The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature event on Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival, and this year’s renewal is shaping up to be the race of the entire meeting on Wednesday, 11 March.
There’s a wonderful old, established order versus new pretenders dynamic to the Champion Chase, run over about two miles around Prestbury Park on the Old Course.
This is our detailed runner by runner guide complete with Queen Mother Champion Chase 2020 tips just for you.
2. Bun Doran – 66/1
Flattered by a Grade 2 success at Kempton Park over Christmas as Altior didn’t turn up, Bun Doran is a course and distance handicap chase winner for trainer Tom George, who had God’s Own placed for the same owners in this in 2018.
Runner-up in last year’s Grade 3 Grand Annual Handicap Chase on the New course, this demands a whole lot more from Bun Doran. Aged nine and with 16 starts over fences under his belt, he’s vulnerable to potential improvers too.
Jockey: Jonathan Burke
Trainer: Tom George
3. Chacun Pour Soi – 11/8
Willie Mullins’s best hope this year of finally winning this race. Lowered the colours of Defi Du Seuil in a Grade 1 novice chase at last year’s Punchestown Festival and entitled to need the run on reappearance behind A Plus Tard.
Chacun Pour Soi came on for that in leaps and bounds when beating owner-stable companion Min comprehensively in the Dublin Chase. Lightly-raced for an eight-year-old, he is the leading Irish raider here but lacks Cheltenham experience.
Jockey: P. Townend
Trainer: W. P. Mullins
4. Defi Du Seuil – 11/10
Arguably Altior’s biggest danger. Defi Du Seuil has a superb record at Cheltenham, winning six of eight career starts here and at two previous Festivals. Philip Hobbs’ stable star is unbeaten this season since chasing home Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown as a novice.
Defi Du Seuil would be major Irish owner JP McManus’s first-ever Queen Mother Champion Chase winner and is hugely respected after winning Britain’s other two-mile Grade 1s in the division – the Tingle Creek at Sandown Park and Clarence House around Ascot. Defi Du Seuil is aged just seven and could still be improving.
Jockey: Barry Geraghty
Trainer: Philip Hobbs
5. Dynamite Dollars – 14/1
Something of a dark horse for Paul Nicholls on the pick of his form. Dynamite Dollars is a lightly-raced seven-year-old who won four of his first five starts over fences.
Injury curtailed his very promising novice chase season after winning a Grade 1 at Sandown and completing a hat-trick under a penalty at Doncaster. Ran a good race for a long way on return to action at Newbury before fading close home to be third behind Altior. Could come on for that reappearance run and surprise a few.
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
6. Politologue – 16/1
Runner-up to Altior last year, there is a sense that Nicholls’s nine-year-old grey may have peaked. Beaten by Defi Du Seuil on reappearance over course and distance, he was a below par fifth in the Tingle Creek last time out.
Politologue has failed in six previous career starts at Cheltenham to win. On that basis, he looks to be another who is vulnerable to younger and improving sorts.
Jockey: Harry Skelton
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
7. Sceau Royal – 18/1
And finally, Sceau Royal came third in this 12 months ago and clearly prefers racing left-handed. Another who is dogged by Altior, he has a decent record at this track for trainer Alan King.
Sceau Royal hasn’t really looked like winning any of his races this year, though. The eight-year-old had race fitness on his side when catching Dynamite Dollars for second at Newbury last time out.
Jockey: Daryl Jacob
Trainer: Alan King
Paddy’s Champion Chase tips
Altior sets an obvious standard, and it would be no surprise to see the Champion Chase hat-trick happen. He is vulnerable to a similar type of speedy horse from the back of the last, and that is exactly what Defi Du Seuil does.
Chacun Pour Soi is yet to put back-to-back Grade 1s together but remains respected. Of the others, Dynamite Dollars and Sceau Royal look live each-way contenders in case one or other of the big three fail to live up to expectations.
*All odds correct at time of publication