2015 Champion Chase has to be between the obvious two
The previous year’s Arkle has been somewhat of a reliable guide to the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the last decade, but it is hard to wax lyrical about any of the 2014 novice crop making masses of improvement in 2015.
Of the six Arkle winners to have attempted to complete the Champion Chase double in the last 10 years, four have been successful and the other pair have finished second.
This has to go down as a massive tick in favour of Western Warhorse if he runs in the 2015 Champion Chase and he is 14/1 in the early ante-post prices.
However, his victory was a huge surprise in the Arkle and it is hard to see him making the huge improvement needed to become a true Champion Chase contender.
Champagne Fever lost out by a nose in the Arkle and is far more likely to be a leading chaser when stepping out of novice company.
He is 8/1 to win the 2015 Champion Chase, but the problem with the former Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner is that his future doesn’t look over 2m and there is every possibility he will step up in trip for the Cheltenham Gold Cup instead.
Trifolium and Dodging Bullets battled it out for fourth in the Arkle but arguably ran to their level, which suggests that it is two heavyweights of the 2m division that will perhaps have their first serious showdown in the 2015 Champion Hurdle.
Sire De Grugy proved all of his doubters wrong by winning the 2014 renewal, but the success was slightly marred by the absence of Sprinter Sacre, who has looked pretty much unbeatable since going chasing.
Master Minded is the only horse this century to win the Champion Chase in successive years, which shows the task facing Sire De Grugy and there is a feeling that his victory did come against a modest field.
Both he and Sprinter Sacre are 4/1 in the Champion Chase odds and preference has to be for the latter at these prices, with trainer Nicky Henderson expected the horse back next season after suffering from a heart condition.