Champ in Name, Champ In Destiny

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Champ

The Paddy Power 68 Sleeps To Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on Wednesday is a great name for a race.

is a great name for a horse and he can win the novices' chase (1.25pm) on that same race card come New Year's Day.

The Festival begins 68 days later on , March 10 and Champ is the ante post favourite for the on Day 2. Festival (25 January) is the only other fixture at Cheltenham before the jumps meeting that matters most.

The Dipper Novices' Chase on Wednesday is run over two miles and four and a half furlongs and there are 17 obstacles. It is a Grade 2 event for inexperienced horses and five-year-olds and older are eligible. The race is a recognised trial for the RSA Chase on the second day of the Festival.

Lostintranslation won the race in 2019 and that horse is a leading contender for the Cheltenham . Yanworth was the winner two years ago and he has since won at Grade 1 level.

Since 2006, every winner has been aged from 6 to 9. Nicky Henderson has trained the winner two times in the last six years and Barry Geraghty has ridden two winners of the race since 2014.

Here are some 10-year betting trends for the Dipper Novices' Chase:

  • The average starting price of the winners was almost +400.
  • The SP's ranged from -225.02 to +1600.
  • There were 3 winning outright favourites.
  • 1 winner started at double-figure odds.
  • 4 winners were returned at +275 to +350.

All but two of the winners had already won a chase. A typical winner had an official rating over 140. A previous win in a Grade 1 or 2 race is a key factor. Champ ticks all these boxes.

The horse is owned by JP McManus and must be special because he is named after . The best jumps in the history of the sport retired in 2015 after winning the jockey's title 20 times.

Champ has an official rating of 152 over fences and a career-high Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 156. The horse can currently be backed at -149.99 with Bovada but these odds are subject to change. There are 12 declared runners before the overnight stage so each way bets will be settled at one quarter the odds for three places.

Pingshou looks a massive price at +2500 with Bovada. The horse has historical form and ratings to make the payout places behind Champ. Pingshou has a best RPR of 149 which means the horse is only a few pounds and lengths behind the favourite. The horse's best form was at the three spring festivals (Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown) in 2017. He is unlikely to race to that mark again but even an effort several pounds below that level makes Pingshou a good bet to finish in the first three but Champ looks a good thing.

The (2.00pm) on the same card is an open handicap chase that could attract a field of 16 runners or more. The standard place terms would then be one quarter the odds for the first four but some bookmakers may offer extra places on this competitive race. has won at the highest level and could be a blot on the handicap. The horse could be the long shot bet of the day at +1400 with Bovada.

But Champ in the Dipper Novices' Chase is the bet of the day.

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