Arkle ace Douvan favoured in 2017 Champion Chase betting
David Metcalf | March 18, 2016; Updated September 3, 2016
Douvan evens favourite to take Sprinter’s crown
Douvan is even-money favourite with Coral for the 2017 Queen Mother Champion Chase following his dazzling success in this year’s Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.
The gelding is unbeaten in eight starts for leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins, and made it four from four over the larger obstacles when slamming Sizing John by seven lengths on the opening day of the Festival.
Douvan was always travelling well and powered clear after jumping two from home.
Despite making a mistake at the last, the six-year-old ran on strongly to register a comfortable success. Connections believe Douvan is a future Gold Cup horse, but the Champion Chase is the obvious target for him next year.
Huge engine and potent turn of foot
He has a huge engine and high cruising speed, plus a potent turn of foot which marks him out as something very special indeed.
Although it could be argued that it was not the strongest renewal of the Arkle, in which main market rival Vantieux came two grief at the second last when 1 1/2 lengths down, there is little doubt that Douvan is the real deal.
Whether he is entitled to be so short in the ane post betting for Champion Chase is debateable, but Douvan looks to have the world at his feet and remains open to any amount of improvement.
Sprinter Sacre 4/1 for third success
Nicky Henderson’s rejuvenated Sprinter Sacre ensured that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after he landed an emotional running of this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, and is 4/1 (from 5/1) with Coral to retain his crown in 2017.
It was a second success in the contest for Henderson, who triumphed in 2013 before suffering well-documented problems with his heart.
Many thought it was an impossible task for the horse dubbed the “black aeroplane” to make a remarkable comeback and win the horse race three years later, but Sprinter silenced the doubters in sensational style.
One of the best two-mile chasers ever seen
Given a cool ride by jockey Nico de Boinville, Sprinter Sacre tracked the leaders throughout and took up the running turning for home as both Un De Sceaux and Special Tiara began to weaken.
An awkward jump at the last didn’t stop his momentum, and the 10-year-old ran on gallantly up the hill to record a 3 1/2 length victory from red-hot 4/6 favourite Un De Sceaux.
It was a training performance of a lifetime by Henderson, and one which showed Sprinter was still a major force to be reckoned with and one of the best two-miler chasers ever seen.
His advancing years will make him vulnerable to up and coming youngsters like Douvan, but Sprinter is no ordinary horse and it would be folly to think that he could not win the race for a third time time in 2017.