JNWine.com Champion Chase - 1st November, 2014

Ma Filleule ended last season in tremendous fashion having chased home Holywell in a Cheltenham Festival contest before going on to land the Topham Chase at Aintree and the Nicky Henderson-trained mare will now look to kick off her campaign with a win in Down Royal's JNWine.com Handicap Chase on Saturday.

She will step up into Grade One company, so will need to continue on an upward curve, but the manner in which she excelled over the Grand National fences at Aintree suggests there's a lot more to come and she will be popular amongst punters.

Boston Bob was another who excelled in the latter part of the season and the Willie Mullins-trained raider first bagged the Melling Chase before winning the Punchestown Gold Cup and he will be a major player.  Mullins could also unleash Cheltenham Gold Cup third On His Own, who will aim to build on that career best.

Paul Nicholls has won this race before with Kauto Star and he could send over Grand National fifth Rocky Creek and the Ditcheat inmate has to be considered for what should be a fascinating renewal, whilst Galway Plate winner Road To Riches is another gradually working his way up the ladder and can't be discounted.

Mouse Morris has elected to let First Lieutenant take his place in this event instead of the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, but the Irish raider hasn't tasted victory since the 2013 Betfred Bowl and will look to finally get his head back in front in what is a cracking renewal.

Latest Betting for 2014 JNWine.com Champion Chase

3/1 Ma Filleule

10/3 First Lieutenant

4/1 Rocky Creek

4/1 Boston Bob

7/1 Road To Riches

10/1 On His Own

16/1 Tammys Hill

33/1 Realt Mor

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JNWine.com Champion Chase History

The JNWine.com Champion Chase is a Grade One race run at Down Royal over three miles for horses aged five years or older and is widely regarded as a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

Established in 1999, it is now the first Grade One contest of the Irish national hunt season and is often used by trainers as the first port of call for their potential Cheltenham Festival hopefuls.

Florida Pearl won the inaugural running of the contest and it would prove the catalyst for bigger and better things.  Having already bagged Champion Bumper and RSA Chase glory the two previous seasons, Willie Mullins' star became one of Ireland's legendary chasers as he went on to win a staggering four Irish Hennessy titles as well as the 2001 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

In 2000 Looks Like Trouble stormed to a 15-length victory in this contest for Noel Chance and Richard Johnson after he had already bagged the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier in the year to highlight that this race attracts the leading staying chasers in the UK & Ireland.

Beef or Salmon was a dual winner of the race for Michael Hourigan in the mid-2000's, but a real superstar would join him on two victories as Paul Nicholls' Kauto Star stormed to success in 2008 and 2010.

Having already won his first Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007, the Clive Smith-owned gelding then managed to notch up his first JN Wine success when winning by 11 lengths in 2008.  He then used this contest as a springboard to more Gold Cup glory to regain the coveted title at Prestbury Park in 2009.

At the age of 10, Kauto Star then made the trip over to Ireland from Ditcheat and in a workmanlike performance bagged his second success for Nicholls and Ruby Walsh to enhance his already glittering CV.

Recent Winners of JNWine.com Champion Chase

  • 2000 - Looks Like Trouble
  • 2001 - Foxchapel King
  • 2002 - More Than A Stroll
  • 2003 - Glenelly Gale
  • 2004 - Beef or Salmon
  • 2005 - No Race
  • 2006 - Beef or Salmon
  • 2007 - Taranis
  • 2008 - Kauto Star
  • 2009 - The Listener
  • 2010 - Kauto Star
  • 2011 - Quito De La Roque
  • 2012 - Kauto Stone
  • 2013 - Roi Du Mee
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