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Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
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Grade 1, Cheltenham
£365,760 added,
5yo plus,
1m 7f 199y, Class 1  
Wednesday 14th March 2018

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Owner Rich Ricci has revealed that neither he nor anyone at trainer Willie Mullins' yard were ever truly content with Douvan last term.

© Caroline Norris
Special Tiara

The seven-year-old lost his unbeaten record in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March, a race he was long odds-on to win.

Despite having won his previous three starts last term with a minimum of fuss, including an eight-length defeat of subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John at Leopardstown over Christmas, Ricci feels something just wasn't right with Douvan all through the campaign.

It finally came to light in the wake of his tame show at Cheltenham, but Ricci hopes there is every chance he'll come back to his best this season.

"Something was clearly bothering Douvan for most of last year and he wasn't quite himself," said the owner.

"No-one was entirely happy with him the whole time, despite him putting in some pretty good performances. He just wasn't showing that bullying style on the gallops, in his races.

"Of course it came to light at Cheltenham that he just wasn't right, it was his hip, but he seems to be back in his pomp. It would be great to have him back to what he was."

Douvan is 3/1 to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham this season and, for now at least, the plan is to keep him running over two miles.

"I'm not sure if we want to step him up in trip - I really don't know," Ricci told Racing UK.

"We know how good he is at two miles. I've always thought he might step up. We'll have to see how all the pieces fit together at the yard with our own string and some others as well."

Trainers Quotes

Last season's brilliant Arkle winner Altior is 10/11 to win the Champion Chase for trainer Nicky Henderson, while reigning champion Special Tiara is 20/1 for Henry De Bromhead.

© Racehorse Photos

Altior, who won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2016 and the Arkle earlier this year, is due to reappear at Sandown in the Tingle Creek in December.

"He's only just started his faster work as there is still three weeks to go," said Henderson. 

"We are where we want to be, he's totally on target for the Tingle Creek.

"I suppose there's the Shloer this weekend he could have gone for, but for me it's too close to the Tingle Creek. So, i t fits in well but it means we are starting in a Grade One." 

When asked if he felt Altior simply had to avoid falling to be beaten, he told At The Races: " There's Douvan of course (later down the line). 

"I was speaking to Rich Ricci (owner) the other day and he said both Douvan and Faugheen are in great shape and the Douvan and Altior match will be in March.

"Hopefully we all get there in one piece, but that is the big if as these horses are so delicate. I hope the meeting is in March as it will be one to savour.

"At the beginning of last season Douvan looked like the next Sprinter Sacre, he was unbeatable at the time. I know he had a wobble but he'll be back, I'm sure.

"We'll go down our road, they can go down theirs and let's hope the clash takes place."

Douvan was a hot favourite to stretch his unbeaten sequence to 15 in last season's Champion Chase but he performed well below expectations and struggled home in seventh.

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BetWay Queen Mother Champion Chase 2017
£365,760 added, 5yo plus, 1m 7f 199y, Class 1
10 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Special Tiara 11/1 N D Fehily
H de Bromhead 10
2nd hd Fox Norton (FR) 7/1 Aidan Coleman
C L Tizzard 7
3rd 6 Sir Valentino (FR) 33/1 P J Brennan
T R George 8
4th hd Top Gamble (IRE) 20/1 D N Russell
Kerry Lee 9
5th 1 God's Own (IRE) 6/1 A P Heskin
T R George 9
6th nk Traffic Fluide (FR) 50/1 Joshua Moore
G L Moore 7
7th 4 Douvan (FR) 2/9f R Walsh
W P Mullins 7
8th 17 Garde La Victoire (FR) 14/1 R Johnson
P J Hobbs 8
9th 13 Simply Ned (IRE) 33/1 B P Harding
N G Richards 10
PU Sizing Granite (IRE) 50/1 T J O'Brien
C L Tizzard 9


Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran

2017 Special Tiara 10-11-10 Noel Fehily Henry de Bromhead Sally Rowley-Williams 11/1 10
2016 Sprinter Sacre 10-11-10 Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson Caroline Mould 5/1 10
2015 Dodging Bullets 7-11-10 Sam Twiston-Davies Paul Nicholls Martin Broughton & Friends 9/2 9
2014 Sire De Grugy 8-11-10 Jamie Moore Gary Moore The Preston Family & Friends Ltd 11/4F 11
2013 Sprinter Sacre 7-11-10 Barry Geraghty N J Henderson 1/4 7
2012 Finian's Rainbow 9-11-10 Barry Geraghty N J Henderson 4/1 6
2011 Sizing Europe 9-11-10 Andrew Lynch Henry de Bromhead IRE Ann & Alan Potts 10/1 11
2010 Big Zeb 9-11-10 Barry Geraghty Colm Murphy IRE Pat Redmond 10/1 9
2009 Master Minded 6-11-10 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Clive Smith 4/11F 12
2008 Master Minded 5-11-10 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Clive Smith 3/1 8
2007 Voy Por Ustedes 6-11-10 Robert Thornton Alan King Sir Robert Ogden 5/1 10
2006 Newmill 8-11-10 Andrew McNamara John Murphy IRE Mary Hayes 16/1 12
2005 Moscow Flyer 11-11-10 Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington IRE Brian Kearney 6/4F 8
2004 Azertyuiop 7-11-10 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls John Hales 15/8 8
2003 Moscow Flyer 9-12-00 Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington IRE Brian Kearney 7/4F 11
2002 Flagship Uberalles 8-12-00 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs Elizabeth Gutner/Michael Krysztofiak 7/4F 12
2001 No Race (Foot and Mouth)
2000 Edredon Bleu 8-12-00 Tony McCoy Henrietta Knight Jim Lewis 7/2 9
1999 Call Equiname 9-12-00 Mick Fitzgerald Paul Nicholls Mick Coburn,Paul Barber,Colin Lewis 7/2 13
1998 One Man 10-12-00 Brian Harding Gordon Richards John Hales 7/2 8
1997 Martha’s Son 10-12-00 Rodney Farrant Tim Forster Paddy Hartigan/Michael Ward-Thomas 9/1 6
1996 Klairon Davis 7-12-00 Francis Woods Arthur Moore IRE Chris Jones 9/1 7
1995 Viking Flagship 8-12-00 Charlie Swan David Nicholson Roach Foods Ltd 5/2F 10
1994 Viking Flagship 7-12-00 Adrian Maguire David Nicholson Roach Foods Ltd 4/1 8
1993 Deep Sensation 8-12-00 Declan Murphy Josh Gifford Robin Eliot 11/1 9
1992 Remittance Man 8-12-00 Jamie Osborne Nicky Henderson Jim Collins Evs F 6
1991 Katabatic 8-12-00 Simon McNeill Andrew Turnell Pell-Mell Partners 9/1 7
1990 Barnbrook Again 9-12-00 Hywel Davies David Elsworth Mel Davies 11/10F 9
1989 Barnbrook Again 8-12-00 Simon Sherwood David Elsworth Mel Davies 7/4F 8
1988 Pearlyman 9-12-00 Tom Morgan John Edwards Valerie Shaw 15/8F 8
1987 Pearlyman 8-12-00 Peter Scudamore John Edwards Valerie Shaw 13/8F 8
1986 Buck House 8-12-00 Tommy Carmody Mouse Morris IRE Mrs Phil Purcell 5/2 11
1985 Badsworth Boy 10-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Monica Dickinson Doug Armitage 11/8 5
1984 Badsworth Boy 9-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson Doug Armitage 8/13F 10
1983 Badsworth Boy 8-12-00 Robert Earnshaw Michael Dickinson Doug Armitage 2/1 6
1982 Rathgorman 10-12-00 Kevin Whyte Michael Dickinson J Lilley 100/30 9
1981 Drumgora 9-12-00 Frank Berry Arthur Moore IRE D Monahan 25/1 9
1980 *Another Dolly 10-12-00 Sam Morshead Fred Rimell Ian Urquhart 33/1 7
1979 Hilly Way 9-12-00 Mr Ted Walsh Peter McCreery IRE J W Sweeney 7/1 9
1978 Hilly Way 8-12-00 Tommy Carmody Peter McCreery IRE J W Sweeney 7/1 10
1977 Skymas 12-12-00 Mouse Morris Brian Lusk IRE Mathew Magee 7/2 8
1976 Skymas 11-12-00 Mouse Morris Brian Lusk IRE Mathew Magee 8/1 7
1975 Lough Inagh 8-12-00 Sean Barker Jim Dreaper IRE A Martin 100/30 8
1974 Royal Relief 10-12-00 Bill Smith Edward Courage Edward Courage 6/1 6
1973 Inkslinger 6-12-00 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE Mrs M Jenney 6/1 6
1972 Royal Relief 8-12-00 Bill Smith Edward Courage Edward Courage 15/8 5
1971 Crisp 8-12-00 Paul Kelleway Fred Winter Sir Chester Manifold 3/1 8
1970 Straight Fort 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE George Ansley 7/4F 6
1969 Muir 10-12-00 Ben Hannon Tom Dreaper IRE Waring Willis 15/2 11
1968 Drinny’s Double 10-12-00 Frank Nash Bob Turnell Paul Mellon 6/1 5
1967 Drinny’s Double 9-12-00 Frank Nash Bob Turnell Paul Mellon 7/2 8
1966 Flyingbolt 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Mrs Jean Wilkinson 1/5F 6
1965 Dunkirk 8-12-00 Dave Dick Peter Cazalet Bill Whitbread 8/1 6
1964 Ben Stack 7-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE Anne, Duchess of Westminster 2/1 5
1963 Sandy Abbot 8-12-00 Stan Mellor George Owen Mrs J D McKechnie 5/1 5
1962 Piperton 8-12-00 Dave Dick Archie Thomlinson Archie Thomlinson 100/6 7
1961 Fortria 9-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE George Ansley 2/5F 5
1960 Fortria 8-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE George Ansley 15/8F 7
1959 Quita Que 10-12-00 Bunny Cox Dan Moore IRE Mrs D R Brand 4/9F 9

*Another Dolly finished second to Chinrullah, who was subsequently disqualified after failing a post-race urine test

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