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Champion Chase betting: El Fabiolo unchanged for Jonbon showdown

| 11.12.2023
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El Fabiolo remains evens favourite in Coral’s 2024 Queen Mother Champion Chase betting following his winning return to action at Cork on Sunday.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old was flawless as a novice over fences last season, winning each of his four starts, including a brilliant triumph over Jonbon in the Arkle at Cheltenham.

With Jonbon having advertised his Queen Mother Champion Chase claims with victory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday, it was over to El Fabiolo 24 hours later and he did not disappoint.

Mullins had saddled nine of the last 10 winners of the Hilly Way, with Un De Sceaux, Chacun Pour Soi and the currently sidelined dual Champion Chase hero Energumene among those on the roll of honour.

El Fabiolo was a 1/5 shot to add his name to the list and after travelling well on the heels of the pacesetters for much of the extended two-mile contest, Paul Townend allowed him to take over before four fences from the finish and he quickly took control.

Fil Dor did his best to keep tabs on the leader in the home straight but despite a peck on landing after jumping the final obstacle, El Fabiolo never looked like coming to grief and was driven out on the run-in to prevail by four and three-quarter lengths.

There is a possibility of a pre-Festival clash between El Fabiolo and Jonbon, with Mullins suggesting a trip across the Irish Sea could be next on the agenda for his charge.

He added: “Jonbon did his job nicely, we got the job done and we all have to get to Cheltenham.

“I don’t where we’ll go now – we’ll look at Christmas as well but he will probably go to Ascot for the Clarence House (in January).”

Jonbon passes Sandown test

Jonbon is 9/4 second favourite in the Queen Mother Champion Chase betting after showing a different side to his character when running out a gritty winner of the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The two-mile Grade One was run in very testing conditions and Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old was not seen to best effect but took his record to 12 wins from 14 career outings.

Henderson can now look forward to the second half of the campaign with Jonbon who has finally removed any thoughts of moving up in distance.

The Champion Chase is the plan and El Fabiolo is the target and all at Seven Barrows will now be focused on downing their Arkle conqueror when they meet for a third time in March.

“You can’t take anything away from El Fabiolo and we have a bit to find,” said Henderson. “We did beat him a neck at Aintree in a Grade One hurdle the year before. It’s 1-1 and all to play for.

“I can’t see that they will meet along the way and I don’t think we will be going to Ireland, put it like that. I’m rather hoping Willie (Mullins) will play the same game as us and we will get ready for a match in March.

“There was a time last year I thought he wanted further but, to be fair, ever since then all he’s done is show us he is a two-miler so I think we have to stick to that plan.”

Coral’s David Stevens said: “In truth we learned very little new about the two Champion Chase ante-post market principals this weekend, with both El Fabiolo and Jonbon unchanged for the race following their respective victories, and all race fans will be hoping the pair renew their rivalry in the big one in March.”

Queen Mother Champion Chase betting odds

Evs El Fabiolo

9/4 Jonbon

16/1 Captain Guinness

25/1 Edwardstone

33/1 Boothill, Gentleman De Mee, Haddex Des Obeaux, Saint Roi

View the latest horse racing odds

All odds and market correct at date of publication

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Author

Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.