Champion Chase: 2m, Wednesday, March 16, 3:30pm
Key Stat: The last 14 Arkle Chase winners to run in the Champion Chase a year later, have been placed at worst.
A great race for punters with just one of the last 33 winners sent off at bigger than 11/1 while the last 14 winners of the Arkle to run here a year later were all placed at worst.
Un De Sceaux is likely to start an odds-on favourite to become the eighth horse since 1992 to follow up his Arkle Trophy success last season in the following year’s Champion Chase.
In fact, the last 14 winners of the Arkle to run here 12 months later were all placed at worst.
The best recent trend is that the three winners of the Clarence House Chase at Ascot all went on to be crowed the two-mile champion chaser two months later so Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old also has that in his favour.
Only Moscow Flyer (since Royal Relief in 1975) has regained his two-mile chasing crown after losing it which doesn’t augur well for ex-Champs Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy.
What Sire De Grugy has in his favour is that he won the Tingle Creek (admittedly minus Un De Sceaux, Sprinter Sacre and Dodging Bullets) and it has been the best long-term guide featuring 11 of the last 15 winners at Cheltenham.
The last 12 winners had run since Christmas week so a prep run has been important – a trend that Sprinter Sacre has to overcome.
The Tied Cottage Chase run at Punchestown won by Felix Yonger has been the best recent Irish guide featuring four of their last five winners. The Champion Chase is been a terrific race for the Irish since 1959 winning on 21 occasions. It is worth noting that on the last six occasions when they supplied the winner, they have also had the runner-up five times.
If last season’s winner, Dodging Bullets, can collect back-to-back renewals then he would become the 11th dual winner or better since the race’s inception in 1959. However, more recent stats show that 12 of the last 13 defending champs have been beaten.