Special Tiara among 16-1 outsiders for Champion Chase

Willie Mullins plans to pitch both Douvan and Min against Henderson’s star Altior

Special Tiara, ridden by Noel Fehily,   winning  the Champion Chase  at Cheltenham in 2017. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Special Tiara, ridden by Noel Fehily, winning the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2017. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

The mouthwatering prospect of Altior v Douvan in next week’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase means Special Tiara’s achievement in appearing in the two-mile championship for a fifth successive year at Cheltenham could get overlooked.

Henry De Bromhead’s stalwart is among the 16-1 outsiders for next Wednesday’s festival feature despite being the defending title holder after his narrow success a year ago. On that occasion Douvan’s dramatic eclipse at 2-9 captured the headlines.

However, Special Tiara’s jockey Noel Fehily is not ruling out the 11-year-olds’ chances of upsetting the odds again.

“I thought he ran very well at Leopardstown the last time. It looks a good Champion Chase, but he never knows how to run a bad race. He always turns up, goes flat out, jumps, and he’s always there or thereabouts. He’s a very genuine horse.”

Special Tiara was third to Min in his last start at Leopardstown in the Grade Two Coral Chase during the “Dublin Racing Festival”.

Twice finished third

Special Tiara has also twice finished third in the Champion Chase, and was sixth on his other appearance in the race.

Willie Mullins plans to pitch both Douvan and Min in against Altior, but that has not prevented Nicky Henderson’s star being installed one of the shortest favourites of the week.

Altior returned to action with an impressive victory at Newbury, and Henderson has said: “We haven’t needed to do a whole heap [of work]. He did a bit [Monday] He’ll do a little bit more, and then he can have a school. He’s a natural athlete.”

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