The Champion Chase is one of the biggest betting events of the Cheltenham Festival, and the market regularly changes throughout the season. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on horseracing.net for expert views and analysis on the 2020 Champion Chase as the picture becomes clearer.
The latest odds for the Queen Mother Champion Chase will be listed below just as soon as they become available.
Queen Mother Champion Chase Tips
Tips for the 2020 Queen Mother Champion Chase will appear here.
What is the Queen Mother Champion Chase?
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature event on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, which is traditionally held on a Wednesday in March. A Grade One steeplechase over just shy of two miles (one mile, seven furlongs and 199 yards), the Champion Chase is the main minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar. There have been a host of multiple winners of the race over the years, particularly recently, with Altior, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded and Moscow Flyer all achieving the feat this century.
The history of the Champion Chase
The Champion Chase was first run in 1959 as the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase, and the inaugural running was won by Quita Que. Several legendary names have won the race over the years, including Flyingbolt in 1966, who is officially the second-greatest National Hunt horse of all-time behind Arkle. Each of Fortria (1960 & 1961), Drinny Double (1967 & 1968), Royal Relief (1972 & 1974), Skymas (1976 & 1977) and Hilly Way (1978 & 1979) won more than one renewal of the race in its first 20 years, though Badsworth Boy became the first and remains the only horse to win three renewals of the race for the Dickinson family, between 1983-1985. Several horses have won more than one renewal since, including Moscow Flyer (2003 & 2005), Master Minded (2008 & 2009), Altior (2018 & 2019) and the great Sprinter Sacre (2013 & 2016), who have all achieved the feat since the turn of the century. The race was given its present title in 1980, in honour of the Queen Mother on her 80th birthday, who was a keen National Hunt fan. The race didn’t have a sponsor until 2007, and is currently backed by Betway.
What happened in the 2019 Champion Chase?
Altior has nothing short of taken the National Hunt world by storm since winning a bumper on debut at Market Rasen in May 2014, and he arrived at the 2019 Queen Mother Champion Chase unbeaten in 17 starts over obstacles and counting. Such was Altior’s grip on the division that he arrived having faced and beaten all but two of his eight rivals on the day - only Castlegrace Paddy and Hell’s Kitchen had yet to face him - and as a result he was sent off as a heavy 11/4-on favourite. Altior was expected to win as he liked, though the tacky conditions caused plenty of issues, and he was given a real fright, with both Sceau Royal and Politologue attacking the champion after the final flight, forcing him to find plenty to assert in the final 100 yards. In winning, Altior matched Big Buck’s record of 18 straight wins, something he improved to 19 when winning the Celebration Chase at Sandown the following month.
Several legendary chasers could stake a strong claim to this title, though few Champion Chase winners pulled at the heartstrings quite like the Nicky Henderson-trained Sprinter Sacre. Having finished third in the 2011 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Sprinter Sacre quickly made the most of the switch to chasing, and finished his novice season with a perfect record of five wins out of five, taking apart the field in the 2012 Arkle Trophy. Sprinter Sacre quickly took control of the two-mile chase division, and his 19-length victory in the 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase led to many declaring him to be the best horse since the great Arkle. However, the bubble would burst the following season, when Sprinter Sacre was pulled-up due to injury in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, and subsequently diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Many assumed that Sprinter Sacre’s best days were behind him, and he struggled to return to his brilliant best when eventually returning from injury in January 2015, suffering defeat on all three of his starts that season, including when pulled-up in the 2015 Champion Chase. However, he bounced back to winning ways on reappearance the following season, striking in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham, before following up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton a month later. The presence of the previous year’s Arkle winner, Un De Sceaux, in the 2016 Champion Chase meant that Sprinter Sacre was widely expected to be playing for a place at best, but he found plenty of his old spark to take control of the race from two fences out, before holding on in the run in - to ensure that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Are there any trials for the Champion Chase?
There are several recognised Champion Chase trials throughout the jumps season, with the most important being the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December, and the Clarence House Chase (January) and the Ascot Chase (February), which are both held at Ascot. Other races to keep an eye on include the Haldon Gold Cup (Exeter), the Shloer Chase (Cheltenham), the Desert Orchid Chase (Kempton) and the Game Spirit Chase (Newbury). Over in Ireland, Champion Chase contenders regularly come from the Fortria Chase at Navan, the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase at Punchestown, the Hilly Way Chase at Cork and the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown.
Who is the most successful jockey in the Champion Chase?
The joint-most successful jockeys in the history of the Champion Chase are Pat Taaffe and Barry Geraghty, with five wins apiece. Taaffe’s five Champion Chase wins came on board Fortria (1960 & 1961), Ben Stack (1964), Flyingbolt (1966) and Straight Fort (1970), while Geraghty’s five wins in the Champion Chase came courtesy of Moscow Flyer (2003 & 2005), Big Zeb (2010), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) and Sprinter Sacre (2013).
Who is the most successful trainer in the Champion Chase?
The joint-most successful trainers in the history of the Champion Chase are Nicky Henderson and Tom Dreaper, who both have five wins to their name each. Henderson’s five Champion Chase victories came with Remittance Man (1992), Finian’s Rainbow (2012), Sprinter Sacre (2013 & 2016) and Altior (2018 & 2019), while Tom Dreaper’s Champion Chase wins came courtesy of Fortria (1960 & 1961), Ben Stack (1964), Flyingbolt (1966), Muir (1969) and Straight Fort (1970).