Champion Chase Pre-Season Guide
- 2024 Champion Chase Odds
- 👑 The Defending Champion 👑
- ⚠️ The Main Danger ⚠️
- ♞ The Dark Horses ♞
Ladies' Day at the Cheltenham Festival is headlined by the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Energumene joined the illustrious list of back-to-back Champion Chase winners when he retained his crown 12 months ago. Willie Mullins' star looks likely to return for a third crack at the Queen Mother in 2024, where he could take on the top two from this year's Arkle.
Here's our ante-post guide to the 2024 Champion Chase
, including an early Cheltenham Festival tip.
2024 Champion Chase Odds
|Editeur Du Gite||20/1|
👑 The Defending Champion 👑
I backed Edwardstone against Energumene in last year's Champion Chase, following that bizarre running of the Clarence House Chase, which was won by Editeur Du Gite. When the rains came on the morning of the Queen Mother, I would have happily switched my stake over to Willie Mullins' charge, who relished the rain-softened ground as he retained his crown with another dominant display.
Energumene wasn't nearly as impressive on quicker ground at Punchestown, where the aging Chacun Pour Soi almost caused an almighty upset. While I wouldn't read too much into what happens at Punchestown, Energumene will be a ten-year-old by the time we reach next year's Cheltenham Festival
and I'd be keen to take the defending champion on if we got genuine spring ground.
⚠️ The Main Danger ⚠️
Despite his exploits in the past two Champion Chases, Energumene currently trails El Fabiolo in the Queen Mother market. After a fairly sketchy round of jumping on his chasing debut, Willie Mullins' star produced a stunning performance to beat Banbridge, Appreciate It and Dysart Dynamo at the Dublin Racing Festival, before scoring in the Arkle as the short-priced favourite.
Again, I took the Irish raider on with Jonbon on day one at Cheltenham, but Nicky Henderson's star was no match for El Fabiolo, who claimed his second Group One win in decisive fashion. Mullins' six-year-old then capped an unbeaten novice campaign with a bloodless victory over two of his stablemates at Punchestown.
Given they're representing different owners, and two owners who love to win at Cheltenham, I doubt Willie Mullins will be given the opportunity to split El Fabiolo and Energumene up. Not unless Energumene looks to have lost his turn of foot during the first half of the season and he's stepped up in trip for the Ryanair. If the two were to meet on decent ground in the Champion Chase, my money would be on this year's Arkle
♞ The Dark Horses ♞
Jonbon successfully fought off his elders to win the Celebration Chase at Sandown on his final novice start, and he'll fly the flag for Nicky Henderson in the Queen Mother. I doubt whether he can improve enough to turn the tables on El Fabiolo and I wouldn't be shocked if Jonbon was stepped up beyond two miles during the first half of the season.
We didn't see the real Edwardstone at Cheltenham this year and sadly, given his advancing years, that was probably his best chance at ever winning the Queen Mother. Editeur Du Gite claimed an unlikely Grade One win in the Clarence House, but two 30-length defeats at Cheltenham and Sandown don't bode well for Gary Moore's nine-year-old.
Clearly, there's a lack of depth in the open two-mile division. Few at longer prices hold any sort of appeal. Turners Novices' Chase
could be more effective down over two miles, but Laura Morgan's stable star isn't currently priced up for the Queen Mother. We're yet to see the best of Dysart Dynamo
but, given his erratic personality, I wouldn't trust him with any sort of bet at this stage of the season.