Grand National winners, Champion Chasers and Gold Cup heroes all appear on the roll call of the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase. Papillon, the 2000 Grand National winner, even claimed this 2m1f contest later that year, while Moscow Flyer and A Plus Tard have also battled to victory, the latter at the tender age of 5.
This year’s field put their Champion Chase credentials on the line, as Joe Napier looks to find the winner.
The 2022 edition saw Blue Lord roar to success for his second Grade 1, though Willie Mullins relies on others to retain his title this time around.
Last year’s renewal saw Willie Mullins’ BLUE LORD run out an impressive winner over Captain Guinness (2nd) and stablemate Chacun Pour Soi (3rd):
Key Race Trends
- More 16/1 shots (4) have won the race than favourites (3) in the last ten years
- Only three of the last ten winners had won on their previous start
- The last ten winners had an average rating of 160
- Only two of the last ten winners had run in the previous year’s Racing Post Novice Chase – and only Douvan had won it
(Henry De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore)
A synonym for falling slightly shy at the top level, Henry de Bromhead’s charge has steadily inched closer to Grade 1 ability in his chasing career. He has made the top three in 12 of his 17 jumps starts, with four of his five wins coming at Graded level, albeit all in Grade 2 or 3 class.
Last term was his most successful, with a win in Navan’s Fortria Chase being followed by three successive seconds at the top tier, including in this race. That was behind an inspired Blue Lord, but the only other horses to beat him last term were Energumene and Jonbon. When re-emerging this season, he sauntered to back-to-back wins in the Fortria Chase, beating two of his rivals today, and a Grade 1 breakthrough could well be forthcoming.
(Willie Mullins/Mark Walsh)
One of the four Mullins runners attempting to stop Captain Guinness, and one of three carrying JP McManus’s colours. The mare is also having her first go in a Grade 1, unlike the other pair of Grade 1 winning stablemates.
However, on potential and consistency, there is no doubt she is the first choice of those three. She is yet to finish outside the first two over fences, with the most recent win in the Grade 3 Barberstown Chase a career highlight. That victory was secured more comfortably than the winning margin suggests and her jumping is now as secure as ever. As the big guns of the division have stayed away, she could take her chance to claim an opportunistic success.
GENTLEMAN DE MEE
(Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
Paul Townend gets a rare ride in the McManus silks aboard this enigmatic seven-year-old who, on his day, is probably the most talented horse in the lineup. He boasts the highest rating too, courtesy of a comfortable win in last season’s Grade 1 Dublin Chase.
He is, alas, also a horse who turns up only when he wants. Sometimes that is predictable, as seen in both his novice and open seasons: he has won his first start of the calendar year during both, despite not winning any races prior to New Year’s Day. If capable of repeating his spring form, he would be a superb bet at the likely prices, but confidence is very thin on him doing so.
(Willie Mullins/Danny Mullins)
Another powerball of tearaway energy, Dysart Dynamo originally looked like the Mullins novice chaser of choice last term. His 28-length win on debut was swift and assured, but remains his best effort over the larger obstacles.
Stablemate El Fabiolo has since put him in his place, as now has Captain Guinness on their mutual return in the Fortria Chase. He was also in receipt of 9lb that day, with his unapologetic way of racing only serving to empty the petrol tank long before the finish. Perhaps he will strip fitter for the outing, though that has never been an issue in the past, and he isn’t the only front-runner today.
(Willie Mullins/Jody McGarvey)
It’s an intriguing nuance that Saint Roi’s only win in his last 15 starts was a Grade 1 at this meeting last year. He may well have untapped potential over further, but his trainer remains committed to the minimum chasing trip for now.
He had enough ability to make the frame in the Arkle last term from off the pace, and then put in arguably a career best when second in an Aintree Grade 1. That was his one try over 2m4f, but if any 2m race may suit the former Festival winner, it is one in which two of his all-guns-blazing stablemates can set the pace. It may simply be too much for him, but if he can remain in touch. He is not ruled out.
This could be a burn up with both Dysart Dynamo and Gentleman De Mee in the field. Similarly, with four of his battalion to attempt to take down Captain Guinness, it is almost certain that Willie Mullins has a plan, so a chance may be worth taking on SAINT ROI . His win rate is uninspiring, but so is the favourite’s at the top level, and Mullins’s eight-year-old swept up a Grade 1 at this meeting a year ago having taken a big step up from his seasonal debut. Though keeping up in the first place may be a chore, this race is his best chance of a victory for some time. The mare Dinoblue is another who could take advantage of this weaker contest for the level.
- Saint Roi (20/1 bet365, 16/1 generally)
- Captain Guinness (5/4 generally)
- Dinoblue (15/8 generaly)
*Odds Correct At Time Of Writing – 10.53am Tuesday 26th December*
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