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Clarence House Chase - 17th January, 2015

Sprinter Sacre has not been seen on a racecourse since pulling up in the 2013 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park, but the Nicky Henderson-trained superstar is on course to return to the track on Saturday afternoon and is a red-hot favourite to win the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.

The former Queen Mother Champion Chase hero was the dominant figure in the two-mile division, but he was found to have a major issue when losing his unbeaten tag over fences in that Desert Orchid and Henderson has had to be patient with his star performer.

However, after a successful schooling session at Newbury over the festive period, the gelding is now set to return in this race he won two years ago and a positive display in this event will see him launch to a short-priced favourite for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Dodging Bullets propelled into the Grade 1 arena with an impressive victory in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park and Paul Nicholls charge could look to notch back-to-back top class successes in this event and he will be aiming to put pressure on the aforementioned favourite.

Willie Mullins's Twinlight caused a shock when winning the Dial-A-Bet Chase over the Christmas period and the Irish raider could make the trip over to Ascot for this event, whilst Somersby has been a mainstay in this sort of event for years and along with Grey Gold adds more depth to a fascinating race.

Latest Betting for 2015 Clarence House Chase

Evens Sprinter Sacre

2/1 Dodging Bullets

5/1 Twinlight

6/1 Somersby

50/1 Grey Gold

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Clarence House Chase History

The Clarence House Chase is a Grade One race run at Ascot over two miles, one furlong for horses aged five years or older and is widely regarded as a trial for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Established in 1987, the first two runnings of this contest fell foul to the weather and were abandoned, so the inaugural race actually took place in 1989 where a legend of the racecourse, Desert Orchid was victorious.

With the race initially ran as a handicap until it changed in 2007, Dessie, ridden by Simon Sherwood gave his rivals heaps of weight and managed to edge out Panto Prince by a head in a thrilling finish in a season which would see him lift the Cheltenham Gold Cup crown for trainer David Elsworth.

However, it was strange to see a horse use this race as a trial for the Gold Cup and generally horses running in the Victor Chandler Chase would be see contesting the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

In 1994, Viking Flagship was a two length winner of the Victor Chandler Chase before going on to Prestbury Park a couple of months later to lift the Champion Chase trphy, whilst Call Equiname emulated that feat in 1999 for up-and-coming trainer Paul Nicholls.

However, it would be another inmate from Paul Nicholls' Ditcheat stables that would become a name synonymous with both this contest and the Champion Chase.  After emerging on to scene when winning the 2008 Champion Chase, Master Minded then headed to Ascot the following season and merely annihilated his rivals by 16 lengths in the 2009 Victor Chandler Chase before retaining his Champion Chase title,

As an eight-year-old after winning the Tingle Creek Chase and Game Spirit in 2010 the Clive Smith-owned gelding then managed to win his second Victor Chandler Chase beating Somersby by a short head to become the first horse to win this race twice.

Recent Winners of Clarence House Chase

  • 2000 - Nordance Prince
  • 2001 - Function Dream
  • 2002 - Turgeonev
  • 2003 - No Race
  • 2004 - Isio
  • 2005 - Well Chief
  • 2006 - Tysou
  • 2007 - No Race
  • 2008 - Tamarinbleu
  • 2009 - Master Minded
  • 2010 - Twist Magic
  • 2011 - Master Minded
  • 2012 - Somersby
  • 2013 - Sprinter Sacre
  • 2014 - Sire De Grugy
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