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2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase runners - The full field for Wednesday's big race at Cheltenham

Jon Wilde in Wed. 15th March 15 Mar 2016
  • Ten runners will line up for the 2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • Can Un De Sceaux win the Wednesday highlight for Willie Mullins?
Ruby Walsh celebrates aboard Un De Sceaux after winning the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

A field of 10, including the last three winners of the race, will line up for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday in which young pretender Un De Sceaux is set to start a hot favourite.

Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy and Dodging Bullets triumphed in this exciting speed test in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, but it is the up-and-coming Willie Mullins-trained star whom the bookmakers believe will claim the crown this time.

Un De Sceaux has won all of his 14 completed starts in France, Ireland and England since his career began in February 2012, his only defeats coming when he fell over fences at Thurles and Leopardstown when in command both times.

This trailblazing front-runner indicated he would be a major contender for the Wednesday showpiece when he won the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival by six lengths from God’s Own, who re-opposes.

And the way in which Un De Sceaux came home five lengths ahead of Sire De Grugy at Ascot in January only served to reinforce the notion that the previous winners of this prestigious prize will have their work cut out to prevent him making it back-to-back Cheltenham Festival successes.

After two seasons ruined by physical problems since his stellar 2012-13 campaign, Sprinter Sacre has re-established himself as a top two-mile chaser this term with victories at Cheltenham and Kempton Park, and aims to regain the title at the age of 10.

He will surely never be as good again as he was when stringing together 10 hugely impressive victories over the course of two seasons, but Nicky Henderson’s charge has shown he is no back-number and could exploit any weaknesses in Un De Sceaux.

Sire De Grugy, who was beaten three-quarters of a length by Sprinter Sacre at Kempton just after Christmas, has not been declared in blinkers even though his trainer Gary Moore revealed that was a possibility.

Mullins also runs Felix Yonger, while the Irish challenge is further bolstered as Henry de Bromhead saddles Special Tiara whose former stable companion Sizing Granite makes his first start since joining Colm Murphy.

Just Cameron and Somersby, who contests his eighth consecutive Cheltenham Festival having finished second (twice) and fifth in this race, complete the field.


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2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase runners - The full field for Wednesday's big race at Cheltenham

A field of 10, including the last three winners of the race, will line up for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday in which young pretender Un De Sceaux is set to start a hot favourite.

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