Free tips Cheltenham 2019: Champion Chase Celebrates 60th Anniversary in 2019
Champion Chase History
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the inaugural edition of the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase, which became known as the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1980. We take a look back at some of the race’s best moments and look forward to this year’s renewal…
Video: Perhaps the greatest Champion Chase of them all in 1994?
Grade 1 Feature Race
The Champions Chase is contested over 12 fences and covers a distance of 1m 7f 199y (3,199 metres). The race is open to horses five years old and over and is the leading minimum-distance chase on the National Hunt calendar, as well as the feature race on Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival.
Champion Chase Past Winners
The very first Champions Chase was won by the Dan Moore-trained Quita Que, ridden by jockey Bunny Cox. However, only one horse has managed to win the event three times in the last 59 years. That honour goes to the Michael and Monica Dickinson-trained Badsworth Boy, who secured consecutive wins in 1983, 1984 and 1985. On each occasion, jockey Robert Earnshaw was in the saddle. Michael Dickinson also trained the 1982 winner Rathgorman. Edredon Bleu holds the record for the fastest Champions Chase, clocking a time of 3m 44.70s in 2000.
Tom Dreaper remains the leading training with six wins between 1960 and 1970 although Nicky Henderson could equal that record if 2018 winner, Altior, can triumph again in 2019. Five of Dreaper’s winners were ridden by Pat Taafe who shares the leading jockey honour with Barry Geraghty.
In recent history, the cream has always risen to the top in the Champions Chase. In fact, 15 of the last 16 winning entries were rated 159 or higher and all of them had at least one Grade 1 win under their belt. Horses that do well here tend to be distance specialists, so focus on those with plenty of two-mile experience.
Favourites have not always fared well, with only four successful in the last 13 renewals, but there have been few surprises either, so look at horses priced 10/1 or under when assessing Champion Chase tips for 2019.
Last year’s winner, ALTIOR, has already attracted plenty of attention and is currently odds-on at around 4/9. Still unbeaten over fences, it is hard to argue against the six-time Grade 1 winner. One horse who could provide a threat is last year’s leading novice, Footpad, who won the Arkle at last year’s festival. However, his last two starts raised a few question marks over his credentials for this race, making his status as second-favourite with some bookies hard to justify.
Footpad’s stablemate, Min, was second in this race last year has also received a lot of backing. However, he has twice been defeated by Altior and his recent performance over two and a half miles at Punchestown could see him switched to the Ryanair Chase.
Each-way Bet Option
With Altior seemingly unbeatable, punters looking for an each-way option could do worse than look at veteran, SIMPLY NED.
With Grade 1-winning form and a recent win over Footpad under his belt, the 12-year-old looks like the best value outsider to grab a place with prices of up to 33/1 available at William Hill.