Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Cheltenham) Betting Tips & Preview – Wednesday 14th March 2018

Will they or won’t they? Finally, it seems that the answer is they will. Altior and Douvan really will lock horns on the Cheltenham turf in the Day 2 feature. Should they both arrive in peak condition, this race will be worth the entry fee alone.

In one of the big clashes of the week, we will be siding with the trainer who has taken three of the past six renewals of this race.

Top Tips

Altior to win @ 11/10

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

2m is the trip for this Grade 1 chase contest. Nine go to post, attempting to speed through the Cheltenham mud in the race for £400,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Heavy, soft in places 2m Grade 1 £400,000 9 1/4 1-3

Recent Winners

This contest hasn’t been one for the youngsters of late, with six of the most recent winners being aged eight or older. It’s honours even between the British heavyweight trainers in the past decade. Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are both boasting three wins apiece.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2017 Special Tiara 11/1 Henry De Bromhead Noel Fehily
2016 Sprinter Sacre 5/1 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
2015 Dodging Bullets 9/2 Paul Nicholls Sam Twiston-Davies
2014 Sire De Grugy 11/4 Gary Moore Jamie Moore
2013 Sprinter Sacre 1/4 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty

Analysis: Altior Looks To Have All The Answers

There are a number of runners in this year’s line-up who have had a more conventional prep than Altior and Douvan, including the likes of defending champion, Special Tiara and Paul Nicholls’ Politologue. However in terms of raw ability, there is nothing to match the duo at the head of the market.

Altior Looking Awesome

Since being beaten in a bumper back in 2015, Nicky Henderson’s Altior has gone 12 races unbeaten over obstacles. Not only has he been winning these races, he has invariably been thrashing the opposition. It’s now getting on for two and a half years since anything even got to within four lengths of him. Four times a winner at this Grade 1 level, including in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Chase, for many a judge this is the best horse in training, bar none.

He has however had his issues, being off the track for the best part of a year prior to his recent come back at Newbury. Having pulverised Politologue that day though, it seems all of the old ability remains. There has been late drama with lameness due to puss in his foot, but the latest update is upbeat and he is expected to make the race.

Can Douvan Return To Devastating Best?

If Altior’s overall record is impressive, then that of the Willie Mullins runner, Douvan, is simply sensational. A winner of 14 races under rules including no fewer than eight in Grade 1 company, in common with Altior he also has a Supreme and Arkle win to his name. This is the horse who chased Sizing John out of the two mile division, so impossible a task did it seem to beat him. Sent off at just 2/9 for this last year, and having won by at least three lengths in each of his previous 14 starts, Douvan was fully expected to produce yet another masterclass. However, he trailed home a laboured seventh and hasn’t been seen since. Only those closest to the horse will really know how close to his best he is, but it looks a tall order to win this after so long on the side-lines. Still only eight years old though he may well have it in him.

Or Will Min Master Them All?

Should Altior’s problematic foot affect his performance after all, and Douvan fail to fire, then the horse most likely to take advantage is the Mullins second string, Min. Also going in the Rich Ricci colours, this one has seven lengths to find with Altior on their 2016 Supreme encounter, but that came over hurdles and connections will be hoping these bigger obstacles help the seven year old bridge the gap. Min’s narrow verdict over Simply Ned two starts back – a race in which he was subsequently demoted to second – wouldn’t be good enough here. His 12 length thrashing of that same rival last time out though very well might be.

Final Verdict

This race has a pretty similar look to it as Day 1’s Champion Hurdle, with the main threat to a Nicky Henderson trained odds-on shot being a runner from the Willie Mullins yard bidding to rediscover former glories.

We would find it tough to split Altior and Douvan even if both had had a smooth preparation for the race. With Douvan not having been seen at the track since this race last year, and Altior having that excellent effort at Newbury behind him, we have to side with the 2017 Arkle hero. Altior for the win.

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