DISCLAIMER: ODDS AND ARTICLE UPDATED 05/03/2019, 11:50.
There are plenty of top-quality runners entered into this year's Queen Mother Champion Chase and here we have two selections for readers in the feature race on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.
(Wed Mar 13, 15:30)
The Queen Mother Champion Chase provides the feature on the second day of next week's Cheltenham Festival and with Altior chasing his second victory in the race and his 12th consecutive chase success overall, he looks likely to prove exceptionally hard to beat.
Prior to this season, Footpad looked likely to prove Nicky Henderson’s charge's biggest danger, having swept all before him last season in a novice campaign that produced four Grade 1 wins - including in the 2m Arkle on heavy ground at this meeting.
However, things haven’t gone to plan for the seven-year-old this time around with a fall at Naas when looking beaten preceding a second-place finish in a valuable Grade 1 at Leopardstown (2m1f, good) at the end of December.
While it would be dangerous to write Footpad off completely, given the stable he hails from, it may prove profitable to look elsewhere for an alternative to the hot favourite.
Sceau Royal Each-way @ 16/1 - BET NOW
In the same ownership as Footpad is the Alan King-trained Sceau Royal, who finished a well-beaten last of four behind Altior in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on soft ground in December.
That marked a below-par effort and one in which the gelding jumped noticeably to his left and the seven-year-old is better judged on his two-and-a-quarter length victory over Simply Ned in a 2m Grade 2 contest on good going at this track in November.
The son of Doctor Dino impressed with the way he travelled that day and while that effort came on a sound surface, he has won on soft ground in the past having taken a novice chase over an extended 2m on soft going at Doncaster in January last year.
Sceau Royal had a decent prep run over hurdles when runner-up on good going at Wincanton last month and, at around the 16/1 mark, he looks an attractive each-way bet with the non-runner-no-bet concession also available.
God's Own Each-way @ 50/1 - BET NOW
Now well into the veteran stage of his career, God’s Own holds just the one engagement at this year's Cheltenham Festival and that is in this contest - a race in which he finished 18L third to Altior in 12 months ago.
Tom George’s charge is a regular in this contest, having also finished fifth in 2017 and fourth in 2016, while the previous year he chased home the classy Un De Sceaux in the Arkle.
God’s Own has looked as good as ever this season, winning a competitive handicap over an extended 2m1f at Exeter (good) by half-a-length, prior to finishing a good 8L second in a 2m4f Grade 2 contest at Huntingdon (good-to-soft) in December.
Absent since that Huntingdon second, the selection has run well fresh in the past and, having won over further, he looks to be a big price at 50/1 each-way. There are three places available too, in a race in which a number of his rivals hold alternative engagements at this meeting with the likes of Min, Un De Sceaux and Fox Norton all also entered in the Ryanair Chase.
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