Betting Tips and Previews: Cheltenham Festival

Chacun Pour Soi Looks Set To Confirm Banker Status In Star Studded Champion Chase



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The brilliant but slightly fragile Chacun Pour Soi is set to finally make his debut at The Cheltenham Festival. After last year’s dramatic last-minute withdrawals of the Willie Mullins trained 9-year-old and twice winner Altior, this year’s renewal finally sees the two meeting for the first time.

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Chacun is a hot favourite whilst Altior has plenty of question marks surrounding him. We will assess the chances of these two market leaders.

However, this race has plenty of each way potential as Politologue, First Flow, Rouge Vif and Put The Kettle On all have realistic claims on the formbook.

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CHACUN POUR SOI

Whilst the age of this Susannah and Rich Ricci-owned star is creeping slightly higher, the mileage is certainly low. It is desperately disappointing of course that this twice winner of the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase has yet to make an appearance at the home of jump racing whilst having so much talent and potential.

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Finally, however, that potential barring last minute injuries is set to be unleashed over the Prestbury fences. The odds currently on offer (10/11 Betfair NRNB) might seem prohibitive for a horse yet to test himself at Cheltenham, but unless nearest rival Altior can reproduce his brilliant best and maybe more, this should be a relatively straightforward win for Chacun.

His jumping last time out in his breath-taking Ladbrokes Dublin Chase win was slick and economic whilst his traveling speed and subsequent gears demonstrates that he should have no difficulty navigating the Cheltenham hill. He is our selection therefore to win a first Champion Chase for trainer Willie Mullins.

ALTIOR

Nicky Henderson has always maintained that Altior needs time to recover from his races so its no surprise that the twice winner of The Champion Chase has only run once this season in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton where he finished a little flat behind Nube Negra.

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It is a considerable gap between races, but Henderson wants to bring a fresh rather than battle hardened Altior to the arena. If Altior is as good as ever then it will be a fascinating clash with Chacun Pour Soi: if any mistakes from the Mullins favourite are to be taken advantage of, Altior will be there.

However, my concern is that Chacun’s tactics will be based around a strong gallop which will certainly test Altior if he decides to experience one of his customary “flat spots” halfway through and Nico De Boinville has to coax him along to keep up. Paul Townend on board Chacun Pour Soi will be looking for that and will certainly kick on to leave Altior a big task to reel Chacun in up the Cheltenham Hill.

The 7/1 (Betfair, bet365, Betfred) looks an enticing each way steal for sure. But I just do not think he has the ammunition to deal with the Mullins powerhouse favourite although in true Kevin Keegan style, I would love it if Altior can produce to win a third Champion Chase and almost emulate Sprinter Sacre as another legendary Seven Barrows comeback king.

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POLITOLOGUE

The current champion is one of the most genuine horses that Paul Nicholls has trained in recent years. He has not done much wrong this season although his defeat to First Flow last time out at Ascot was a great surprise for me, perhaps he was still smarting from the 20-length hiding he received from Cyrname in his last run at the Berkshire track back in February 2019.

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We should see the old Politologue galloping and pinging his fences, but he will need to improve to stay competitive with Chacun and a resurgent Altior. 10/1 still available with William Hill with full ante post rules applying.

THE REST

Nube Negra (8/1) clearly has excellent each way claims after his brilliant defeat of Altior in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He will be there or thereabouts whilst First Flow (14/1 William Hill, Betfair) represents another rising star in the renaissance yard of Kim Bailey and warrants respect after his defeat of Politologue at Ascot last time out.

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Last year’s Arkle winner Put The Kettle On (12/1 bet365, William Hill) was certainly exposed by Chacun Pour Soi in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase win but is a different proposition over the Cheltenham fences.

The most interesting entry for me outside of the market leaders is Rouge Vif (25/1 William Hill) who made a very impressive mark on the Champion Chase market when he bolted up in a handicap over course and distance last October.

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RECAP

If you take the favourite out of the equation you have a conundrum feast for each way supporters as four or five entries can all lay claim to putting up a big run. However, Chacun Pour Soi has simply proved to be too strong for this year’s opposition and should oblige comfortably.

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Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (5pm 9th March 2021) and are subject to change.

Matt is Howtobet4free's resident Horse Racing expert, writer, tipster and a huge Cheltenham Festival fan. He occasionally dabbles in Golf, Football and anything else you can gamble on!

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