10th - 13th March

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

Sky Sports Racing’s John Blance gives his verdict on the 2020 renewal of the two-mile chasing championship.

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Altior v Defi De Seuil v Chacun Pour Soi in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on paper looks to be one of the best, if not the best race of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

The prospect of the 20 wins from his last 21 starts, two-time champion chaser and one of the greatest National Hunt horses of all time, Altior, defending his crown against his younger rivals and this season’s stand out two-mile performers from either side of the Irish Sea should quicken the heart of any jumps fan.

However, as those who remember the hype surrounding “Kauto v Denman II” in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup know only too well, distilling championship races down to a small coterie of horses and forgetting the rest can be a dangerous game.

Nigel Twiston-Davies definitely took exception to it once Imperial Commander had bested his two more vaunted rivals a decade ago and, with that very much in mind, we’ll take a look at the claims of not just the big three, but a good few more besides.

I have also, for the sake of brevity, made the assumption that Min, Cilaos Emery and Duc Des Genievres will not run. I’ll look a fool if one of them wins, but that particular eventuality is not unheard of.

John Blance’s Verdict

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 2020
  • A genuinely difficult race for betting purposes. Unless you have a really strong view, there is no value in backing any of the front three. It is, however, rather likely that they will, in one order or another, fill the first three places, thus draining the enthusiasm even of an out and proud each-way thief like myself. In the end, though, I have plumped for SCEAU ROYAL at a big price. He is by no means a certain winner, but a strong gallop is almost guaranteed, and he could well be smuggled into it late on. You could even back him and cash out if he comes into the race hard on the snaff turning for home if in-running punting is your thing. “Taking a position” I believe the big lads on the ‘fair call it.

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

Cheltenham 15:30, 11 March 2020

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