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2022 Champion Chase Tips - 12/1 outsider can strike a blow for the Skeltons

By Jon Vine
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24 Jan 2022
  • Ante-post tips and odds for the 2022 Champion Chase
  • This Grade One headlines the card on day two of the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday 16th March 2022
  • Shishkin is currently the odds-on favourite ahead of Energumene
  • Nube Negra is our best each-way bet at 12/1
put the kettle on
Put The Kettle On (right) holds off Nube Negra (left) to win the Champion Chase. (Getty)
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Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival is headlined by the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Many of National Hunt racing's most famous names have claimed victory in this two-mile Grade One, and a Champion Chase win would guarantee the winner in a place in the annals of horse racing history.

To continue our tips for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, we've taken a look through the entries for the Champion Chase and picked out our best ante-post bets.
    Table Of Contents
  • 2022 Champion Chase Ante-Post Guide
  • 2022 Champion Chase Odds
  • The Defending Champion
  • Leading Contenders
  • Double Figures
  • Dangerous Outsiders
  • 2022 Champion Chase Tips – Ante-Post Verdict

2022 Champion Chase Ante-Post Guide


2022 Champion Chase Odds


Name
Odds
Shishkin4/6
Energumene3/1
Chacun Pour Soi12/1
Nube Negra12/1
Greaneteen14/1
Bar20/1

*Odds taken on 19/1/22*

The Defending Champion


Put The Kettle On2022 Champion Chase Defending ChampionGET 25/1 HERE
New customers only. 18+ T&Cs and wagering requirements apply.

To the dismay of the general public, Put The Kettle On managed to repel all challengers and win the Champion Chase in 2021. Perhaps, we shouldn’t have been so shocked at the result. Henry De Bromhead’s mare had utilised identical tactics when winning the Arkle the previous year and, at that point, boasted an unbeaten record around this tricky track.

Put The Kettle On has been comfortably beaten three times since then. Her 100% record at Prestbury Park went by the wayside in the Shloer Chase in November and I’m not expecting her to pull up any trees when she has her prep-run for Cheltenham at the Dublin Racing Festival. Put The Kettle On won this race on the back of a defeat last year. Yet, the manner in which she’s succumbed in recent starts will be a big worry to De Bromhead. I can’t see her contending in this race again. I wouldn’t be shocked if connections decided to cut their losses and head to the Mares’ Chase instead.

Leading Contenders


Shiskin2022 Champion ChaseGET 4/6 HERE
18+ only. Ts and Cs apply.

Topping the betting we find Shishkin, who’s now won all ten of his starts since falling on his first outing over hurdles. Nicky Henderson’s star won the Supreme in 2020 and the Arkle 12 months ago. Despite only being 75% fit, Shishkin thrashed Greaneteen in the Desert Orchid Chase on his reappearance at Kempton.

Shishkin came up against his closest challenger in the Champion Chase, Energumene in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot earlier this month. Willie Mullins’ star was unbeaten over fences going into that encounter. Energumene rounded off his novice campaign with a dominant victory at the Punchestown Festival and made a winning reappearance in the Hill Way Chase.

Paul Townend took Energumene straight to the front at Ascot and jumped fluently throughout. The same can't be said about Shishkin, who leapt out to his left throughout and pecked pretty badly on landing the sixth flight. Nico De Boinville got to work on his mount before the turn for home and Shishkin had two lengths to make up approaching the second-last. 

Showing the class of a true champion, Shishking produced his best jumps at the final two flights and ran down the front-running Energumene to snatch a narrow victory under the shadow of the post.

Paul Townend- Nicolai de Boinville
Shishkin (right) gets up late to beat Energumene in the Clarence House. (Getty)

Double Figures


Chacun Pour Soi2022 Champion ChaseGET 12/1 HERE
New customers only. 18+ T&Cs and wagering requirements apply.

Chacun Pour Soi was sent off as the favourite to win last year’s Champion Chase. Favourite backers were left disappointed, as Willie Mullins’ star failed to sparkle on the day, finishing a fairly limp third. Patrick Mullins rode Chacun Pour Soi in the Tingle Creek before Christmas. Prior to that jaunt to Sandown, Mullins’ ten-year-old sat between Shishkin and Energumene in the Cheltenham Festival betting. Sadly, his odds tumbled dramatically after a dismal showing at Sandown and an injury sustained since then plunges his participation at Cheltenham into serious doubt.

Harry Skelton looked to have timed his charge on Nube Negra perfectly last year, only to come up half-a-length short of the plucky Put The Kettle On. Dan Skelton’s star produced the finest performance of his career when bolting up in the Shloer Chase first time out this term. The gloss was taken off that victory when Nube Negra only beat Chacun Pour Soi home in the Tingle Creek, and he too can be backed at a fairly lengthy price.

Under an excellent ride from Bryony Frost, Greaneteen kicked clear to win the Tingle Creek. Paul Nicholls’ two-time Grade One winner was soundly beaten by Shishkin at Kempton, but he was conceding a penalty to the ante-post favourite that day. Nicholls plans to send his top two-mile chaser over to Punchestown for the Dublin Chase next month and there’s a chance he could skip Cheltenham altogether, if he endures a gruelling time at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Dangerous Outsiders

If Put The Kettle On doesn’t run in the Queen Mother, Henry De Bromhead could be represented by Envoi Allen. De Bromhead’s charge has won twice this term, but neither performance was tinged with the star quality we’d come to expect from the former two-time Cheltenham winner, prior to his move from Gordon Elliott’s yard. While two miles is certainly on the sharp side, Cheveley Park already have Allaho for the Ryanair Chase and Envoi Allen’s latest win came over the minimum distance.

De Bromhead could also throw Captain Guinness into the mix. Last year’s Arkle third looked good when winning a Grade Three on his reappearance. Although he was only beaten five-and-a-half lengths in the Tingle Creek, Captain Guinness never really threatened to get involved and it’s hard to see how he’ll find ten pounds worth of improvement before day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

Paul Nicholls could throw former winner, Politologue into his fourth Champion Chase. Hitman is another possible runner for the Champion Trainer. First Flow, Allmankind and Editeur Du Gite are also worth a mention. Not because they could challenge for the win, but they have achieved enough this season to warrant a place in the field.

2022 Champion Chase Tips – Ante-Post Verdict


Nube Negra E/W2022 Champion Chase Ante-Post TipGET 12/1 HERE
New customers only. 18+ T&Cs and wagering requirements apply.

I fancied Energumene to beat Shishkin in the Clarence House, as I thought soft ground around a tight, right-handed track would suit Willie Mullins' front-runner. Energumene jumped better than Shishkin and travelled better than Shishkin for 95% of the race, but it still wasn't enough to beat Nicky Henderson's star.

Round two will take place in the Champion Chase and another slobber-knocker is expected. I just don't see how Energumene reverses that form with Shishkin at Cheltenham.

Nico De Boinville's mount is bound to jump better as he reverts back to a left-handed track. Henderson's star is also unbeaten in three starts at the Cheltenham Festival, whereas Energumene has never travelled to Prestbury Park before. Even at 4/6, I don't think Shishkin is a terrible ante-post bet.

nube negra
Harry Skelton riding Nube Negra clear the last to win The Shloer Chase at Cheltenham. (Getty)

That being said, I’m not going to back either at the ante-post stage. Instead, I’m going to include NUBE NEGRA in my Cheltenham Festival tips for the second year in a row.

Dan Skelton’s star was my selection 12 months ago, so I was devastated when his late lunge came up short. Harry Skelton’s mount travelled supremely well throughout the race and, approaching the last, he had the leaders in his crosshairs. 

A slight peck on landing didn’t scupper Nube Negra’s momentum, but the presence of Greaneteen on his outside did Skelton no favours. By the time he’d angled out and muscled his way past Paul Nicholls’ runner, Aidan Coleman had already punched the air in celebration and Nube Negra had to settle for second.

Nube Negra’s victory in the Shloer Chase earlier this season was outstanding. The Racing Post handed Skelton’s star a rating of 172 for that performance, a mark only Shishkin and Energumene have better this term. 

I have no idea why the Skelton’s decided to go to the Tingle Creek. Dan has said a number of times in the last year that Nube Negra goes best when fresh. So, to run him around Sandown – a track he hasn’t taken to in the past – on the back of just a three-week break seemed like lunacy at the time and Nube Negra’s performance on that day was predictably flat. I have no trouble putting a big, fat line through that run and pretending like it never happened.

Dan Skelton’s stable star was a 12/1 shot when I tipped him up for the 2021 Champion Chase and he can currently be backed at an identical price. I see no better value options in the ante-post betting for this year’s Queen Mother.

GB

Verdict

Shishkin is, undoubtedly, the most likely winner of the 2022 Champion Chase, but the best value bet to me is Nube Negra, who holds plenty of each-way appeal at 12/1.

2022 Champion Chase Ante-Post Tip: Nube Negra Each-Way @12/1 at William Hill - 15 Units
Nube Negra
Each-Way
@12/1 - 15 Units
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