Queen Mother Champion Chase Ante-Post Odds: Back this 14/1 shot against Shishkin

Unbeaten chaser Shishkin is a warm order for the Champion Chase
Unbeaten chaser Shishkin is a warm order for the Champion Chase

Twenty two horses have been entered for the 2022 Queen Mother Champion Chase, and we are all set for an epic clash between the classy duo of Shishkin and Energumene on March 16, but we take on the pair with an each-way alternative that has excellent Cheltenham form...

There's only one place you can start when discussing the Champion Chase and that's with the British superstar chaser Shishkin, who is a shade of odds-against (11/10) to claim his first two-mile Championship crown, and duly record his third Cheltenham Festival success. A gutsy winner of the 2020 Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Nicky Henderson's star then obliterated his rivals in the 2021 Arkle Challenge Trophy, and a repeat of that effort would see him play a major role in the Grade 1 showpiece on day two of the meeting.

Having produced a brilliant reappearance run when breezing to victory in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in late December, the Seven Barrows raider is a well deserved favourite, but he will face a leading Irish speedster in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene, who is the 5/2 second favourite with the bookmakers.

Six wins out of six over fences has catapulted Shishkin to the top of the chasing tree, but Energumene has won all five of his chase starts, and has certainly brought a buzz to the Irish chasing scene over the last couple of years, and he's set for his first trip to Prestbury Park in the spring.

A dual Grade 1 winner over fences, Energumene showed his class at the 2021 Punchestown Festival, as he romped to a 12-length win in the Ryanair Novice Chase, before his comeback run this season saw him cruise to glory in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork.

Runners

Shishkin
1
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Energumene
1
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Nube Negra
1
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Chacun Pour Soi
1
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Greaneteen
1
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Allaho
1
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Politologue
1
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Captain Guinness
1
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Envoi Allen
1
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Put The Kettle On
1
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Hitman
1
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First Flow
1
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Sceau Royal
1
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Editeur Du Gite
1
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Funambule Sivola
1
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Allmankind
1
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Notebook
1
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Hardline
1
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Samcro
1
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Dunvegan
1
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Battleoverdoyen
1
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Rouge Vif
1
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Each Way Terms
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Odds correct as of 2022-01-28 00:37 Odds subject to change.

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Energumene's five chase wins have come by a combined winning distance of 61 lengths, with his smallest winning margin being eight lengths, so he has been extremely dominant, and a clash with Shishkin is truly mouth-watering. But, with Shishkin having showed he can excel around the undulations of Cheltenham, Energumene is yet to show he can act at the Gloucestershire venue, so at this early stage of the season, before they possibly clash in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot, then it's the Henderson raider that looks the more solid punting option.

If Shishkin and Energumene do turn up for the 2022 Champion Chase then it would be no surprise to see a number of contenders switch their plans and take in the Ryanair Chase the following day, as the two heavyweights of the two-mile division are sure to prove tough cookies to break down, so it's a task to try and find those that could figure in the race.

Well fancied for last year's race, Chacun Pour Soi could be another shot fired by the Mullins gun, as he looks to improve on last season's third placed finish. He bounced back when beaten at odds-on in this race by winning at the Punchestown Festival, where he beat Ryanair hero Allaho, but on his comeback run this term he was an extremely disappointing last of five in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park, so he's a very sketchy betting proposition at the moment.

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Winner of that aforementioned Tingle Creek was the Paul Nicholls-trained Greaneteen and he's sitting fourth in the betting at 14/1, as he looks to hand the Ditcheat handler his seventh win in the Champion Chase. Impressive at Sandown that day, Greaneteen was put well and truly in his place by Shishkin in the Desert Orchid last month, as the Henderson charge won by ten lengths, and it could prove that another Nicholls contender is a betting proposition.

The 2020 winner Politologue maybe in the twilight of his career, but the galloping grey comes to light when he visits to Cheltenham, and with this likely to be his only feasible option at the festival, the 20/1 with some firms could prove eye-catching.

Reigning champion Put The Kettle On has drifted staggeringly to 25/1 for this race after she has failed to find any sort of form of late, and it's hard to fancy her with the way she's been performing, so can be ignored, while the classy Irish-trained duo of Allaho and Envoi Allen are entered, but both will likely take in the Ryanair.

At this stage, the value play in the betting is the Dan Skelton-trained NUBE NEGRA, who at 14/1 looks a superb each-way bet. Narrowly edged out by Put The Kettle On in last year's race, he showed he excels at Cheltenham when he bounded to glory in the Shloer Chase back in November (beat Politologue & Put The Kettle On). A disappointing run in the Tingle Creek (fourth) has seen him eased in the betting for the Champion Chase, but he oozes class, and with him likely to adopt patient tactics and try and strike late then he could well pick up the pieces.

He will find it extremely tough to beat an on-song Shishkin and Energumene, but as an alternative to the two favourites, Nube Negra is a solid ante-post selection with a couple of months to go until the big race takes place.

2022 Queen Mother Champion Chase
Nube Negra silk

Nube Negra (EW)

Cheltenham Festival Tips
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