Clarence House Chase Betting Tips – 20th January 2018
The world of National Hunt racing really begins gearing up for the Cheltenham Festival at this time of year. With March just around the corner, every trainer wants to ensure that their best horses arrive at Prestbury Park in tip top shape.
Many of the leading contenders will have just one more warm up race before the Festival which gives us some excellent racing in the weeks to come.
Each of the Grade 1 races at Cheltenham has a few popular trial races and that’s effectively the role that the Clarence House Chase plays for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The Champion Chase’s relatively short distance of two miles makes it a specialist steeplechase. It’s a test of both pace and jumping technique so trainers are especially their Champion Chase prospect is firing on all cylinders.
Past Five Winners
2017 – Un de Sceaux, aged 9, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2016 – Un de Sceaux, aged 8, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2015 – Dodging Bullets, aged 7, ridden by Noel Fehily, trained by Paul Nicholls
2014 – Sire de Grugy, aged 8, ridden by Jamie Moore, trained by Gary Moore
2013 – Sprinter Sacre, aged 7, ridden by Barry Geraghty, trained by Nicky Henderson
From the list above, both Sprinter Sacre and Sire de Grugy won both the Clarence House Chase and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the same year. It’s also worth noting that both the 2013 and 2017 races were held at Cheltenham as due to snow and/or frost at Ascot.
The Bookies’ Favourite Remains the One to Beat
Un de Sceaux is bidding to become the first horse to win the Clarence House Stakes three times. Although he is now 10 and therefore older than all but two of the race’s previous winners, the bookies still make Willie Mullins’ gelding the favourite.
The multiple Grade 1 winner came second in the Champion Chase following his 2016 win and was entered into the Ryanair Chase by Mullins at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
This time around he’s a 14/1 shot for the Champion Chase with Coral and the narrow ante post favourite for the Ryanair Chase. It remains to be seen which way Mullins goes but either way, Un de Sceaux should head to Cheltenham on the back of a win.
The bookies have correctly called seven of the last 10 Clarence House Chase winners and Un de Sceaux is the clear favourite at a best price of 4/6 with William Hill.
There’s a chance that it may pay to wait until closer to the off before backing the Mullins horse though. That’s because there’s been an almighty gamble for the second favourite, Brain Power.
The seven-year-old may be talented but he’s a novice amongst Grade 1 company. The only thing the gamble is likely to do is make the odds on Un de Sceaux lengthen and that’s fine by us.
Gamble on a Different Gamble
Although it’s always tempting to follow the money when you hear about a big gamble, we’re not convinced that it will pay off with Brain Power. Rather, we think it’s worth taking a different gamble by backing Kerry Lee’s Top Gamble.
The 10-year-old was competitive in last year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase at 20/1 and has looked more than decent in a few appearances already this season.
Those performances include his second place to Un de Sceaux at Cork in December. He was fourth last time out but that came on heavier ground than he’ll get at Ascot so back Top Gamble to put in another quality performance at 14/1 with Sportingbet.