Instead, Paul Nicholls’ Politologue galloped them silly from the front to score a surprise success and while Defi Du Seuil has already been ruled out for the season, both Chacun Pour Soi and Altior will be gunning for the crown at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Willie Mullins’ charge will likely go off a short-priced favourite, having seemingly put the frgaility that has blighted his career so far behind him to string together a sequence of three successive wins this season, two of them at Grade 1 level, the most recent being the most impressive, at the Dublin Racing Festival in February.
Altior’s season has, by contrast been anything but straight forward, with a controversial withdrawal from the Tingle Creek and a weather-enforced delay to the Game Spirit meaning the four-time Festival winner will seek a third Champion Chase success off the back of just one run in the last 12 months.
The aforementioned Tingle Creek was won by Politologue, but he was in turn handily beaten by First Flow in the Clarence House at Ascot in January. That horse was producing the best performance of his life to date with a bold front-running display under David Bass, while the Dan Skelton-trained Nube Negra comes in with a similar profile, having made good on his potential to win at graded level for the first time in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton at Christmas, with Altior trailing in second.
Of the others with leading claims, last year’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On brings bags of course form and will be looking to justify the game decision to head here rather than the new Mares’ Chase, while Sceau Royal’s connections will be praying for the rain to stay away, with decent ground key to his chance.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup will be run at 3:05pm on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the second day of this year’s Festival.
(Odds provided by Betfair NRNB market and are subject to change, correct as of 24/02/21)
- Chacun Pour Soi 4/6
- Altior 7/1
- Nube Negra 8/1
- Politologue 8/1
- Fakir D’oudairies 12/1
- Sceau Royal 12/1
- Min 12/1
- Put The Kettle On 12/1
- First Flow 12/1
- 16/1 bar
How to watch the Champion Chase
TV channel: The Champion Chase will be shown live on ITV1 and Racing TV.
Live stream: TV licence payers can stream the race for free via the ITV Hub website and app. Subscribers can also stream the action via the Racing TV website.
Terms: Min £20 in Exch bets on Saturday races, excludes ante-post. Max £10 free bet per qualifying day, awarded 15/03. Betfair Rewards ‘Basic’ customers excluded. T&Cs apply