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Champion Chase Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 12 mins

Champion Chase Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

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2024 Cheltenham Champion Chase Trends

One of the highlights of the Cheltenham Festival every year, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is one that often follows trends closely. Check out everything you need to know about the race before getting involved at UK betting apps.

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The last 10 winners:

  • Were aged up to 10 years old
  • Had won at least one Grade 1
  • Last ran at least 32 days ago, the majority having a break of more than 45 days
  • Had six or more starts over fences (with at least five wins)
  • Were trained in Britain or by Henry De Bromhead or Willie Mullins

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Had run at least twice at Cheltenham before (six had won, including three of the last five who were unbeaten at the course). Only Energumene before his 2022 win had never run at the track
  • Had won one of their last three starts (exception Politologue)
  • Had two or more starts that season (Altior in 2018)
  • Had won two or more Grade 1s (Put The Kettle On).
  • Had their last run before Cheltenham in Britain (Put The Kettle On).
  • Had won that season (Politologue).

Eight of the last 10 winners:

  • Finished in the top three in their last race (Politologue and Special Tiara). Five won last time out, but not the four most recent winners.

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Key Trials from the last 10 years

Six of the last 10 winners ran last time out in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot, including Energumene, who has won the last two Champion Chases, however on both occassions he did not win at Ascot. Three Champion Chase winners have won that race prior to Cheltenham victory though.

Altior, who romped home in 2018, won the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury. Fox Norton and Module were also winners of that race before they placed in the Cheltenham Champion Chase. Edwardstone won this year.

The Arkle Novices' Chase looks an obvious pointer towards future Champion Chase victory, but there's been a trend lately of that race's winner graduating instead to the Ryanair Chase. Having said that, if they take part they often win. The winners of the 2012, 2017 and 2020 Arkles won the following year's Champion Chase. Only five others tried, the latest being Edwardstone, who was fifth in 2023.

2020 winner Politologue didn’t run in between his disappointing Tingle Creek Chase effort in December 2019 and the Cheltenham Festival, which is an unusually lengthy period of time in between races for a winner of this race. Though 2021 winner Put The Kettle On and 2016 winner Sprinter Sacre also did not run between December and the Festival.

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Trainer Trends

  • Nicky Henderson boasts a phenomenal record in this race with a 45% strike - five winners from 11 runners in the 12 years.
  • Paul Nicholls has also won the race six times overall, most recently in 2020 (also trained the runner-up), but that was only his second success of the last decade.
  • Henry De Bromhead has saddled two winners from 14 runners in the last 10 renewals, with Captain Guinness taking second last year.
  • Willie Mullins won the race for the first time in 2022 with Energumene, and for the second time in 2023 with the same horse.

Jockey Trends

  • Nico de Boinville endured his first losing ride in the race in 2022 when favourite Shishkin was pulled up. He's still won the race more times than any other jockey in the last 10 years with three wins, but Paul Townend has now won the last two.

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How did the trends do last year?

The reigning champion Energumene had been foot-perfect since his 2022 win and only become a stronger candidate for the race until his last run in the the Champion Chase's most prolific trial, the Clarence House Chase.

It was switched to Cheltenham from its regular home at Ascot, and their Energumene hit the last hard, fading to finish third as the 4/9 favourite. The Champion Chase is not a race that requires a last-time out win so that did not affect his status as the top trends pick, but it did move winner Editeur Du Gite into the frame as that was his first Grade 1 win. He ended up finishing fourth.

Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

Applying the key Champion Chase trends whittles the field down to just three contenders, last year's Arkle first and second, El Fabiolo and Jonbon and the horse who beat Jonbon at Cheltenham in January, Elixir De Nutz.

Now unbeaten in three hurdle races and six chases for Willie Mullins, El Fabiolo is a worthy favourite, and bang on track to become the latest Arkle winner to follow up in the Champion Chase. He would be the third seven-year-old to win in the last 10 years, and only the second to win having last run in Ireland not Britain, but these seem minor trends issues, and he is currently rated just as high as the absent Energumene at 175.

Jonbon, trained by top race trainer Nicky Henderson, was soundly beaten in the Arkle, but has since won the Grade 1 Celebration Chase and Tingle Creek at Sandown. He ticks all the boxes, but it's hard to see him turning the form around with the mighty El Fabiolo.

Ditto Elix De Nutz, who has a bit to prove, but could be an each-way shot at UK betting sites.

2023 Champion Chase Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Energumene 6/5f Willie Mullins Paul Townend
2nd Captain Guinness 12/1 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore
3rd Greaneteen 25/1 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
 

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.