Champions Chase Ante-Post Tip: Great Field Worth Chancing in Queen Mother Champion Chase
Great Field – 14-1 William Hill ( money back if does not run at Cheltenham festival )
Despite the fact that there is still nine weeks to go before the start of the 2018 Cheltenham festival bookmakers are keen to instil some life into their ante-post markets for the four-day extravaganza in March with many money back offers available, particularly on the five championship races.
William Hill will refund stakes on any horse that fails to make the festival, a decision they may come to regret regarding their offer of 14-1 about the Willie Mullins-trained Great Field in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on the second day of the festival. Since joining the Closutton handler from France the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old has won five of his six starts, the only defeat coming in the 2016 County Hurdle.
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Unbeaten since going over fences last January the spectacular front runner has not seen a rival in winning four races over the bigger obstacles, the most recent being a wide margin victory over the useful Ordinary World and Ball D’Arc in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown festival last April. With an official rating of 161 the son of Great Pretender is clearly a talented performer over the minimum trip and the one dark horse in the Champion Chase capable of mixing it with the likes of Altior and Douvan.
While Great Field has had his fair share of minor problems since last seen, connections issued a bullish statement concerning the horse recently saying that he would be ready to run later next month. Another impressive front-running display on his seasonal reappearance would surely book the gelding a place in the Champion Chase field on Wednesday 14th March.
The ante-post market on the two mile test of speed and jumping is currently headed by Altior at around 5-4 but Nicky Henderson’s indisposed stable star is far from certain to turn up, a remark which also applies to Great Field’s illustrious stablemate Douvan. Another Mullins’ inmate Min was disappointing at Leopardstown recently and has plenty of questions to answer while the likes of Yorkhill, Un De Sceaux and Fox Norton have more likely targets.
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The only horse, barring accidents, who looks a guaranteed runner at this stage is Paul Nicholls’ improving Politologue ( 4-1 Paddy Power ) and should Altior fail to turn up it would be no surprise to see Great Field challenge that horse for favouritism come the day of the race.