If defending champion Sizing Europe successfully defends his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at odds on of 10/11 with Betfred, then he will join a list of 11 previous horses that have accomplished the same feat.
Hugely underrated by many pundits, probably owing to the poor strength in depth in the two-mile chase division in recent years, Sizing Europe has twice shown he is the king of Prestbury Park by winning the Arkle in 2010 and last season’s Champion Chase.
He is odds-on across the board to do so again this season.
If you want to take him on though, there are a couple of trends in your favour, most notably regarding the poor record defending champions have at the Cheltenham Festival and especially in this race.
It is a pretty damming statistic that 10 of the last 11 champions to come back and defend their crown have been beaten – that 10/11 still looking good to you?
Well, if it does, then you will take plenty of heart from the fact that five of the last 11 winners ran in the previous season’s renewal.
It seems as though this is a race for specialists at this trip and for horses that relish the undulating nature of the Cheltenham hill.
Other stats to keep mind are that all but one of the last 30 Champion Chase winners have started at no bigger than 11/1, which puts a line through a couple of outsiders that looked to have a beat of a squeak, most notably Realt Dubh.
However, Ireland have won five of the last nine Champion Chase’s, which does swing the scales in the Noel Meade’s runner favour but he is going to have improve significantly if he’s to dethrone Sizing Europe or even Big Zeb, who has it all to prove following his awful run in the Tied Cottage Chase behind Henry De Bromhead’s star pupil.