The 25/1 offered about Gauvain to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase is long gone. The best price now is 14/1 which is available generally while Blue Square are as short as 10/1. Irrespective of the price after yesterday’s win in the Sinbad Testimonial Chase at Cheltenham yesterday he has to have a great chance of triumphing in the big 2 mile race back at Cheltenham in the Spring.
Yes, there are lots of other more well known horses around and Gauvain has come from nowwhere to be a serious contender but lets just look at yesterday’s race. The bare facts are that he beat last year’s Champion Chase second Forpadydeplasterer 4 lenghts into second with Tataniano a further 6 lengths back in third. In addition to coming second in the Queen Mum, ‘Forpady’ filled the runner-up spot in Melling Chase behind Albertas Run and the Champion Chase at Punchestown behind Golden Silver. Yes, he’s been second for the last 78? times in row but this is top class form. Beaten 10 lengths, giving 5lbs was Tataniano who when last seen put up a scintillating performance at Aintree winning a Grade 1 Novice Chase by 13 lengths. He’s got 50% win to run ratio over fences having won 5 out of the 10 chases he’s competed in.
What really impressed me was the way Gauvain travelled. If you watch the race again you’ll see that he appeared to be coping with the strong pace better than his opponents at pretty much any stage. Having jumped the 3rd last he looked every inch the winner barring a fall and duly ran on strongly up the hill when shaken up. He was also going away at the line. Gauvain seemed to jump out to the right slightly in the early stages but soon warmed up to jump his fences with enthusiasm and precision. A fluent jumping technique will be important come the heat of the battle in March.
When having a bet several months in advance of a race it’s important to know that is the horses target and Nick Williams confirmed this yesterday. He’s clearly managed to improve Gauvain since acquiring him from Charlie Mann’s yard 4 months ago. Given that his trainer was surprised at the win and the fact it was his first run since April 2009 you’d have to think there is plenty of improvement to come.
His long layoff was due to a tendon injury so there is a risk that this could cause problems further down the line. Nick Williams has also yet to train a Festival winner but he’s perfectly capable of producing one.
So what of the opposition? Well, current Champion Big Zeb has a perfect comeback and has to be a serious threat but to me he has a better chance than the other major contenders at this stage all of who have question marks against them for one reason or another.
I hope you got on at 25s but even the 14s is a value price. If he continues his upward curve he’ll be a lot shorter on the day. Nick Williams could well have a quality 2 mile chaser on his hands.
Recommended bet: 1 point ew Gauvain 25/1 – William Hill – Queen Mother Champion Chase