Queen Mother Champion Chase Betting Preview


El Fabiolo Cheltenham Festival


State Man may not have won the Champion Hurdle by as far as many anticipated, but he got the job done. With the red-hot favourite obliging in the Day One highlight, the Day Two feature of the Queen Mother Champion Chase throws up a similar scenario – another huge Grade 1 event and another dominant market leader from the Willie Mullins stable.

Fabiolo One El’ Of a Horse

For many yards, the loss of Energumene to injury would be a crippling blow. After all, how do you quickly replace the horse who has landed the past two editions of this? However, the Mullins yard is no normal operation. All Willie needed to do was look a couple of boxes along the line and wheel out the winning machine, El Fabiolo.

Going in the double green of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, this six-year-old has a near-flawless record since joining the Mullins yard in November 2021 – winning eight of nine starts, including a quartet of Grade 1 affairs. A perfect four from four over fences, he oozed class when clearing away to land last year's Arkle, and looked in tip-top shape when slamming Dinoblue in the Dublin Chase last time out. Clear of the field on ratings, boasting solid form at the track, and possibly still improving, he’s the 1/2 favourite with Betfred.

Best of the Rest

Next best is the Nicky Henderson-trained Jonbon, who boasts the distinction of being the only horse to beat El Fabiolo on British shores. That verdict came in the 2022 Top Novices Hurdle when clinging on by a rapidly diminishing neck. It was a different story over fences, with El Fabiolo sauntering away from the JP McManus-owned runner in the 2023 Arkle. Will it be any different this time? In fairness to Jonbon, he has been running well this season and is the clear second-best in the field on form, but the current form of the Henderson yard is a concern. Having traded shorter in the lead-up to the meeting, he’s now out to 9/2 with Betfred.

Next in line comes Alan King’s stable star, Edwardstone, who is a little difficult to assess. On the plus side, he was excellent when stamping his class all over the field in the Game Spirit Chase last time out and is a previous festival winner, having landed the 2022 Arkle Chase. However, there are negatives - notably that he was beaten by 64 lengths when well-fancied for the 2023 edition of this, and he is zero from two against Jonbon this season. He will surely fare better than 12 months ago, but a win looks a tall order. At 15/2 with Betfred, he makes some each-way appeal.

Also in the lineup is 2023 runner-up Captain Guinness, who bids to add to Henry De Bromhead’s opening-day success with Slade Steel. As solid as that effort was, he was ten lengths adrift of Energumene at the line, is yet to score in Grade 1 company, and finished over 14 lengths behind El Fabiolo last time out at Leopardstown. Nevertheless, Betfred’s odds of 9/1 will secure a small profit if he hits the frame.

Moving further down the list, Funambule Sivola (150/1 with Betfred) has been below par this season but is capable, if bouncing back to form, having finished third in the 2022 edition. Boothill (66/1) and Gentleman De Mee (28/1) are more realistic place options, but the former needs to improve markedly on all known form, and the ground looks to have gone against the latter. Of the big-priced contenders, Elixir De Nutz at least arrives at the top of his game, having held on from Jonbon (who made a disastrous mid-race error) to claim the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase in January.

Best Bets

Much like the Champion Hurdle, it’s tough to make a reasonable case against the market leader, but that 1/2 price won’t be for everyone. The winning margin markets may be worth a look on the morning of the race, as the mount of Paul Townend could prove a class apart.

Jonbon is the obvious one for forecast players, but given the form of the Henderson yard, it may be worth siding with Edwardstone to follow the favourite home. Whilst disappointing last year, he bounced right back to his best in the Game Spirit under a more positive ride and can go well if employing similar tactics here.

  • El Fabiolo to win by 5+ lengths - Evs or bigger
  • Straight Forecast - 1st El Fabiolo, 2nd Edwardstone

All Prices quoted are with betfred


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