ONE MIN AWAY FROM VICTORY
THE highly anticipated showdown between Altior, Douvan and Min in today’s Queen Mother Champion Chase has been overshadowed by injury concerns surrounding the three horses at the head of the market.
We waited forever to see whether Douvan would run in the Ryanair or the Champion Chase and when Ricci Rich finally declared his hand we get the devastating Seven Barrows bulletin that Altior was lame.
I’m no vet but having an abnormal gait on the Monday with pus oozing out of a body part doesn’t sound like the ideal preparation for the biggest race of the season. In fact, it sounds more like me after a night out on the sauce.
Let’s not forget Altior has already missed a large slice of the season after suffering chronic wind problems, which again sounds more like me after a night on the sauce.
Although Nicky Henderson’s horse looked at the peak of his powers when cruising past Politologue to victory at Newbury, the pace was slow and his breathing won’t have been fully tested.
Douvan is another horse plagued by injuries and hasn’t been seen since flopping at 2-9 in this race last year.
The Douvan of old would be a stonking bet at 4-1 but can we put any faith – or any of our folding stuff – on a horse we haven’t seen for a year? The answer to that question, by the way, is no.
Ruby Walsh, himself coming back from injury, has chosen to ride Douvan over Min, which tells you he’s optimistic.
Racing has its own natural way of denting confidence and I feel he’s made a mistake. MIN
has only seen action three times this year due to slight injury concerns but still looks to have had by far the best preparation of the three leading lights.
His performance when destroying the field in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown may even be good enough to beat a fully fit and firing Altior and Douvan.
He is the logical selection to win this race, not that logic and horseracing are natural bedfellows.
CHAMPION MATERIAL Min (right) can upset the odds by beating Altior and Douvan