Sunday, December 10, 2023

Cheltenham Festival: Energumene and Edwardstone among nine in Champion Chase contention

Defending champion Energumene heads 9 confirmations for the Betway Queen Mom Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old claimed the primary prize with a cold victory on a moist second day of the Pageant 12 months in the past and adopted that up with additional simple triumphs at each the Punchestown Pageant and on his reappearance at Cork in December.

Nonetheless, though nonetheless disputing favouritism for the second-day characteristic, he returns to Prestbury Park with a degree to show having completed third when showing on the monitor within the rearranged Clarence Home Chase on Pageant Trials Day.

It was Gary Moore’s Editeur Du Gite and final yr’s Arkle hero Edwardstone that fought out an exciting end on that event, with the previous making practically all to provide Niall Houlihan a primary Grade One success as a jockey.

Each characteristic amongst the confirmations, with Alan King’s cost the overall 7-4 joint-favourite with the bookmakers to show the tables.

In addition to Energumene, Mullins may very well be represented by Blue Lord and Gentleman De Mee who’ve each picked up Grade Ones over two miles this time period.

Blue Lord struck at Leopardstown within the Paddy’s Rewards Membership Chase over Christmas to throw himself into the Champion Chase image, however was no match for his stablemate on the Dublin Racing Pageant when Danny Mullins bounced out Gentleman De Mee and sauntered to a seven-length victory.

That was the second time he had scored at Grade One degree having additionally claimed the scalp of Edwardstone within the Maghull Novices’ Chase final April.

Funambule Sivola chased house Energumene for the silver medal 12 months in the past and returned to kind by successful the Recreation Spirit final month, whereas Nube Negra (Dan Skelton) and Greaneteen (Paul Nicholls) completed second and fourth respectively within the race behind Put The Kettle On in 2021 and can return for one more crack on the race having missed out in 2022.

The checklist is accomplished by Henry de Bromhead’s Captain Guinness with stablemate Coeur Elegant and Mullins’ Chacun Pour Soi the one two not confirmed from the 11 left standing on the earlier scratching stage.

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