The favourites for the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot
The festive period was a fantastic time for horse racing fans in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Christmas Festivals that took place on both sides of the Irish Sea at Kempton Park and Leopardstown were key meetings for several horses as they continued their preparations for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival in March, while the Welsh Grand National also took place at Chepstow on December 27th.
With the turn of the new year, all eyes seem to already be on the prestigious Prestbury Park Festival, which is sure to attract a lot of interest in the Betdaq horse racing betting. However, there are still a few more big meetings to look forward to between now and March — starting with the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 22nd.
The Grade 1 race attracts the best two-milers in jumps racing, with the likes of Desert Orchid, Un de Sceaux and the legendary Altior all featuring on what is a fantastic roll of honour. This year’s contest will be no different as the Queen Mother Champion Chase hopefuls are set to appear at Ascot for their final preparations before Cheltenham.
So, read on as we take a look at some of the favourites for the Clarence House Chase…
The Willie Mullins-trained Energumene is on a bit of a hot streak, so much so in fact, that he is now the favourite ahead of Shishkin to win at Ascot later this month. After a fantastic final year as a Novice last season, winning all four of his races — including the Grade 1 Irish Arkle and top-level Ryanair Novice Chase — by a combined 52 lengths, the seven-year-old got off to the perfect start on his seasonal reappearance last month, winning the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase by a comfortable eight and a half lengths. There are still question marks surrounding his ability at this level as he only recently stepped up from a Novice, but the bookmakers are taking no risks as he’s the even money ante-post favourite.
Not often is there another horse more fancied than Shishkin over fences, but that is the scenario Nicky Henderson and his prized asset find themselves in as Energumene continues to make waves in the chasing division. Both undefeated over fences, these two were supposed to clash at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, but with Mullins’ horse pulling out, Shishkin cruised to a 12-length victory in the Arkle. The seven-year-old has started this season in similar form, beating Greaneteen by a comfortable 10 lengths in the Group 2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last month and jumps racing fans would love nothing more than to see these two go up against each other at Ascot before a blockbuster clash at Cheltenham.
Hoping to be a thorn in the side of the two frontrunners, and potentially cause an upset in the Clarence House Chase, is First Flow. The Kim Bailey-trained horse is the defending champion after beating favourite Politologue to win the race by seven lengths from 14/1 last year, but he couldn’t follow that stunning victory up at Cheltenham or Punchestown — coming up well short and not even challenging in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Punchestown Champion Chase. Despite being back to winning ways in his seasonal reappearance, landing the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase at Huntington from 12/1, it’s hard to see the 10-year-old getting the better of his younger competitors. But you can never rule him out!
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