Champion Chase 2020 Dynamite Dollars
Criteria for building an ante-post portfolio for the Cheltenham Festival 2020
1 – Selecting horses that are likely to turn up on the day.
Easier said than done….When I say likely, as likely as I can be, no one can predict what may unfold. What setbacks any horse may meet, a loss of form or an alternative engagement is just a few of the pitfalls.
2 – You must get ‘value’
As a measure of this, price taken versus the starting price on the day is a decent marker. Finding value against false favourites, horses who make up a percentage of the market who don’t turn out on the day. Overlooked and underestimated performances offer entry into the markets at a value point.
3 – Horses who have proven their ability with a fast time performance
The Cheltenham Festival races dish up a unique test. Races are commonly run at a relentless gallop, a test of speed, stamina and jumping that rarely gets tested at other times through the National Hunt season.
2020 Champion Chase
The 2020 Champion Chase has potentially a more open look to it this year. Altior the reigning champion and the dominant force in the 2-mile division for the past few seasons looks to be testing the waters of the staying route with the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day reportedly on the agenda.
Altior is due to start his season at Ascot against Cyrname over 2 miles 5 furlongs.
At this stage, nobody has any idea how this will play out? If Altior succeeds at Ascot, then it’s likely the next step will be the King George at Kempton then if he proves his stamina then the Cheltenham Gold Cup will likely be on his agenda. This would leave the way clear for a new Champion Chaser at 2 miles. If Altior fails at Ascot or Kempton, he could well be back on the Champion Chase trail.
If he turns up in the Champion Chase then he’s very likely to be a short-priced and worthy favourite.
Altior still heads the Queen Mother Champion Chase markets at this point. From what we know, he could well be targeted elsewhere at the 2020 Festival. It’s a starting point for unearthing some potential value in others. If he doesn’t contend the Champion Chase come March the market on the day will have a very different look without Altior.
Dynamite Dollars – Champion Chase
At the prices, one horse stands out, the Paul Nicholls trained Dynamite Dollars.
The Champion Chase provides the supreme test over 2 miles and fences. Not often are these conditions replicated throughout the season, a truly run 2-mile test with a focus on jumping ability. Trial races for the Champion Chase will often not replicate the requirements, not many are an optimum test of speed and stamina.
Previous seasons Champion Chases and Arkles for the up and coming novices frequently provide a true test.
Dynamite Dollars posted a time performance eclipsed only by Altior, Politologue and Cyrname last year. The later, trained like Dynamite Dollars by Paul Nicholls looks very unlikely to head to the 2020 Champion Chase
Duc Des Genievres achieved a time on par with Dynamite Dollars in winning the 2019 Arkle at Cheltenham. I’d suggest at a current best priced 25/1 that Duc Des Genievres is over-priced.
Dynamite Dollars win at Sandown
The race that points to Dynamites Dollars ability and suitability to an extreme test was the Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown on the 8th December 2018.
The form of the Henry VIII didn’t get the credit it merited at the time, I believe it is still under-valued and is the driver of value in the price on Dynamite Dollars for the 2020 Champion Chase.
Several performances after Sandown showed the form in a stronger light. Dynamite Dollars gave weight and a beating to the very talented Kalashnikov. Henry VIII 2nd Ornua who won the Grade 1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices Chase at Aintree on Grand National day. Highway One O One verified the Sandown form where he was beaten 29 lengths when on his next run beating all but Kildisart in a super competitive Cheltenham novice handicap burdened with a big weight.
At Sandown, the ground was soft and Ornua ensured a thorough test that day setting a strong pace. The time performance of the pair marked them down as Grade 1 horses over 2 miles on soft ground. With a similar test in a Champion Chase, Dynamite Dollars would be right in the mixer.
Dynamite Dollars target for the 2020 season
Dynamite Dollars season was cut short last year after he sustained an injury after winning a Grade 2 Novice Chase at Doncaster in January 2019.
He missed the Cheltenham Festival and the opportunity to be tested against the best of his generation. This is factored into his current Champion Chase price.
His trainer Paul Nicholls recently reported Dynamite Dollars in good health. He said that he would likely “give him a bit more time and get him ready for the Game Spirit Chase in February as a stepping stone to the Champion Chase”
With the number of entries some horses get for the Cheltenham Festival, it’s important when backing horses Ante-post to have one with a single or target race you are pretty confident of them being aimed at. From Paul Nicholls comment, I’m taking it that the Champion Chase is the intended target at this point.
40/1 is the current best price, should he turn up and perform with credit at the Game Spirit Chase, as a fresh horse I can envisage him starting much shorter than 40/1 at Cheltenham in March. Happy to pay small stakes each way at this stage to establish an opening position.