2010 Queen Mother Champion Chase Preview: Each Way Banker?

It seems, dear reader, that everyone has a 'Cheltenham Banker' come mid-March, and most of them get rolled over... so it might be strange for me to flag up a banker fully two and a half months prior to the big meeting... but you already know I'm a bit strange! 😉

So, without further shilly-shallying, let's get on with it.

The last nine winners, and their best run prior to January, look like this:

Year Winner Best Run Prior To January
2009 Master Minded 1st G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)
2008 Master Minded 2nd G1 in France
2007 Voy Por Ustedes 2nd G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)
2006 Newmill 3rd G1 Hurdle
2005 Moscow Flyer 1st G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)
2004 Azertyuiop 2nd G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)
2003 Moscow Flyer 1st G2 Chase
2002 Flagship Uberalles 1st G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)
2000 Edredon Bleu 3rd G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)

[Remember, foot and mouth disease claimed the 2001 Festival]

We can see then that the Tingle Creek is THE key prep race, with 6 of the 9 Queen Mother Champion Chase winners finishing on the podium in the Sandown heat. Note, though, that three of those podium finishers failed to win at Sandown before triumphing at Cheltenham in the biggie.

Let's now look at the Queen Mother Champion Chase winners' best run the previous season:

Year Winner Best Run Season Prior
2009 Master Minded WON Queen Mum Chase
2008 Master Minded Won Auteuil 4yo Chase
2007 Voy Por Ustedes WON Arkle
2006 Newmill Won G2 Novice Chase
2005 Moscow Flyer Won 3 G1 Chases
2004 Azertyuiop WON Arkle
2003 Moscow Flyer WON Arkle
2002 Flagship Uberalles 1st G1 Chase (Tingle Creek)
2000 Edredon Bleu 2nd Queen Mum Chase

Unsurprisingly, all won (including Eddie Bleu, whose best run was actually a 2nd place finish in the previous QM Chase). Four of the nine had won at the previous year's Festival, and seven of the nine had prior course and distance form (note, I am including both old and new courses here, so it's not technically all CD form).

Year Winner Bred Odds CD? Age
2009 Master Minded French 4-11 Yes 6
2008 Master Minded French 3-1 No 5
2007 Voy Por Ustedes French 5-1 Yes 6
2006 Newmill Irish 16-1 No 8
2005 Moscow Flyer Irish 6-4 Yes 11
2004 Azertyuiop French 15-8 Yes 7
2003 Moscow Flyer Irish 7-4 Yes 9
2002 Flagship Uberalles Irish 7-4 Yes 8
2000 Edredon Bleu French 7-2 Yes 8

Interestingly, perhaps, we note that all of the victorious nonet were French or Irish bred.We can also see that eight of the nine won at odds of 5-1 or shorter, and 7 of 9 were 6-9 years old.

Actually, age is interesting as follows:

Only French breds have won aged 7 or younger since 1997; and only French breds have won aged 6 or younger, EVER!

It should also be noted that, although dear old Well Chief will be 11 next March, Moscow Flyer scored for this veteran bracket back in 2005, so it can be done.


So that's the stat attack - but what does it all mean?

Well, applying the numbers to the nags produces the following:

Odds Horse CD Form
7-4 Master Minded Won QM x 2
10-1 Twist Magic Fell twice, 6th of 8
10-1 Kalahari King 2nd Arkle
10-1 Big Zeb Fell only try
10-1 Forpadydeplasterer Won Arkle
16-1 Barker No runs
16-1 Well Chief 1st Arkle, 2nd & Fell QM
33-1 Petit Robin 3rd QM last season
33-1 Planet Of Sound 3rd Arkle
Odds Horse Tng Crk 123 Age '10 Fr/Ire?
7-4 Master Minded No 7 French Yes
10-1 Twist Magic Yes 8 Yes
10-1 Kalahari King No 9 Yes
10-1 Big Zeb No (4th) 9 Yes
10-1 Forpadydeplasterer Yes 8 Yes
16-1 Barker No 9 Yes
16-1 Well Chief Yes 11 No
33-1 Petit Robin No 7 French Yes
33-1 Planet Of Sound No 8 No

Master Minded is justifiably favourite, as a two time winner of the race, and current Champion Chaser. But he was less imperious last season than in 2008 (not saying much maybe, as his 2008 triumph was one of the most visually stunning performances I've ever seen!), and he was beaten in a new race at Cheltenham in November.

That race, the Connaught Chase, featured four of the first six home in the 2009 Champion Chase, and it was Well Chief who prevailed. We can expect a much more match-fit Master Minded in March, but this run was disappointing nevertheless. The fact that he was also beaten by Mahogany Blaze, who is a good enough stick, but limited at the top level, says a lot too.

It should be noted that he's only been beaten in UK on his first or last runs of the season, which bodes better for MM fans. He might well win again. But 7-4 is not for me thanks.

Moving down the card, and they then bet 10-1 (top price) each of four: Twist Magic, Kalahari King, Big Zeb, and Forpadydeplasterer.

Twist Magic is a marvelous horse at Sandown, as he again proved when winning the Tingle Creek. However, his Cheltenham performances have been, umm, less sparkling. Two tumbles and a tailed off does not a Champion Chase winner make. A place lay for me come the day...

Kalahari King was just touched off in last season's Arkle, and is relatively unexposed. The problem is that he hasn't run this season and may not run before February. That can't count in his favour, and nor from an ante-post perspective can the fact that the Ryanair Chase has not been discounted yet.

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Too many question marks to make him a betting proposition.

Big Zeb is a swerve as well. This horse makes mistakes, especially in top class races where he's not able to dominate. His only Grade 1 chase wins were in Ireland in a novice and a very soft looking Leopardstown affair. I liked his chance last year, and he let me (and, more notably, himself) down with more dodgy jumping. The way he bungled his way round Sandown behind Twist Magic was further fuel to an already over-heated fire. Readily passed over.

Which leads us onto Forpadydeplasterer. The only horse to have ticks in all boxes, he's got CD form having won last season's Arkle (as did Voy Por Ustedes, Azertyuiop and Moscow Flyer first time) ; he was second in the Tingle Creek (as were Voy Por Ustedes and Azertyuiop prior to winning at Cheltenham); he'll be an eight year old next season (which is the optimum age - three 8yo's have won in the last nine years, more than any other; and ten since 1985, way more than any other); and, he's Irish bred.

Forpady runs best on decent ground, which he's quite likely to get for the Festival (trainer Tom Cooper was quoted as saying that he hated the going at Sandown behind Twist, and it was only guts and determination that kept him in the runner-up berth).

As if all that wasn't enough, he's certain to run in the Queen Mum (barring accident or injury), and his chase record is two wins and six seconds from eight starts.

That number of silver medals has to be a concern, but it's worth noting that his two chase wins were the Arkle where he got his preferred ground, and a very soft novice event on debut over fences.

He's 10/1 pretty much everywhere, and all firms go 1/4 the first three, so a tenner each way would return £35 for a place. I can't see him being out of the frame (though I could see him chasing one home), and I've backed him accordingly.

Of the others, Well Chief is loveable in the extreme. In my experience, 'loveable' horses tend to be expensive to follow, as when I backed him in the 2008 renewal where he bailed at the second fence as the even money favourite. I wasn't gloating about my 2/1 voucher any more... He could win, but there are too many negatives (including the fact that he's got glass shins) and he might not even make it to Chelts.

Barker is the 'dark horse'. He's got no Cheltenham form - in fact, he's got very little form. He does have a cut and dried verdict over Forpady, though again the ground would have been against my boy and in favour of the plumper of the Two Ronnies... Moreover, he's never raced outside Ireland, and his Topspeed figures give him an absolute mountain to climb. Too dark - don't believe the hype.

Petit Robin and Planet of Sound round out the top mob in the betting, and the former was third in the race last year. He's in the right care (Nicky Henderson), is the right age, a French bred (won the last three, and four of the last six), and has scope for improvement.

The 33/1 is certainly tempting with the slight caveat that he was withdrawn from both the Tingle Creek and the Peterborough Chase in recent weeks. Still, he's been close to Master Minded twice, and has a bronze medal from last year's Champion Chase, so 'double carpet' may represent very good value.

Planet of Sound is a British bred, which is a negative in the race in recent years; was beaten over five lengths in the Arkle by Forpady; and he's been racing over further than two miles, suggesting the Ryanair Chase may be the Festival route.

Most Likely Winner: Master Minded (7/4, no bet)

Best Each Way (nap): Forpadydeplasterer (10/1, most firms)

Best Long Shot (e/w): Petit Robin (33/1, Stan James, Ladbrokes)


I'm finally back in dear (c)old Hackney, after my sojourn in the States. That was truly an amazing experience, and I'm very fortunate to have crafted a business that allows me to operate anywhere on the planet (as long as there's mains electricity and internet capability - oh, and ideally beer and horse racing!).

When time permits, I'll write up my journey for any of you who are interested (no problem if you're not, it's obviously off topic). But, as a reminder of just how long I was away - six and a half weeks - I've finally managed to get the Breeders Cup video onto youtube. It was a very big file and kept crashing out on me, but it's up there now, and you can view it - should you so wish - by clicking the box below:

[SIDE NOTE: if you're not fussed for the US National Anthem, you can move the time slider from 1:24 to 2:52... All American viewers are honourbound to listen to the full video ;)]

As wonderful a trip as it was, it is fantastic to be home, despite the temperature differential (from 25C to 0C is a bit of a shocker), and despite my bags failing to arrive with me for the THIRD time during my travels (unbelievable).

I'm really looking forward to getting back into the equine swing of things, and have lots planned for next year. In fact, next year, I will be embarking on an additional new role, where I'll be offering some of you the chance to follow in my virtual footsteps (or, more correctly, fingersteps) and start your own business online.

If that might be something of interest to you, look out for more news early in the New Year - and if it's not of interest, don't worry, I'll still be offering my thoughts on racing, races, and racing systems (because that is my true passion; although running an internet business is becoming quite a consuming pastime too!)


Many thanks to those of you who applied for the Irish racing article writer role. Your time and effort in applying is very much appreciated. I'll be going through your submissions over the next couple of days, and will be in touch with all of you to personally thank you and to let you know how things will move forward.

Applications are no longer needed, so if you didn't email me already, there's no need to now.


Finally, I've news of the Geegeez geegees.

Obvious had her first run after a three month injury break last Friday, and it would be true to say we were all rather disappointed. She was going very well at home and, despite it being a weak looking contest,  she was well beaten.

I was traveling so unable to be at the track, and it subsequently transpired that she had a very bad four hour journey in the horse box, due to snow and ice. When she got to Southwell, she got very upset as well. Some of you may have noticed her drift on Betfair, and I imagine the two events were related.

As if that wasn't enough, her usual jockey, Amir Quinn, was also struggling to get to the track due to the weather. In the event, we had a claimer on board, and he put Obvious into a six-way battle for the lead. She was very stressed already, and gave best quite rapidly.

The long and short is that a) her handicap mark will diminish as a result of this, and b) she is better than she showed.

Her next race is likely to be mid-January, and we will hope for considerably better.

Baggsy, our other club horse, continues to train up after a slight knock from her last race, and she's being aimed at a race in mid-January as well, probably at Lingfield. This will be her third run in a maiden, after which the handicapper will pass his verdict and we'll see what happens after that. We're very hopeful of finding a race (or two) with her, as the winter progresses.

Finally, Night Orbit is doing great. He was pulled from the Ascot race last Friday, and is instead entered at Wincanton on Boxing Day. It's a qualifying race for the Pertemps Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival, and the dream at this stage is to be present as an owner at that great meeting. Running placed or winning is too much to hope for probably, but just being there will be amazing. Fingers, toes and other appendages are firmly crossed.

That's all for today and, as there's nowt to note between now and Boxing Day, I'll be taking a few days off from the blog (busy working on those other things I've mentioned in recent posts), but will be back before the New Year.

In the meantime, please accept my very warmest wishes to you and your families for a




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22 replies
  1. Avatar
    Barry says:

    Hi Matt, its nice too see you had a good trip,

    wishing you and yours a merry xmas and good new year,


  2. Avatar
    ron taylor says:

    This looks to be very good information, Matt, obviously well thought out and has every right to succeed. I wish you well with it. Ron.

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Ron – I always take a lot of time over the big race previews. This one took just over five hours. The truth is I love doing them! Obviously, there’s a difference financially between the analysis and the result, but if this was a maths exam, I’d get good marks for my ‘workings out’!


  3. Avatar
    tommy mac says:

    Hello all
    Well about Obvious to say im disappointed is not in it.
    Ive just been reading your blog and i find it amazing that everybody knew about the travelling conditions and did not bother to let the syndicate know a thing about it.
    The race was last friday and this is the first we have heard about these problems, we really should be kept up to date on these matters. As i say very disappointed.
    Anyway all the best to all the members and good luck for 20/10.
    Cheetrs Tommy

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Tommy

      Like I said, we’re all disappointed. Regarding the news, as I was on an aeroplane at the time, it was difficult for me to receive any info. Julia knew this, so couldn’t contact the syndicate.

      If you check your inbox, you’ll find that this is not the first you’ve heard about it, as I contacted you earlier to share the information I had received.

      I hope that we have (much) better luck next time, but for now, please remember that this is horse racing and a sport more prone to misfortunes I’ve yet to find.

      You have my best wishes Tommy, and again I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to pass on any news in time.

  4. Avatar
    frank fiddler says:

    once again a very informative column i really look forward to your comments keep them coming all the best for christmas and new year fank

  5. Avatar
    Roy says:

    Hello Matt you have given some great tipping in the last 12 months,and i like to say thanks a lot well done,great tipping
    All the best for Xmas and a Happy New Year.

  6. Avatar

    Hi Matt and welcome back to dear old blighty.Sorry about the weather but look on the bright side-today’s the longest night so were half-way to summer!
    By the way how did you manage to cross your ears?
    Good luck,

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks a lot for your kind comments, everyone.

      Regarding crossing my ears, it’s an old yoga trick I learned… 😉


  7. Avatar
    Nathan says:

    Matt –

    Another top antepost review – have a good Xmas!

    (and roll on the Festival – going to GC day for the first time this year, tickets booked :-))

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Nathan – best of luck for GC Friday, even though its a long way off still.


  8. Avatar
    Jonathan Pollinger says:

    Good to see you analysis comes up with the same selections as me for the Champion Chase and Hurdle. Let’s hope we’re both right!


  9. Avatar
    Joyce says:

    Welcome Home, glad to see you arrived at all! way things are
    going with the airlines!! anyway once again I enjoy your write ups

    so will taking the e/way you suggested, so all the best to you and
    the family !

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks weeyin, let’s hope one of those nice double digit horses does the biz for us come March.


  10. Avatar
    Richard Dymond says:

    Hi Matt
    The 7/4 does not look too bad for Master Minded when you consider that when race day comes around he will probably be long odds on.
    Your place selections make a lot of sense and I will be backing them.
    Many thanks

  11. Avatar
    John Boyle says:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,Matt! My personal resolution is to avoid races where the prize money does not cover the cost of a good meal in a half decent restaurant!(OK, so I’ve got expensive tastes!) Seriously,though, living in Ireland as I do, the difference in prize money over here really does amaze me!


  12. Avatar
    Andrew says:

    Merry Christmas to you Matt.
    It is great to have you back in
    time for Christmas .

    Your race analyses are always very
    well thought out and well received.

    All the best, Andrew

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thank you all for your very kind comments and good wishes. I’m extremely flattered that you enjoy reading my stuff almost as much as I enjoy writing it. 🙂


  13. Avatar
    John Evans says:

    Hi Matt,
    Welcome back, I have already had a bit on Forpadydeplasterer, but I will Double my bet after reading your Blog. complements of the Season to you.

  14. Avatar
    michael says:

    love to read your thoughts on racing so in a typical year how many points profit would you expect to make,also how many bets in a week do you make on average.

    yours in sport


    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Michael

      I bet in three different ways:
      1. I follow systems to the letter
      2. I back trends horses
      3. I have the occasional day where I just plain punt for the fun of it!

      With 1. it depends on the system, with 2. I’ve become much more selective and may only have three or four trends based bets a month, and with 3. this is normally when I’m at the races, as I rarely have the time to sit in front of ATR/RUK and bet race to race (though I still love to!)

      Regarding profit, I look for systems to turn 40+ points at least per annum (NB not 200+ !!!!!), and have a small portfolio that I use (some will under-perform and others compensate by over-performing – peaks and troughs, etc).

      From my own trends based betting, you can see for yourself from the races I put online how they’ve fared (clue: pretty well!), and the horses I bet on this basis are the horses I mention in the related blog posts.

      I lose money when I bet race to race (as pretty much everyone does), but I only bet to small stakes when doing this, as it’s about the craic rather than the bottom line: pure entertainment.

      Hope that answers your questions.


  15. Avatar
    ron.goodall says:

    to matt
    your views on champion chase are noted but i will stick with
    master minded i hope they get him there sound
    anyway have a good xmas and a happy heathy peaceful and prosperous new year that includes all the people on your site
    ron goodall

Comments are closed.