Last four winners among Champion Chase entries
The last four winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase are in contention to recapture their prize, after a record number of entries were received for the highlight of Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival. Defending Champ, Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Sizing Europe and Finian’s Rainbow are all among a record 33 entries for the 2 mile contest.
Doubts over the possible inclusion of the last two winners, Sire De Grugy and Sprinter Sacre has obviously given other trainers hope of taking the big one, but both superstars are on target for their respective returns from injury in the coming weeks. Sire De Grugy is set to return to action in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 7th, whilst Sprinter Sacre is due back in action in Ascot’s Clarence House Chase on January 17th.
2012 winner, Finian’s Rainbow is another who will have to overcome a long absence, having not been seen since pulling up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November 2013. Fellow veteran, Sizing Europe, now 13 years of age, made a winning return to action this season at Gowran but was below par in the Clonmel Oil Chase last time.
Four time winning trainer, Paul Nicholls has four entries headed by Al Ferof, who could step back in trip after a good run in the King George. He could also be represented by Tingle Creek winner Dodging Bullets, the rejuvenated Mr Mole and Tingle Creek 3rd Hinterland.
The Irish contingent are also well represented, with Champion trainer Willie Mullins leading the way with four. Two time Festival winner Champagne Fever, who also holds an entry for the Gold Cup, could be another to drop in trip, whilst Ballycasey, Turban and Twinlight are also possibilities for the Closutton handler.
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