Altior and Douvan head 30 entries for Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

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Thursday, January 11, 2018 - Two of Jump racing’s biggest names Altior and Douvan headline 30 entries for the £400,000 G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (up from £350,000 in 2017) at Cheltenham on the second day of The Festival, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 14.
Both are two-time winners at The Festival. Altior (Nicky Henderson), the 11/8 favourite with Betway, is unbeaten in 11 starts over hurdles and fences, while Douvan’s (8/1) sole defeat in 14 starts since joining Willie Mullins came in last year’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, after which he was found to be injured. Neither has raced so far this season.
In their absence, Politologue (Paul Nicholls, 7/2) has carried all before him. Following a comfortable success over stablemate San Benedeto (33/1) in the G2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in November, he defeated Fox Norton (Colin Tizzard, 10/1) by a half-length in a thrilling renewal of the G1 Betway Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park on December 9.
Politologue, now a seven-year-old, continued his winning streak with a 13-length verdict over Vaniteux in the G2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park on December 27.
Owner John Hales, whose colours were carried to victory in this race by One Man in 1998 and Azertyuiop in 2004, said: “Politologue is an improving young horse.
“We are getting him ready for the Game Spirit at Newbury on February 10, and then, all being well, he will go on to Cheltenham for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
“He has shown this season that he is a true two miler, and not a two and a half miler. He has the cruising speed and tremendous jumping ability. The Tingle Creek meant a lot because it was a fabulous performance. His jumping was superb – quick and accurate – and I thought he won the race well.
“I am sure the horse will put up a good performance at Cheltenham. Whether we are going to be a match for Altior remains to be seen, but it is a race to look forward to.”
Paul Nicholls is the most successful current trainer in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase with five victories courtesy of Call Equiname (1999), Azertyuiop (2004), Master Minded (2008 & 2009) and Dodging Bullets (2013).
Last year’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Special Tiara (Henry de Bromhead IRE, 16/1) is one of a record 17 Irish-trained entries (previous highest 14 in 2015). Stablemate Ordinary World (50/1) is also engaged.
Ireland’s champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins has nine entries in total. Joining Douvan is 2017 Ryanair Chase scorer Un De Sceaux (12/1), another dual winner at The Festival Yorkhill (6/1), plus Great Field (11/1) and Min (5/1), who both captured G1 novice contests over two miles last season.
More high-profile entries include multiple G1 winner God’s Own (Tom George, 33/1), Ar Mad (Gary Moore, 33/1) and Charbel (Kim Bailey, 25/1).
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase – Betway prices:  11/8 Altior; 7/2 Politilogue; 5/1 Min; 6/1 Yorkhill; 8/1 Douvan; 10/1 Fox Norton; 11/1 Great Field; 12/1 Un De Sceaux; 16/1 Special Tiara; 20/1 Top Notch; 25/1 Black Hercules, Charbel, Polidam, Waiting Patiently; 33/1 A Toi Phil, American Tom, Ar Mad, Cloudy Dream, Forest Bihan, God’s Own, San Benedeto, Top Gamble; 50/1 Ball D’Arc, Doctor Phoenix, Foxtail Hill, Ordinary World, Tell Us More, The Game Changer, Tully East; 66/1 Valdez. Each-way ¼ 1, 2, 3
Betway special: 2/1 Willie Mullins to train the winner
44 engaged in Ryanair Chase
Last year’s winner Un De Sceaux features among 44 entries for the £350,000 G1 Ryanair Chase (up from £300,000 in 2017), run over the intermediate distance of two miles and five furlongs on the third day of The Festival, St Patrick’s Thursday, March 15.
His trainer Willie Mullins accounts for an amazing 14 of the record 24 Irish-trained entries (previous highest 20 in 2014). Mullins also has Killultagh VicYorkhill and exciting mare Benie Des Dieux among his contenders.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, yet to win the race though he has had four seconds, is represented by eight entries in total, headed by Road To Respect, successful over the course and distance last season at The Festival, andDisko.
Nicky Henderson has three in-form entries in Top Notch, who has landed two G2 chases in good style already this season, top-class hurdler L’Ami Serge and improving handicapper Gold Present.
G1 Melling Chase victor Fox Norton and past winner Cue Card represent trainer Colin Tizzard and the Malcolm Jefferson-trained pair of Cloudy Dream and Waiting Patiently are also engaged.
The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
Grade 1, £400,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.30pm Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Two miles (1m 7f 199y). For 5yo+ who are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including the day prior to confirmation – horses who are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain, Ireland or France may also be entered & such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including the day prior to confirmation would merit a minimum rating of 130 (the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final). Weights: 11st 10lb. Allowances: mares 7lb. Entries closed January 9, entries revealed January 11 (30 entries), scratchings’ deadline February 13, £17,500 supplementary entry & six-day confirmation stage March 8. Final 48-hour declaration stage, 10am, March 12. Maximum number of runners – 24.
Horse Age Owner Trainer
A TOI PHIL (FR) 8 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR) 8 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
ALTIOR (IRE) 8 Patricia Pugh Nicky Henderson
AMERICAN TOM (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
AR MAD (FR) 8 Ashley Head Gary Moore
BALL D’ARC (FR) 7 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
BLACK HERCULES (IRE) 9 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
CHARBEL (IRE) 7 Julie and David Martin Kim Bailey
DOCTOR PHOENIX (IRE) 10 Nick Bradley Racing Club Gordon Elliott IRE
DOUVAN (FR) 8 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
FOREST BIHAN (FR) 7 P J Martin Brian Ellison
FOX NORTON (FR) 8 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Colin Tizzard
FOXTAIL HILL (IRE) 9 Options O Syndicate Nigel Twiston-Davies
GOD’S OWN (IRE) 10 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George
GREAT FIELD (FR) 7 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE
MIN (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
ORDINARY WORLD (IRE) 8 Chris Jones Henry de Bromhead IRE
POLIDAM (FR) 9 Simon Munir/Isaac Souede Willie Mullins IRE
POLITOLOGUE (FR) 7 John Hales Paul Nicholls
SAN BENEDETO (FR) 7 P J Vogt Paul Nicholls
SPECIAL TIARA 11 Sally Rowley-Williams Henry de Bromhead IRE
TELL US MORE (IRE) 9 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
THE GAME CHANGER (IRE) 9 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
TOP GAMBLE (IRE) 10 Walters Plant Hire & James & Jean Potter Kerry Lee
TOP NOTCH (FR) 7 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
TULLY EAST (IRE) 8 Barry Connell Alan Fleming IRE
UN DE SCEAUX (FR) 10 E O’Connell Willie Mullins IRE
VALDEZ 11 Riverdee Stable Alan King
WAITING PATIENTLY (IRE) 7 Richard Collins Malcolm Jefferson
YORKHILL (IRE) 8 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
 
30 entries
17 Irish-trained
 
The Ryanair Chase
Grade 1, £350,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.50pm, Cheltenham, Thursday, March 15, 2018, two miles & five furlongs (2m 4f 166y). For 5yo+ who are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including the day prior to confirmation – horses who are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain, Ireland or France may also be entered & such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including the day prior to confirmation would merit a minimum rating of 130 (the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final). Weights: 5-y-o 11st 9lb, 6-y-o and upwards 11st 10lb. Allowances: mares 7lb. Entries closed January 9, entries revealed January 11 (44 entries), scratchings deadline February 13, £15,000 supplementary entry stage and six-day confirmation stage March 9. Final 48-hour declaration stage, 10.00am, March 13. Maximum number of runners – 24.
Horse Age Owner Trainer
A TOI PHIL (FR) 8 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR) 8 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
AMERICAN TOM (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
AR MAD (FR) 8 Ashley Head Gary Moore
ASO (FR) 8 The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams
BACHASSON (FR) 7 E O’Connell Willie Mullins IRE
BALKO DES FLOS (FR) 7 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
BALL D’ARC (FR) 7 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
BELLSHILL (IRE) 8 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
BENIE DES DIEUX (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
BLACK HERCULES (IRE) 9 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
CLAN DES OBEAUX (FR) 6 Mr & Mrs P Barber, G Mason, Sir A Ferguson Paul Nicholls
CLOUDY DREAM (IRE) 8 Trevor Hemmings Malcolm Jefferson
CONEY ISLAND (IRE) 7 J P McManus Eddie Harty IRE
CUE CARD 12 Jean Bishop Colin Tizzard
DISKO (FR) 7 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
DJAKADAM (FR) 9 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE) 8 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George
DOUVAN (FR) 8 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
FLYING ANGEL (IRE) 7 R J Rexton Nigel Twiston-Davies
FOX NORTON (FR) 8 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Colin Tizzard
FRODON (FR) 6 P J Vogt Paul Nicholls
GOD’S OWN (IRE) 10 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George
GOLD PRESENT (IRE) 8 John & Barbara Cotton Nicky Henderson
KILLULTAGH VIC (IRE) 9 Rose Boyd/B Anderson/Mrs M Armstrong Willie Mullins IRE
L’AMI SERGE (IRE) 8 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
LE PREZIEN (FR) 7 J P McManus Paul Nicholls
LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE) 10 Carl Hinchy Dan Skelton
MIN (FR) 7 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
OUTLANDER (IRE) 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
POLIDAM (FR) 9 Simon Munir/Isaac Souede Willie Mullins IRE
ROAD TO RESPECT (IRE) 7 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
SHANTOU FLYER (IRE) 8 Carl Hinchy Richard Hobson
SMAD PLACE (FR) 11 Mrs Peter Andrews Alan King
SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE) 9 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
TOP NOTCH (FR) 7 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
TOTAL RECALL (IRE) 9 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR) 8 Galloping On The South Downs Partnership Gary Moore
TULLY EAST (IRE) 8 Barry Connell Alan Fleming IRE
UN DE SCEAUX (FR) 10 E O’Connell Willie Mullins IRE
VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 9 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
WAITING PATIENTLY (IRE) 7 Richard Collins Malcolm Jefferson
WILLIE BOY (IRE) 7 Andrew Brooks Venetia Williams
YORKHILL (IRE) 8 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
 
44 entries
24 Irish-trained 
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