The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade 1 race open to horses aged five-years-old and over. The race is run over a distance of two miles and there are twelve fences to be negotiated.

This event is the principle race in the National Hunt calendar for horses that run over the minimum chase distance.

This race was first established in 1959 as the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase and was given its present title in 1980 to coincide with the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday, and to recognise her continued patronage of the sport.

The race never had any sponsorship prior to 2007, but since then has had several companies associated with it including a holiday firm and the occasional bookmaker.

 

Champion Chase: Recent Winners

Cheltenham

 

Champion Chase: Trends (Last 12 Years)

  • Price – 4 of the last 12 favourites won, 9/12 winners were in the top 3 in the betting.
  • Last Run – 8/12 winners won on their previous run before Cheltenham, 11/12 winners ran within the last 53 days.
  • Age – 9 of the last 12 winners were aged between 7 and 10.
  • Rating – 10/12 winners were rated 164 or higher.
  • Previous Chase Form – 12/12 winners had at least 7 chase runs, 11/12 winners had at least 5 chase wins.
  • Previous Course Form – 11/12 winners had a previous run at Cheltenham, 7/12 winners had a previous win at Cheltenham.
  • Season Form – 11/12 winners had at least 2 runs that season, 11/12 winners had at least 1 win that season.

Champion Chase: Trainer Facts

  • Willie Mullins (Ire) is yet to train the winner.
  • Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained 4 of the last 7 winners (won the race 5 times in total).
  • Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 5 of the last 19 winners.
  • Henry de Bromhead (Ire) has trained 2 of the last 8 winners.
  • Jessica Harrington (Ire) has trained 2 of the last 16 winners.

 

Runner-By-Runner Guide:

Altior (Nicky Henderson)

Altior is aiming to become the fourth multiple winner of the race, following in the footsteps of Moscow Flyer, Master Minded and Sprinter Sacre.

Unbeaten in 12 chase starts, including the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2017/18 and the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown (beating Un De Sceaux) in December.

Winner of the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton and the Clarence House Chase, accounting for Fox Norton by seven lengths. The nine-year-old is just one short of the record for consecutive wins over jumps set by the legendary staying hurdler Big Buck's.

 

Castlegrace Paddy (Pat Fahy)

Winner of three of his five chase starts, including the Hilly Way Chase at Cork in December. He then took a heavy fall at the first in the Dublin Chase won by Min at Leopardstown. He acts on heavy going.

Castlegrace Paddy is brought to his peak in and around March time due to him suffering from allergies according to his trainer.

 

God's Own (Tom George)

A likeable veteran performer who has twice made frame in this race, including when 18 lengths third to Altior in 2017/18.

Winner of the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on his seasonal return in November, he finished a creditable 8 lengths second to Charbel in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on his last run and acts on the soft.

This will be God’s Own’s fifth consecutive Cheltenham Festival appearance.

Hell's Kitchen (Harry Fry)

Won a 10-runner handicap at Ascot last time by 2¼ lengths from Janika. Another one of his three career wins includes victory in a Novices' Limited Handicap at Kempton Park where he beat Mister Whittaker by 1½ lengths.

It will come as a major surprise if the J.P McManus owned eight-year-old is quite good enough to win this.

 

Min (Willie Mullins)

Min was seven lengths second to Altior in last year’s race and has looked as good as ever this season, winning the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase from Shattered Love in December and the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown in February.

He is effective at 2m to 2½m and acts on heavy going. If any horse is capable of lowering the colours of Altior then it will be Min who will be entirely suited by the ground once again and will be held onto as long as possible this time around.

 

Ordinary World (Henry de Bromhead)

A smart chaser who regularly holds his own in this company but never quite reaches the heights he deserves. He finished a decent six lengths second to Min in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown last time, albeit no match for winner.

Odds of 40/1 in the Cheltenham betting look more than generous for a horse who is highly likely to be involved in one of the forecast or tricast spots.

Politologue (Paul Nicholls)

A high-class chaser on his day. Winner of the Melling Chase at Aintree (by neck from Min) in April 2018 and took the 1965 Chase at Ascot (by ½ length from Charbel) in November.

He has been below par on both his starts since and will need to pull out all the stops to figure in the finish here. Holds a win strike rate just shy of 50%, winning 9 of his 19 starts.

 

Saint Calvados (Harry Whittington)

A front-runner who won the Poplar Square Chase at Naas back in November but was  has run below that level of form in Grade 1 company in two starts since, including finishing last of three  to Min in the Dublin Chase on his latest outing.

The six-year-old’s style of running will probably see him setting up the race for somebody else to swoop by him late.

 

Sceau Royal (Alan King)

Winner of the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham (by 2¼ lengths from Simply Ned) in November, the Munir/Souede-owned seven-year-old last ran in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton where he finished a ¾-length second Grand Sancy.

Often patiently ridden, he will be hoping to pick up the pieces should any opportunity arise up front in the latter stages.

Champion Chase: Altior A Foregone Conclusion?

It is extremely hard to oppose the favourite Altior here so the percentage call may be to have an each-way bet at a decent price.

Ordinary World (40/1) will have the assistance of Rachel Blackmore in the saddle and she is a very tenacious rider that never gives up- definitely a jockey to have on your side!

888sport Suggests: Ordinary World (e/w).

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

About the Author
By
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.