This is the feature race on Day Two - The Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Much like the Arkle, this is a race that I love. The best chasers running a top speed into the larger obstacles thrills me and this is sure to be an absolute cracker.
He's a few previous stats which you may like to see.
- 9 of the last 10 winners have had either 2 or 3 runs this season.
- 9 of the last 10 winners placed in their last completed Graded race before the Queen Mother
It's a shame we won't be seeing last years winner Sprinter Sacre who has now been retired.
Willie Mullins has the hot favourite again, last year it was Un De Sceaux. Can I see Douvan being beaten this year? I very much doubt it, but let's take a look at some of the runners.
Most people's banker of the festival and it's easy to see why. Unbeaten in his last 14 starts and 9 from 9 over fences, including 6 Grade 1's. A handicap mark of 174 rates him 7lbs better than anything else in the field. With the ground not an issue surely the only thing that can beat Douvan is himself.
He's not been off the bridle over fences and I honestly can't see any horse in this race troubling Willie Mullins' stable star in the slightest.
Fox Norton is not without a chance according to his trainer Colin Tizzard. Form at Cheltenham counts for a lot and Fox Norton has came out on top in his last 3 visits. He had an impossible task on his last outing at Newbury giving Altior 5lbs but nevertheless Colin Tizzard was still impressed.
"He gave Altior 5lb, when second at Newbury after not jumping that well and had spent a month in his box beforehand after he jumped into himself and cut a leg when winning at Cheltenham in December. If we get a clear run in the next three weeks he will take some beating."
He will have to improve 8lb in the ratings to get anywhere near Douvan but punters may fancy him at 9/4 without Douvan in the betting.
4th in this race last year behind Sprinter Sacre, God's Own then went on to beat Vautour in the Irish Champion Chase at Punchestown a month later. Tom George has given his 9 year old Gelding a winter break primed ready for another assault on the 3 big festivals (Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown).
The ground was softer than ideal last year and with a dry week on the cards he looks good value for a place at around 12/1.
Another of Tom George's runners, I actually quite like the look of Sir Valentino as an each way shot in the betting without Douvan Market.
Officially rated 158, Sir Valentino ran Special Tiara to within half a length at Kempton back in December, despite giving away 6lbs. That run really should put Sir Valentino in the 160's category (the last 10 winners of this race have been rated 165 or higher). He was staying on that day and a stiffer finish here should really suit. He's a horse that goes well fresh and could be an outsider for place money.