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All eyes on Dodging Bullets in Game Spirit Chase

David Metcalf | February 13, 2016

Last year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Dodging Bullets makes his eagerly awaited return to action in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury (15.00) and looks a worthy red-hot favourite to make it a winning one.

The Paul Nicholls trained gelding improved at a rate of knots when winning three of his four starts during the 2014/15 campaign, landing the Grade 1 Tingle Creek at Sandown in good style before comfortably beating Sprinter Sacre by three lengths in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot.

Dodging Bullets then enjoyed his finest hour at the Cheltenham Festival when driven out to beat Somersby by 1 1/4 lengths.

The seven-year-old was well in command at the line and scored with more in hand than the winning margin suggests.

Dodging Bullets

Manner of success suggested more to come

It was a most taking performance and one which suggested there should be more to come this season.

However, Dodging Bullets has since been on the sidelines with injury and now has to give weight all-round on his first start for 339 days.

On ratings the son of Dubawi has 16lb and upwards in hand on his rivals so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Although declared, this race is the second preference for his potential big danger L’ami Serge who is going for the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick unless the fixture is claimed by the weather.

Serge’s likely absence leaves the way clear

Cheltenham Sunday

L’ami Serge’s likely absence leaves Top Gamble as the only real opposition in the line-up, and although the Kerry Lee trained gelding gets 5lb from Dodging Bullets it still leaves him with 11lb to find with that rival on official ratings.

That makes this look a lovely opening for Dodging Bullets, even allowing for the fact that he is sure to need the run and come on significantly for it.

His class should enable him to come through this test with flying colours en route to the Cheltenham Festival, and Dodging Bullets is currently 8/1 with Coral to retain his Queen Mother crown on Wednesday, March 16th.

Related

Check out our horse racing archive, as well as our dedicated Cheltenham section.

Coral’s top tip: Dodging Bullets looks a cut above his rivals and rates a rock solid bet to make a winning return to action en route to defending his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown.

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