CHAMPION CHASE HEROES: We thought it would be good fun to reminisce over some of our favourite Champion Chase winners.
After doing the Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle, it’s time to focus on the fastest chase of them all – The Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
There are so many memories down through the years. So many memorable horses too; only looking at the last ten years leaves out the likes of Moscow Flyer, Well Chief and Azertyuiop. They produced some unforgettable moments, but let’s look at the more recent generation!
3️⃣ 2012. Winner: Finian’s Rainbow
What a battle this was! Finian’s Rainbow might not be remembered as one of the greats, but Big Zeb and Sizing Europe had won the Champion Chase in 2010 and 2011 heading into this. There was huge drama as they had to bypass the last and while many punters thought it cost Sizing Europe the race, Finian’s Rainbow was well on top at the end.
What was impressive about this race was the front two going so far in front of the others turning in – then the battle all the way up the hill. It was a proper Champion Chase.
2️⃣ 2019. Winner: Altior
It was a great shame that Altior didn’t get a chance to go for three-in-a-row this season. He was never himself this year, perhaps in hindsight they regret trying a longer trip. He was so special at 2 miles, he didn’t have anything to prove. Nevertheless, what a race in 2019 to win his second Champion Chase.
What makes this one special is the finish. Although Altior was absolutely top chase, he always gave the others a chance when he hit a flat spot. How many times did he start odds on only to trade odds against in-running on BETDAQ and win. He really needed to dig deep on this day and the battle up the straight definitely gives you goosebumps!
1️⃣ 2016. Winner: Sprinter Sacre
How could this not be your favourite Champion Chase in the last ten years? The commentator called it right – “this is one of the great comebacks in the history of the Cheltenham Festival” as he went to the line. He was right. After all his problems, what an incredible performance to beat the top class chasers in behind. We all know how good Un De Sceaux is, and Sprinter Sacre left him for dust on this day.
What makes this race extra special too, is the fact that Sprinter Scare was so good beforehand. He was untouchable, then after all his problems – he wasn’t quite as good. But what he had was heart and the ability to battle. He had to tough this out up the Cheltenham hill, but what a comeback this was. It won’t be forgotten for a long time!