Queen Mother Champion Chase Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Cheltenham, 3.30, 13th March 2019
Staying chasers get to claim many headlines over the year with races like the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Queen Mother Champion Chase provides an opportunity for the minimum distance chasers to claim the limelight for an afternoon.
This Grade 1 contest is as good as it gets in terms of chases over two miles. It’s an incredibly popular race which creates heroes such as Sprinter Sacre and Master Minded and we have the potential for a ding dong battle between Altior and Min ahead of us.
Queen Mother Champion Chase Ante Post Betting Tips 2019
Odds correct at time of writing and are subject to change.
Queen Mother Champion Chase Betting Offers and Free Bets
- Queen Mother Champion Chase offers and bonuses will appear very soon, but take a look at the latest Cheltenham Festival free bets and promos to see what the bookies are already dishing out!
Queen Mother Champion Chase Ante Post Tips and Race Preview 2019
Altior set to defend his crown
As the horses jumped the penultimate fence during last year’s Champion Chase, five remained in contention for the Grade 1 title. By the final fence, only Altior and Min were left to battle it out. The pair touched down at the same time but Altior had another gear at his disposal, allowing him to fly clear down the home stretch. It was a majestic showing from the then eight-year-old and one which ensured his unbeaten chase record continued.
Nicky Henderson’s horse has since extended his winning streak by another three races with two coming this season. The first test saw him impressively withstand the challenge of Un De Sceaux and three weeks later, things were all too straightforward in the Desert Orchid Chase during a 19 length victory. Following that win he became Timeform’s top jumper with a rating of 180p. His reign of superiority with jockey Nico de Boinville should continue for some time, making him the standout selection for a fourth consecutive Cheltenham Festival win.
Mullins may prefer Ryanair Chase for Min
Min ran a fine race in last year’s Champion Chase but there was simply nothing he could do to stop the commanding Altior. The two horses remain a level apart and Willie Mullins will know this as he makes his plans for the upcoming Festival. Pitted against Altior again, Min would need Nicky Henderson’s horse to make an uncharacteristic blunder to stand any chance of clinching glory. The Ryanair Chase field is unlikely to include such a formidable name, making it a far more attractive target.
Should Mullins give Min another crack in the Champion Chase though, another second place is a possibility but his inconsistency makes him unappealing at odds of 12/1 (Coral). Last February he stormed to a 12 length win over Simply Ned but just over a month earlier he was beaten by the same horse. To end the season he wound up 15 lengths behind Un De Sceaux at Punchestown despite being a well fancied 3/1 contender. Unless he’s able to string several fine performances together in the coming weeks, Min is best left alone.
Great Field Must Sort Jumping Problem
Willie Mullins may not fancy Min for the Champion Chase but Great Field looks set for the test. The two mile distance will definitely suit and his form last season makes a place finish look more than attainable. During his novice campaign the eight-year-old won five races over fences in a row including a Grade 1 contest at Punchestown. He didn’t just scrape the win during the Ryanair Novice Chase either, instead winning by an emphatic 11 lengths.
Regularly able to blow the field away, expectations were high for the John McManus owned horse this season. Things began disastrously though as he took a tumble at Cork and Leopardstown. On both occasions he was leading but doing so counts for nothing if you can’t handle the fences. The obstacles at Cheltenham are not the most forgiving so his jumping must be fixed before March. Recent falls make him a risky pick but at 25/1 (bet365), it’s one worth taking each way.
Queen Mother Champion Chase Previous Winners
- 2018 – Altior – jockey Nico de Boinvilley, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2017 – Special Tiara – jockey Noel Fehily, trainer Henry de Bromhead
- 2016 – Sprinter Sacre – jockey Nico de Boinville, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2015 – Dodging Bullets – jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2014 – Sire De Grugy – jockey Jamie Moore, trainer Gary Moore
- 2013 – Sprinter Sacre – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2012 – Finian’s Rainbow – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2011 – Sizing Europe – jockey Andrew Lynch, trainer Henry de Bromhead
- 2010 – Big Zeb – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Colm Murphy
- 2009 – Master Minded – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2008 – Master Minded – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2007 – Voy Por Ustedes – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King
- 2006 – Newmill – jockey Andrew J. McNamara, trainer John Joseph Murphy
Queen Mother Champion Chase History
Up until 1980 this contest had the simple title of the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase. The Queen Mother, an ardent racing fan and owner, was granted the honour of having this race named after her in 1980. No commercial sponsorship was given to the race until the year 2007 when Seasons Holidays lent their support. Sportingbet and Betvictor later sponsored the race and another betting firm, Betway, took over in 2015.
It takes a special type of animal to be able to travel and jump at the speed required to land this event, and some real superstars have taken the contest over the years. It has proven relatively common for such a star chaser to take this prize on more than one occasion. In total 10 horses have twice taken home the prize, including dual Cheltenham Gold Cup runner up Fortria, the brilliant Master Minded and 13 time Grade 1 winning Irish superstar, Moscow Flyer. Topping the lot though is Badsworth Boy who took this race in 1983, 1984 and 1985 for Michael and Monica Dickinson.
The class of a performer has occasionally been well known in advance of this race, resulting in some pretty short priced winners. Sprinter Sacre more than lived up to his status as 1/4 favourite in 2013 when demolishing the field by 19 lengths without apparently breaking sweat. Shortest price of all though was Tom Dreaper’s Flyingbolt, who won at 1/5 in 1966.
The biggest priced winner arose in controversial circumstances. Chinrullah passed the post first in 1980 but was found to have run under the influence of a banned substance and disqualified. Second place finisher Another Dolly was promoted to first at the rewarding odds of 33/1.
The youngest winner in the races history was also one of its most impressive. No five-year-old had previously come home in front when Master Minded lined up for this in 2008. In a race billed as one of the clashes of the festival with the previous year’s winner Voy Por Ustedes sent off favourite, Master Minded produced one of those performances which simply takes the breath away. A winning margin of 19 lengths could have been so much more as Ruby Walsh no more than coasted home in a race that had long been over as a contest.
Advancing years doesn’t appear to be as much of a barrier to success here as in some of the festivals other two mile contests. 12 winners have been aged 10 or above in the first 56 editions of the race. Mouse Morris’s Skymas joined this club when coming home in front in 1976 and repeated the trick in 1977 at 12 years of age to become the oldest winner in the history of the race.
Paul Nicholls’ 2015 victory with Dodging Bullets was his fifth in the race, putting him one behind Tom Dreaper on the list of leading trainers. Barry Geraghty’s 2013 romp on Sprinter Sacre was also his fifth here putting him level with Pat Taaffe as the leading jockey in this race. The amazing victory by Sprinter Sacre in 2016 – this time with Nico de Boinville in the saddle – was a sight to behold and cemented Sprinter’s place as one of the very greatest horses there has been!
In 2017 there was a surprise winner in the form of Henry de Bromhead’s Special Tiara, who ran in at 11/1 as stong odds-on favourite Douvan was well off the pace. While in 2018 Nicky Henderson’s Altior romped home by seven lengths ahead of Willie Mullins’ Min.