28th February, 2012 - Posted by Elliot Slater - Comments Off
The highlight and centrepiece of the second day of the Festival with the speedy 2 mile chasers taking each other on at a fast and furious pace, and speed is of the essence. That could be a reason why that the older brigade rarely win this race, horses aged 11 and over have a shocking record in the race, the last winner from that age group being the majestic Moscow Flyer who took the crown in 2003 and regained it in 2005. That same feat would have to be accomplished by Big Zeb this year – the 2010 winner is now 11 and attempts to regain his crown this year after being beaten by his old adversary Sizing Europe last year.
Previous Festival form is a recurring theme in the championship races at the Festival, notably the Queen Mother Champion Chase and 20 of the last 27 winners have won or finished placed at this meeting in the past. The best guide however, and by some distance, has been the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase won by Sizing Europe having featured eight of the last 11 winners; he looks a worthy favourite again this year. Fans of online racing should remember this.
As we can see the Irish hold a strong hand again this year and it won’t be a big surprise to see them add to their tally this year in the race which stands at winning five of the last nine runnings of the race and if you are looking at the forecast market four of those wins have included the 1-2, in fact last season Sizing Europe headed an “emerald” 1-2-3-4. Those following the Cheltenham betting should bear this in mind.
Coming into the race you don’t want to be overraced that season with the majority of winners having had been three and four previous outings, and all of the past winners ran within 95 days of being victorious at the Festival.
The market has proved a terrific guide to the race – ten of the last 13 winners have started no bigger than 5/1 and going back even further 29 of the last 30 winners started no bigger than 11/1, this has been a race where backing the obvious has very much paid off.