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The second Champion race takes place at 3:30 in the shape of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase Grade 1. This is for the quickest and best jumpers over the minimum trip, where speed and precision are key.

Other than Altior in recent years, the short-priced favourites have been beatable. We've had Defi Du Seuil beat at odds of 2/5, Chacun Pour Soi beat at 8/13 as well as Shishskin getting beat at 5/6 so upsets do happen in this race, so your short-priced backers have to be a little careful in this race, even if you think you have a certainty.

Cheltenham 3:30 – No Bet

Surprise, surprise, the Champion Chase is a no bet race for me. I think 99% of people will think El Fabiolo will romp home to victory for this race, and I am the same.

If the same El Fabiolo turns up as last time which was foot-perfect at the Dublin Racing Festival, nothing will get close to him. There have always been question marks about whether Jonbon can put it up to El Fabiolo over fences as Jonbon did get the better of him over hurdles, but based on what we've seen this year and last year, El Fabiolo is in a totally different league to Jonbon. El Fabiolo battered Dinoblue at Leopardstown, and many thought the mare would be able to give him a proper test by getting 7lbs off the 7yo, but he was immense and won by 8.5L and it could've been even further if Paul Townend really wanted to ask him for more. This is racing though, and the speed that these chasers will be going over the fences doesn't make him a 100% certainty, as horses do make mistakes under pressure, but with a clear round of jumping there will only be one winner and that is why he is 1/2F.

This morning Jonbon was scrapped from the Champion Chase by connections. Nicky Henderson's yard is having a real problem at the minute, with a potential bug going around, none of us really know what is happening, but his horses on Day 1 were shocking and as a result Jonbon won't be taking his place in today's race. It now takes a bit of the shine away from the race, as he has always had his strong backers, but as I eluded to at the start, even if he did run at 100% I don't think he would've been able to lay a glove on the favourite. Hopefully he is okay, as that is the main priority, and he can make a quick recovery and turn up at Aintree or Punchestown later in the Spring.

The surprise factor for Edwardstone has gone now. If they are planning on going from the front like he did at Newbury last time out, the surprise element isn't there and Paul Townend will be wiser to that possibility happening. In hindsight, I think connections would've liked to have tried that tactic first time out in this race, but I think with the doubt about whether Edwardstone can cut it at the top level was lingering, they just said sack it and tried to go from the front, and it worked. He is still a top-class horse, but he is below the level of El Fabiolo. His jumping can be sketchy, and around Cheltenham that is a concern, he seems like a strong stayer, so the ground will not bother him, and I can see him finishing ahead of Jonbon.

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