The Old Course at Cheltenham again plays host to the feature race on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival: The Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Traditionally the Champion Hurdle has fewer entrants than the other grade one Cheltenham events but that doesn’t mean the quality of the race suffers in any way shape or form. Here we take a look at some of the major trends that have developed over recent years at the Champions hurdle to help you win big at the bookies.
1. Jockeys At The Double
Jockeys who win the Champion Chase often have a habit of retaining their crown the year after. Ruby Walsh secured consecutive victories with Master Minded in 2008 and 2009 and Barry Geraghty won back to back Champion Chases in 2012 and 2013. Jamie Moore is the current holder after riding Sire de Grugy to victory in 2014, and he may be one to watch again this year.
2. Age Becoming Crucial
In recent years, the average age of winners of the Champions Chase has been increasing. Master Mind became the first 5 years old to win the Champion Chase in 2008 and still remains the youngest horse to win the history of the race. That victory came either side of wins from six years olds, which made the Champion Hurdle look like a one for the young guns. Since then though, the sequence of the age of winners is as follows: 9, 9, 9, 7, 8. Horses ages 7-9 will therefore be the ages to look between, with only one horse over the age of nine winning the Champion Chase in the last 15 races.
3. Arkle Trophy
The Arkle Trophy has been the springboard for many Champion Chase winners and a look at previous winners in that competition could give a good indication of who will fare well in this race. All of these horses have triumphed in the Champion Chase after winning at the Arkle, with the trend continuing from Sprinter Scare in 2013 to Remittance Man in 1992:
Sprinter Sacre (2013)
Sizing Europe (2011)
Voy Por Ustedes (2007)
Moscow Flyer (2003 and 2005)
Flagship Uberalles (2002),
Klairon Davis (1996)
Remittance Man (1992)
4. Tingle Creek Chase
Another race to keep a keen eye on when considering potential winners at the Champion Chase is the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. Nine of the last thirteen winners in the Champions Chase have won the Tingle Creek Chase earlier in the season, so 2015’s winner could make an appearance there again.
5. Top Trainers
Paul Nicholls is the most successful current trainer in the Champion Chase, with his four winners proving how well he knows this course. His four wins came between 1999-2009, which is a long drought by his standards. Can he end that with a win in 2015? It would take a brave man to bet against it.