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Celebration Chase Runners – Jonbon set for Sandown clash with Mullins stars

|Can Shishkin join Altior and Sprinter Sacre as winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase for Nicky Henderson?|Ferny Hollow (nearest) beat Riviere D'etel to win the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown.|Altior's Arkle victory in 2017 was one of four Cheltenham Festival successes.|||||||||

Saturday’s Grade 1 Celebration Chase at Sandown Park could be an all-time classic renewal as reigning champion Jonbon could face some top-class Willie Mullins-trained stars in the 1m 7f 99y contest, with the Closutton team possibly represented by El Fabiolo or Gaelic Warrior. There are 14 horses entered for the iconic contest on a day that will also see the bet365 Gold Cup take centre stage.

All eyes have been on the aforementioned Mullins in recent weeks as having won the Grand National at Aintree with I Am Maximus he landed more National success at Ayr last Saturday as Macdermott landed the Scottish Grand National. Normally, the Closutton team will have both eyes firmly fixed on next week’s Punchestown Festival, but those two National wins has rocketed him to the lead in the UK Trainers’ Championship and he will look to collect his first title on Saturday at the Esher track.

He’s entered a whole multitude of runners across Sandown’s meeting, but two of the standout names are El Fabiolo, who was last seen pulling up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and Gaelic Warrior, who romped to victory in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the same National Hunt showpiece.

However, the pair will have to contend with Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon, who sparkled last time out in Aintree’s Melling Chase and was a fine winner of this race 12 months ago and is looking to end the Seven Barrows yard’s indifferent season on a positive note. A Jonbon vs El Fabiolo vs Gaelic Warrior clash would be a blockbuster contest, but it’s likely that Mullins will opt to send one to Sandown and keep one for Punchestown next week.

Shock Champion Chase hero Captain Guinness was beaten by Jonbon in last season’s Celebration Chase last season, but will add significant depth for Henry De Bromhead, while Alan King’s Edwardstone will be another fascinating addition to what could be one of the two-miles races of the season.

Celebration Chase Odds

Despite pulling up in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham after a shocking blunder, El Fabiolo has been installed as the ante-post 10/11 favourite in the latest Celebration Chase Odds, while reigning champion Jonbon is second in the betting and is looking to end the season with another big win and is around the 2/1 mark.

Gaelic Warrior, who was stunning in the Arkle, is next in at 4/1 and has to be considered, if taking his chance, while Captain Guinness and Edwardstone are available at 6/1, with the rest of the betting seeing the other entries around the 20/1 mark and bigger.

HorseTrainerOdds
El FabioloWillie Mullins10/11
JonbonNicky Henderson2/1
Gaelic WarriorWillie Mullins4/1
Captain GuinnessHenry De Bromhead6/1
EdwardstoneAlan King6/1
20/1 BAR