Ladbrokes Champion Chase, Betting Offers and Odds

With the National Hunt season beginning to hit its stride in November, one of the highest class early season contests comes over in Ireland. Here we take a look at the best odds and offers available, and provide our betting tips for the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.

Previously known as the Champion Chase, in 2019 this switched to the Ladbrokes Champion Chase. This Grade 1 Chase was first run at the Northern Irish venue of Down Royal in 1999. The 3m event is a regular seasonal starting point for some of the stars of the jumping game, and now offers more than €80,000 to the winner. It might have a new name but essentially it’s the same race and here are our tips.

Tips and Predictions

The two day Down Royal Festival comes to an end on Saturday with a strong card at the Northern Irish track. The key race of the whole meeting is the Ladbrokes Champion Chase. This 3 mile, Grade 1 chase has been won by some very good horses in recent years including three favourites in the last four renewals. Although only five horses are competing in the 2019 running, they each have a genuine chance of winning marking this out as an exciting race.

An Early Look at the Gold Cup?

The Ladbrokes Champion Chase is one of the biggest steeplechases in the early stages of the National Hunt season. It’s a contest that’s well worth winning in its own right but there’s no doubt that the big named trainers represented in the field – Gordon Elliott, Paul Nicholls and Noel Meade – will be focussing on the even bigger prizes ahead.

In that regard, racing fans should get a couple of early pointers for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Delta Work is one of those in the field at Down Royal who many believe has a real chance of winning the biggest steeplechase of all.

The six-year-old is one of the most promising horses in Gigginstown’s formidable string. He may have failed to win the RSA Chase at the last Cheltenham Festival but that didn’t do too much damage to his reputation. Indeed, he bounced straight back with a very good win next time out in a Grade 1 novices’ chase at Punchestown.

Delta Work is getting a lot of support at a general 7/4 and for good reason. However, he may just find Clan Des Obeaux too good on the day. Paul Nicholls’ seven-year-old already has experience of the Gold Cup (he finished fifth last season) and if everything goes to plan he will be back for another crack of the whip in March.

Clan Des Obeaux is the highest rated horse in the field and has run well after a break in the past so is the one the others have to beat.

Snow Falcon May Spring a Surprise

With only five runners in the field there is no each way betting for the Ladbrokes Champion Chase. Still, it could be worth having the relative outsider, Snow Falcon onside. Noel Meade’s nine-year-old has already got his season off to a strong start with a win in a Grade 2 at Gowran Park.

It was a fine display of training from the Meade team to get Snow Falcon in such great shape at this early stage of the season. The quality of his performance a month ago suggests that he can cope with the step up in class and that a smaller stakes bet is in order at 8/1 with Coral.

Betting Predictions

Snow Falcon is a very tempting outside betting option for the Ladbrokes Champion Chase but there is no doubt he will need his very best to secure the win. Clan Des Obeaux has the class to win this contest even without a warm-up race and is the one the others all have to beat at a best price of 9/4 with Ladbrokes.

Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Road To Respoect – jockey Sean Flanagan, trainer Noel Meade
  • 2017 – Outlander – jockey Jack Kennedy, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2016 – Valseur Lido – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Henry de Bromhead
  • 2015 – Don Cossack – jockey Bryan Cooper, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2014 – Road To Riches – jockey Paul Carberry, trainer Noel Meade
  • 2013 – Roi de Mee – jockey Bryan Cooper, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2012 – Kauto Stone – jockey Daryl Jacob, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2011 – Quito de la Roque – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Colm Murphy
  • 2010 – Kauto Star – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2009 – The Listener – jockey Andrew McNamara, trainer Nick Mitchell
  • 2008 – Kauto Star – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2007 – Taranis – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2006 – Beef or Salmon – jockey Andrew McNamara, trainer Michael Hourigan

Race History

Sponsored by from the year of its inception in 1999, this contest initially took place over a trip of 3m1f but was reduced to its current 3m distance in the year 2000. Often acting as a big early season draw for a talented group of chasers, the contest was granted Grade 1 status in 2002. Ladbrokes took over sponsorship duties in 2019 but in essence nothing else changed.

The King George VI and four time Hennessy winner, Florida Pearl was a hugely popular winner of the first edition of this race for Willie Mullins, and the standard has remained consistently high throughout the races history.

Other star names on the roll of honour include the Cheltenham Gold Cup champions, Looks Like Trouble and Don Cossack, and the triple Hennessy and Lexus winner Beef or Salmon, who landed this in both 2004 and 2006.

Whilst the Irish runners have dominated overall, it is an English trainer who has recorded more victories than any other. Ten-time British Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls has landed this four times in all, including twice with one of the greatest chasers of all time, the five time King George and dual Gold Cup hero, Kauto Star.

Paul Nicholls’ chief partner in crime for his success here was the magnificent Ruby Walsh, whose wins aboard Kauto Star (2008 and 2010), Taranis (2007) and Valseur Lido (2016) make him the leading jockey in the race. The trio of Andrew McNamara, Bryan Cooper and Paul Carberry sit just two behind on two wins apiece.