Last year’s race
- Winner: Special Tiara
- Jockey: N D Fehily
- Trainer: H de Bromhead
- Owner: Mrs S Rowley-Williams
- Age: 10 Weight: 11st 10lb
- Starting Price: 11/1
- Season Form Figures: 315
- Previous Best: 2nd - Champion Chase (Grade 1), Cheltenham Festival (March 2016)
There is a possibility that last season’s Arkle winner, Altior, could be sent off at odds-on but, for the record, 12 of the last 18 odds-on favourites have been beaten in the Champion Chase.
Other than that, the stats are very much be in favour of last season’s Arkle winner as 15 of the last 16 winners of the 2m novices’ championship from the previous year went on to finish in the first three, of which as many as seven won. It was 15/15 until Douvan injured himself in last season’s Champion Chase.
With 35 of the last 36 winners sent off at a SP of no bigger than 11/1 (and 15 of the last 18 could be found at no bigger than 5/1), this is not the race to go in search of that elusive big-priced winner. That’s some change around from when 14 consecutive favourites were beaten between Crisp (1971) right through to Badsworth Boy’s second victory in 1984. In addition, the Champion Chase has been a terrific race for the Irish since it was first run in 1959 winning on 22 occasions and it is also worth noting that on the last seven occasions when they have supplied the winner, they have also weighed in with the runner-up five times.
With 35 of the last 36 winners sent off at a SP of no bigger than 11/1 (and 15 of the last 18 could be found at no bigger than 5/1), this is not the race to go in search of that elusive big-priced winner.
Comfortably the best guide from the current season over a long period of time has been the Tingle Creek won by Politologue as that Grade 1 race at Sandown has featured 11 of the last 17 winners. In fact, three of the last five Tingle Creek winners went on to win the Champion Chase having also collected the Clarence House Chase in between. That Grade 1 at Ascot was won for the third time this season by Un De Sceaux who seems more likely to defend his Ryanair Chase title leaving Willie Mullins to be represented by Yorkhill and/or Min.
Politologue then added the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton aided by the mid-race fall of his only serious rival, Special Tiara. Remarkably for a Grade 2 race, six of the last 11 Champion Chase winners also won the Desert Orchid Chase. If you believe that the current champion, Special Tiara, can win a second Champion Chase crown at the age of 11, the age stats are against him as only Moscow Flyer has won aged over ten since 1977.
Yorkhill could revert to 2m after failing to give his best over 3m in the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown. Many a two-miler takes their chance in the King George, like last season’s ‘Queen Mother’ runner-up last season, Fox Norton, but not many horses considered to be three-milers then successfully reverted to win the Champion Chase - One Man being one exception after two non-staying efforts in the Gold Cup.
Other trends to bear in mind are that 11 of the last 15 winners won a graded chase last time out, only Master Minded of the last 16 winners entered the race having not already won a Grade 1 contest, 20 of the last 33 winners had won at the Cheltenham Festival before and 13 of the last 14 winners had run during the same calendar year.
At a glance summary
- Ran in the Tingle Creek
- A top-two finish in last season’s Arkle or Clarence House Chase
- Winner of the Desert Orchid Chase
- To start no bigger than 5/1
- Failed to win a Grade 1 race
- Aged 11+
- To start at 12/1+
- Not run during the same calendar year