Politologue and Defi Du Seul are currently separated in the betting by Waiting Patiently, trained by Ruth Jefferson, who returned from nearly a year off the course with a highly creditable, 2¼-length second to Frodon in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The injury-plagued ten-year-old has been limited to just eleven races over hurdles and fences since making his racecourse debut in November, 2015, but has little to find on official ratings and should not be unduly inconvenienced by dropping back in distance.
Kim Bailey’s star chasing a sixth straight win
The bookmakers currently bet 10/1 bar the first three in the betting, which brings in the progressive First Flow, trained by Kim Bailey, who is chasing a six-timer.
The softer the ground the better for the nine-year-old, who has had to dig deep to win handicaps at Ascot and Wetherby on his last two starts.
He appears as game as the proverbial pebble, but has 11lb and upwards to find with the principals on his first foray into Graded company over fences and may be found wanting on this occasion.
The other contenders
A similar comment applies to Paul Nicholls’ apparent second-string, Duc Des Genievres, who was an impressive winner of the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, when trained by Willie Mullins, but has become disappointing.
Venetia Williams’ French import, Fanion D’Estruval, formerly trained by Guillaume Macaire, is less exposed than most but, barring accidents, will need a career-best to feature in the finish, while Impact Factor, Bun Doran, Le Patriote and Benatar all appear outclassed.
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