Welcome to the heart-pounding world of the Queen Mother Champion Chase 2024!
A feature race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, the Champion Chase is a Grade 1 that has been around since 1959.
Originally known as the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase, in 1980, coinciding with the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday, the race was renamed in her honour to celebrate her significant contributions to the sport.
The Queen Mother even had her own near win in the race with Game Spirit, who finished second in this race in 1976.
In the years since it has undergone many sponsorship changes, but since 2015, Betway has taken over as the primary sponsor, which is also an excellent bookmaker for all your Cheltenham betting.
And who wouldn’t want to have a flutter on the Champion Chase? After all, it’s not just any race; it’s a test of speed, skill, and spirit that has fans on the edge of their seats.
So if you’re gearing up for the Champion Chase 2024, you’re in for a real treat!
Champion Chase 2024 Entries
This year saw 19 entries for the Queen Mother Champion Chase 2024. And while this number falls under the maximum allowed to run in the race (20 horses), the potential runners will still be whittled down over the next few weeks.
In fact, over the last six renewals, an average of just seven horses have run in the race, including both 2023 and 2022, when Energumene won for Irish trainer Willie Mullins.
Unfortunately, the reigning champ won’t have the opportunity to make it a historic three in a row as he is out for the season due to injury.
That doesn’t mean that Mullins is left empty handed but it will make winning the race a little bit more difficult. Or will it?
Horses & Trainers
|Henry De Bromhead
|Editeur Du Gite
|Elixir De Nutz
|Gentleman De Mee
|Henry De Bromhead
Queen Mother 2024 Predictions
Despite the absence of Energumene, Willie Mullins is still the handler for the ante-post race favourite with El Fabiolo.
With a staggering record that has seen him win seven of his nine starts, including winning all five chase starts, three of which were Grade 1 races, El Fabiolo is so good that even today, nearly two months out from the race, the best odds available on him are Evens.
The reality, though, is that you would be hard-pressed to find anything better than odds on.
So is it really in the bag? Every year Willie Mullins goes to the Cheltenham Festival as the trainer to beat. And nearly every year, in every race, he holds at least one of the favourites.
But is this because of his formidable record or are the bookies just not willing to take any chances on the odds?
To be fair, El Fabiolo has rightly earned his position as the race favourite, but he will still have some competition.
Jonbon is right up there. From trainer Nicky Henderson, the eight-year-old also has an enviable record, winning a Grade 1 last time out at Sandown in December.
The two have gone head-to-head in the past, most notably in last season’s Arkle, which resulted in the win going El Fabiolo’s way, with Jonbon narrowly missing out but just under three lengths.
Undoubtedly, Henderson, who is no stranger to winning this race (six times with four different horses), will be up for the challenge.
Also in the mix is Dinoblue from Mullins, one of two mares entered into the race this year.
She may not have the caliber of her stablemate, but she’s no slouch and goes into this race on four consecutive wins, the last of which was a Grade 1 at Leopardstown in December.
That said, connections may opt for the Mares Chase, which is also a possibility at the Festival.
Ideally, before committing to any one potential runner, it would be best to wait until the runners have been declared. But for now, it looks like El Fabiolo is the one to beat.
Famous Winners from the Past
Three trainers hold the joint honour of the record for most wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
They are Tom Dreaper, Nicky Henderson, and Paul Nicholls, who each have six wins to their name.
Between them, they have trained some of the most exceptional horses in the history of jump racing. However, there are three standout winners: Badsworth Boy, Sprinter Sacre, and Altior.
Ridden by Barry Geraghty, Sprinter Sacre triumphed in the Champion Chase twice.
His first victory came in 2013, a year when he was at the peak of his prowess. He returned to claim victory again in 2016, marking a phenomenal comeback after overcoming health issues.
Sprinter Sacre was known for his incredible speed and jumping ability and his 2013 win was particularly dominant. He won by an impressive 19 lengths, showcasing his exceptional talent.
The 2016 victory was a testament to his resilience and the skill of his trainer, Nicky Henderson, in bringing him back to top form after a challenging period.
Also from Nicky Henderson, and ridden by Nico de Boinville, is Altior.
Altior won the Champion Chase consecutively in 2018 and 2019, demonstrating his consistency and dominance in the field.
His victories in the race were marked by his remarkable jumping skill, and in both, he displayed his characteristic late surge in the race, solidifying his status as one of the greats in jump racing.
But only one horse holds a unique record in the race, having won it in three consecutive years and that is Badsworth Boy.
Originally trained by Michael Dickinson and later by Monica Dickinson, Badsworth Boy reigned victorious in 1983, 1984, and 1985.
This achievement remains unmatched and cements his status as one of the greatest two-mile chasers in the history of horse racing.