Day two of the Cheltenham festival is Ladies Day, but it’s not just the outfits that will be attracting attention. There will be plenty of high quality racing on the card including the day’s main event, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The last two winners of this championship race are set to line-up in what should be a thrilling encounter.
It is the Nicky Henderson-trained winner from 2013, Sprinter Sacre, who has set the early pace in the betting priced at 3/1 (4.00) ahead of defending champion Sire De Grugy. However, the price on last year’s victor has shortened to 7/2 (4.5) after he gave trainer Gary Moore a confidence boost with an impressive outing under heavy weight at Chepstow last week. This made up for his last run out when he unseated jockey Jamie Moore with three fences to go in the Game Spirit Chas at Newbury.
These two are not the only contenders with the Paul Nicholls-trained Dodging Bullets receiving good backing after stealing three lengths from Sprinter Sacre to win the Clarence House Chase at Ascot. This victory, along with another impressive performance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown, has forced the seven-year-old into the reckoning. Odds of 9/2 (5.5) are currently available with several bookmakers including Betfair.
Beyond these three, Champagne Fever appears the other most likely contender after a shot at the Gold Cup appears to have been ruled out. A failed attempt to perform over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day has made this two mile the likely target for the grey’s connections. The seven-year-old does have Cheltenham pedigree with a Champion Bumper and a Supreme Novices Hurdle already under his saddle. The Irish Thoroughbred can be backed at 6/1 (7.00) with Paddy Power and William Hill.