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2019 Champion Chase tips - Ante-post preview and three tips for main event on Ladies’ Day

Jonathan Vine in Tips 12 Dec 2018
Nico De Boinville celebrate as he crossed the line at Cheltenham on Altior.

Our expert takes a look through the early ante-post betting for the Champion Chase and highlights three horses for punters to back in the feature race on Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival.

Day two of the Cheltenham Festival, known commonly as Ladies’ Day, is headlined by the second Championship race of the week – the Champion Chase. Named after the Queen Mother - who put so much into the sport she loved - all of the greatest two mile chasers in the history of the sport have been crowned champion chaser, with the names of Badsworth Boy, Moscow Flyer, Viking Flagship and Sprinter Sacre shining brightly on the famous trophy.

The betting for this season’s renewal of the Champion Chase is starting to take shape. Our expert casts his eye through the ante-post market and identifies three horses for punters to place their faith in.

2019 Champion Chase Tips

👑 The One To Beat 👑

With just one seasonal appearance under his belt, ALTIOR looked extremely rusty for much of last year’s Champion Chase. Nico De Boinville was the first jockey to get to work and it took Nicky Henderson’s star chaser a good few furlongs to respond. Yet, when the penny dropped, Altior sprung to life, eating into Min’s advantage in the blink of an eye and streaking clear to claim his third Cheltenham Festival crown.

Altior’s reappearance victory over Politologue was boosted when Paul Nicholls’ charge saw off Min at Aintree. Seven Barrow’s pin-up boy then extended his unbeaten record over fences on his final start of the season, where Altior produced a workmanlike display in winning the Celebration Chase for the second year on the bounce.

A wind problem meant Altior didn’t run until February last season. Some may say that travelling to Cheltenham fresh was a positive, but I don’t think we saw Altior at his best at any point this season and I’m sure Henderson will be desperate to get a few extra runs into his eight-year-old before returning to the Festival. If 100% fit and firing on all cylinders, I can’t see a chaser out there who could beat Altior over two miles.

ALTIOR - Originally tipped at 7/4


Despite a sticky jump at the second, Altior showed all his class and talent in seeing off Un De Sceaux to win the Tingle Creek on his reappearance. 7/4 is long gone, with 8/11 the best price you can find. I don't see Altior being beaten.
⚠️ The Big Danger ⚠️

Not the most original tip, I know, but FOOTPAD is undoubtedly Altior’s primary challenger in 2019. Willie Mullins’ charge was the best novice chaser on the planet last season, storming to victory at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, the Cheltenham Festival and the season-ending meeting at Punchestown in April.

Footpad’s final four victories all came in Grade One company, including a runaway victory in the Arkle. The Munir & Souede-owned chaser ended his novice campaign baring a rating of 166 – just 2 pounds short of the mark Altior managed after his first season over fences – with the aggregate winning distances of his five victories totalling a staggering 52 lengths.

Mullins himself threw a small spanner in the works this week, as he seemed very keen on the idea of stepping Footpad up in trip during an interview, even earmarking the King George VI Chase at Kempton as a possible Christmas target. I can’t see Mullins going down the Gold Cup route and why would he go for the Ryanair when the far more prestigious Champion Chase is an option. I’m really looking forward to the showdown between Altior and Footpad come March – it could turn the Champion Chase into the race of the entire meeting.

FOOTPAD - Originally tipped at 4/1


Footpad's reappearance at Naas was nothing short of a disaster. The Arkle winner suffered an overreach after one of many poor jumps and Ruby was flung from the saddle at the last when well-beaten by Saint Calvados. Hopefully that injury doesn't keep him out for long, as a showdown with Altior is something all jumps racing fans want to see!
♞ The Dark Horse ♞

Politologue would be a danger, had Nicholls not announced his intention to step his charge up beyond two miles this season. Injury denied Sceau Royal the chance to test himself against Footpad in the Arkle, but I doubt whether Alan King’s chaser has the class to compete at this level. 

Min is capable of winning Grade Ones on his day and has to be respected. Yet, the one who could be on hand to push the top two at Cheltenham is his stablemate, GREAT FIELD. Willie Mullins’ chaser endured an injury-ravaged campaign last year, appearing just once in the Grade Two Webster Cup, where he held on from the front to deny a charging Doctor Phoenix in the closing stages.

Despite labouring a little during that win at Naas, it meant Great Field still boasts a blemish-free record over fences. The JP McManus-owner chaser looked like a star in the making during his novice campaign – scoring an impressive Grade One triumph at Punchestown – and he will be making up for lost time this year. Barring any further injury problems, I expect Great Field to take part in the Champion Chase and he has the potential to be a genuine contender.

GREAT FIELD - Originally tipped at 25/1


Like stablemate Footpad, Great Field suffered a hiccup on his reappearance, falling at the second in the Hilly Way Chase. After Sceau Royal and Saint Calvados slid down the betting, Great Field's price has actually come in a little since the article was published and he could still be a danger - if he gets to Cheltenham in one piece.

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2019 Champion Chase tips - Ante-post preview and three tips for main event on Ladies’ Day

Our expert takes a look through the early ante-post betting for the Champion Chase and highlights three horses for punters to back in the feature race on Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday 13th March.

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