Shishkin (4/5) and Energumene (7/2) are set to lock horns once again in what promises to be a mouth-watering renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase on day two of the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.
The pair are among eight runners that have been declared for the Grade One feature and it will see them renew their rivalry following a thrilling clash in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January, a race that saw the Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin narrowly get the better of Willie Mullins’ Energumene.
Energumene’s stablemate Chacun Pour Soi (5/1) has also been declared, 12 months on from finishing third in the Champion Chase when he was sent off as the red-hot favourite.
Chacun Pour Soi produced a disappointing showing in the Tingle Creek at Sandown earlier this season before bouncing back with a victory at Leopardstown, with connections hoping he can finally replicate his top-class form in Ireland when on British soil.
Defending champion Put The Kettle On (33/1) is also set to feature for Henry de Bromhead, as is 2020 scorer Politologue (50/1) from Paul Nicholls’ yard, while last year’s runner up Nube Negra (12/1), dual Grade One-winning chaser Envoi Allen (25/1) and the Venetia Williams-trained Funambule Sivola (33/1) complete the line up.
Cheltenham Festival Betting Odds
The Champion Chase is one of four Grade One races scheduled for the second day of the Festival, including the opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, where the highly-fancied Sir Gerhard (4/6) is set to face eight rivals.
Sir Gerhard triumphed in the Champion Bumper at last year’s Festival and has since gone unbeaten on his two starts over hurdles, including scoring a Grade One success at last month’s Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old will be joined by his stablemates Haxo (100/1) and Whatdeawant (20/1) in Wednesday’s race, while Gordon Elliott runs Three Stripe Life (6/1) and Henry de Bromhead, who won the race last year with Bob Olinger, goes with Journey With Me (13/2).
The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase will see Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame (9/4) and Lucinda Russell’s stable star Ahoy Senor (6/1) renew their rivalry after the former was an emphatic winner when the pair last clashed in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Meanwhile, Facile Vega (5/4) is the red-hot favourite to land the Champion Bumper for Willie Mullins, who is bidding to win the race for a 12th time – Gordon Elliott’s American Mike (9/4) could be the main rival to those chances.
There will also be a fond farewell to dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll (7/4), who is to be retired after he bids for a fourth victory in the Glenfarclas Chase, a race that will see him face 15 rivals.
Today’s Horse Racing Odds