Champion Chase

2015 Champion Chase Result

Dodging Bullets Steals Limelight From Former Winners Sprinter Sacre And Sire De Grugy

The 2015 Queen Mother Champion Chase was billed as a head to head between Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy, but it was the third favourite Dodging Bullets who landed the spoils to give Paul Nicholls his fifth win in the race after Master Minded's back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009 and earlier triumphs with Azertyuiop and Call Equiname.

Special Tiara was the first to show and soon set a frenetic pace which ensured that the horses were to get a true test of staying power and a few began to struggle as the race took shape nearing the final stages. Despite jumping well, Noel Fehily's leader was soon overpowered with three to jump, Dodging Bullets surging to the front of a three-horse fight for honours where he hung on despite a nervy final fence to deny 2014 runner-up Somersby and Special Tiara and land a Grade 1 hat-trick.

The 7-year-old Dubawi gelding had won the Tingle Creek Chase and had the beating of Sprinter Sacre at Ascot in the Clarence House Chase prior to confirming that form at Prestbury Park, much to the delight of his connections, including breeder Frankie Dettori.

2013 Champion Chase winner Sprinter Sacre weakened and was pulled up with just one jump remaining while the previous year's victor, Sire De Grugy initially threatened with two to go, before slipping seven lengths from the lead trio to fourth. Another formner champion in Sizing Europe finished well down the field, while the reasonably well fancied Mr Mole never got into it on AP McCoy's final Champion Chase ride.

A Brief Intro To The Queen Mother Champion Chase

The feature race of the second day of the four-day Cheltenham Festival every March, this Grade 1 National Hunt chase is open to horses aged five and above.

It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham, over a distance of two miles  and includes 12 fences that each horse has to succesfully negotiate.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the leading minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar and - as such - has a hefty prize purse, with 2014 winner Sire De Grugy’s share being around £200k.

There was no sponsorship for the race prior to 2007, before Seasons Holidays began a two-year association in 2008. The 2013 race was sponsored by Sportingbet, but they lost out to fellow bookmakers BetVictor for the 2014 race, who have since been replaced by Betway as the 2015 sponsor.

The race attracts a quality field, with recent winners including: Big Zeb (2010), Sizing Europe (2011), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) Sprinter Sacre (2013) and Sire De Grugy (2014).

Cheltenham Racecourse generates gate revenues of £7 million over the four-day Cheltenham Festival, with a significant influx of Irish spectators enjoying the performances of the Irish-trained horses.

Over 200,000 pints of Guinness are consumed at the Festival - which also provides major retail opportunities for spectators - and around £1 million is bet on-site on each race.

History Of The Queen Mother Champion Chase

The first National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase race was first run in 1959 and it kept that name until 1980, when it was given its current title to celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

The Queen Mother - who died in 2002, aged 101 - was a noted supporter of the National Hunt. She owned a number of National Hunt horses - particularly chasers - including Game Spirit, who finished as runner-up in the 1976 race.

Jockey Pat Taaffe won five races between 1960 to 1970, while trainer Tom Dreaper also had a significant run of success during this time - as he oversaw six wins for his horses, with five of those ridden by Taafe.

The leading owners, both with three wins apiece, are George Ansley - whose winning horses were trained by Tom Dreaper - and Doug Armitage, with three-time winner Badsworth Boy.

The aforementioned Badsworth Boy - ridden by Robert Earnshaw - is the most successful horse in this race to date, achieving a record of three back-to-back wins between 1983 and 1985.

In recent years, jockeys Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh have both enjoyed several wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. In 2008, Walsh rode Master Minded to victory, in one of the most emphatic rides ever seen at the Cheltenham Festival. This performance also led to the horse being compared to other greats, such as Aztertyuiop, Moscow Flyer and Remittance Man.

Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Europe leapt to an awesome victory in the contest in 2011, but he was then forced to play second fiddle to Finian’s Rainbow a year later, in a controversial renewal of the race.

2014 Champion Chase Result

'Sire's On Fire' Scarves Raised Aloft At Cheltenham As Sire De Grugy Powers Home

With Sprinter Sacre injured and unable to defend his crown, Sire De Grugy was sent off a warm 11/4 favourite for the Betvictor Queen Mother Champion Chase and duly stamped his authority on the event to give the father-son combination of Jamie and Gary Moore their first win in the race as jockey and trainer.

Sire De Grugy sat off the pace under a patient ride from Jamie Moore with the lead changing hands among the field throughout the race. The 8-year-old was starting to make headway with four to jump, but first had to avoid the falling Bailey Green who brought down Hinterland, before carving through the pack on the turn for home to challenge for the lead at the second last fence. Sire De Grugy was in front when taking the final fence and forged clear to win by six lengths from Somersby, with Module a narrow third and 2011 winner Sizing Europe back in fourth.

Sire De Grugy ended the season with success in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown and holds an entry for the 2015 Champion Chase where he could meet 2013 winner Sprinter Sacre in what promises to be a mouthwatering renewal.

2013 Champion Chase Result

Sprinter Sacre Proves Different Class By Demolishing Champion Chase Opposition

One of the most exciting chasers of recent years, Sprinter Sacre was sent off an almost unbackable 1/4 chance to record his first win - of what is likely to be many - in the two-mile speed test at the Cheltenham Festival.

Since easily winning the 2012 Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding has taken on the air of invincibility - due to comprehensive victories at Aintree, Sandown and Cheltenham - and that continued to be the case at the Festival.

Supporters never had cause to worry - as the mount of Barry Geraghty never came off the bridle, recording an effortless 19-length success over 2012 winner Sizing Europe.

The son of Network finished the season with an official rating of 188 and looks head and shoulders above anything around him at this moment. Seemingly only injury or bad luck can prevent him from joining Badsworth Boy as a triple winner of this race.

2012 Champion Chase Result

Record-breaker Nicky Henderson Sees Finian's Rainbow Win Champion Chase

Finian's Rainbow pipped defending champion Sizing Europe in a controversial Champion Chase race, to give trainer Nicky Henderson his third win of the Festival.

Having already acheived the two victories needed to claim the title of Cheltenham Festival's most successful trainer from Fulke Walwyn, Henderson then saw jockey Barry Geraghty claim a remarkable hat-trick for the pair - after a controversial finish to the race saw Finian's Rainbow edge the rest of the field with a fierce longer run-in than normal.

Wishfull Thinking's earlier fall at the final fence - which catapulted rider Richard Johnson through the railing and into a section of spectators and photographers - saw the field diverted around it. This decision caused Sizing Europe to lose momentum and Finian's Rainbow capitalised and ran in one-and-a-quarter lengths clear.

Johnson's collision saw one photographer admitted to hospital with a head injury, continuing the low mood of the festival - following five racing fatalities in the first two days.

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