Ladbrokes Champion Chase Tips: Delta to dazzle at Down Royal

Ladbrokes Champion Chase Tips: We pick out our best bet for the Grade 1 feature at Down Royal
Ladbrokes Champion Chase Tips: We pick out our best bet for the Grade 1 feature at Down Royal

Steve Chambers previews Saturday's Ladbrokes Champion Chase, which will see the likes of Delta Work and Presenting Percy aim to show their Cheltenham Gold Cup credentials...

A stellar field will line up for the eagerly-anticipated renewal of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase on Saturday afternoon at Down Royal, and Gordon Elliott is set to unleash a blistering quintet at the valuable Grade 1, as he looks to win the race for the third time in six years. The master Irish handler's charge will be spearheaded by the star duo of Delta Work and Presenting Percy, who head into the 2020/21 campaign as potential Gold Cup contenders at the Cheltenham Festival, and a win here would certainly launch them into that category.

Delta Work finished a fine fifth in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup, and this season could be a campaign that sees him turn into one of the finest chasers in training. Still seven years old, Delta Work has amassed a glittering CV, which includes a host of Grade 1 wins, and the reigning Irish Gold Cup hero will be a real tough nut to crack if performing near his best. Well beaten in this race last season, Delta Work finished behind Road To Respect, Clan Des Obeaux and Alpha Des Obeaux in the 2019 running of the race, and the latter of that trio will line up again. However, that below-par run was the only one he produced last season, so it's easy to ignore.

A winner of a beginners chase at the same Down Royal meeting in 2018 shows that he acts at the track, and he can get his head in front first time up. Elliott is likely to have bigger plans for him as the season progresses, but there appears to be slightly less quality taking him on this time around, and he could prove to be a cut above if replicating his performances in the Irish Gold Cup and Cheltenham Gold Cup last season.

Presenting Percy is a fascinating new addition to the Elliott team this season, and having switched from Pat Kelly's yard the nine-year-old will look to be galvanised by a switch of stables, as he has failed to sparkle since winning the 2018 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. A late faller in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, Presenting Percy was unable to lay it down to the eventual winner Al Boum Photo, but he travelled smoothly for most of the race, highlighting the fact he still has some notable ability. 

Like Delta Work, the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be the ultimate goal this season for Presenting Percy, who will run at Down Royal for the first time in his career. The 2017 Pertemps Final winner has oozed class when on a going day, but in more recent times he has found to be lacking on the big stage, and connections will hope that a change of scene and a switch to Elliott's yard will rekindle his best form. He's certainly one not to write off, but it's sensible to stick with Delta Work when weighing up both contenders' chances, as Presenting Percy is a little less reliable than his stablemate.

Of the other Elliott runners, The Storyteller is the other worthy of a notable mention and is a contender that will head into the contest with fitness on his side, as he was last seen winning a Grade 3 at Punchestown by over seven lengths earlier this month. He got the better of Tout Est Permis and Balko Des Flos in that event and that duo will line up in Saturday's Ladbrokes Champion Chase, as they look to reverse that form. Often seen switching between hurdles (second in 2020 Pertemps Final) and fences, The Storyteller has never really shaped like he could be a top notch Grade 1 performer over either obstacles, and has been more impressive in the handicap sphere (won 2018 Plate at Cheltenham Festival), so while he lines up in fine form, he will struggle to follow up that Punchestown success against proven Grade 1 performers.

Henry de Bromhead saddled Valseur Lido to victory in this race in 2016 and the classy trainer will not only saddle the abovementioned Balko Des Flos, but will have a stronger challenger in the shape of Chris's Dream, who is hovering around the third favourite mark at the time of writing. Tenth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the lightly-raced eight-year-old showed last season when winning the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park that he can deliver over fences, but whether he has the class to deal with the likes of Delta Work and Presenting Percy, that is up for debate.

The 2019 Troytown winner could be another horse very much like The Storyteller that just falls below top level, and while he has Graded wins to his name, could be one that performs better in competitive handicaps, where he will have a significant weight on his back, so it's hard to see Chris's Dream having enough to get the better of some of the well-fancied Elliott runners.

Noel Meade's Tout Est Permis is another that switches codes with regularity, and he was a fine third in the Pertemps behind The Storyteller, but having been beaten by that charge earlier this month then it's hard see him reversing that here, while Snow Falcon and Ravenhill take their chance, and both blow a lot more cold than hot, so it's safe to see it's the top of the market that can dominate.

A proven Grade 1 winner, Delta Work could be one of the premier Irish staying chasers to light up the new National Hunt season, and he can kick off his campaign on a winning note and duly hand the Gigginstown House Stud operation their eighth win on the bounce in this fascinating race.


Ladbrokes Champion Chase, Down Royal, Saturday 31st October - back Delta Work at 15/8

Ladbrokes Champion Chase
Delta Work silk

Delta Work

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