2012 Sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase : Ante Post Preview

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Tagged under: 3.20 Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase 2m

Strange as at may seem the one race over the holiday period that could have a significant bearing on the outcome of the 2012 Sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase is the three mile William Hill King George V1 Chase.

Two horses that are prominant in the betting for Kempton's showpiece, Master Minded and Captain Chris, are possibles for the festival's two mile speed test, depending on how their stamina holds up on Boxing Day.If one, or both, fail to see out the trip against the likes of Long Run and Kauto Star it seems likely that connections will target either the Champion Chase or Ryanair come next March.

Of the two, the one who could prove excellent value if taking part is last seasons' Arkle winner Captain Chris. A best price 10-1 with Stan James, Ladbrokes and William Hill, Philip Hobbs' gelding is two points bigger than Finians Rainbow who he comfortably outpointed last March.Anyone wishing to back the 7 year-old should hang fire until his performance next Monday can be assessed, as a strong staying performance could result in an attempt at the Betfred Gold Cup instead.

Last seasons' first and second, Sizing Europe and Big Zeb, are sure to play a leading role again with the former a strong 3-1 favourite, while the latter is a top price 13-2 with Bet365 and the sponsor, Sportingbet.com. Sizing Europe was particularly impressive when taking Sandown's Tingle Creek Chase and seems to save his best for the Cheltenham Festival.

With only a handful of credible rivals at this stage, the value lies with the horse Captain Chris beat in the 2011 Arkle, Finians Rainbow. Trainer Nicky Henderson has only the one race in mind for the son of Tiraaz and the 8 year-old has all of the qualities needed for the speed test.A natural jumper of fences and the pace to get most rivals in trouble at an early stage, the gelding doesn't need to improve very much to become a leading contender, and the 8-1 available with Bet365 and William Hill could turn out to be outstanding each-way value come next March.

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