Friday, February 26

Put the Kettle On Smacks of Each-Way Value in Champion Chase

Willie Mullins has every reason to be a happy man. The Irish trainer almost had the perfect Dublin Festival last weekend, with several of his top-tier runners not only winning, but doing so with such apparent ease that bookmakers were forced to clip their odds further for Cheltenham next month. Gaillard Du Mesnil, Appreciate It and Chacun Pour Soi all impressed at Leopardstown, all enhanced their reputation and all saw their odds slashed in the Cheltenham ante-post markets. 

Mullins is a big supporter of the Dublin Festival and sees it as a worthy event in its own right, rather than just a warm-up for Cheltenham. But even he would be forced to admit that this sets him up nicely for the main event next month. Above all, it was Chacun Pour Soi’s performance in the Dublin Chase that must have put the biggest smile on Mullins’ face. After all, the wily Irishman has yet to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase. And, Chacun Pour Soi looks like the best chance for Mullins since Douvan was at the height of his powers. 

Chacun Pour Soi odds-on for Champion Chase

Some bookmakers cut Chacun Pour Soi to as low as 4/6 for the Champion Chase, and he is odds-on across the board. As it stands, the 9-year-old is the shortest price for any runner at any race at the festival. Even the majestic Shishkin can be found at even money for the Arkle with several firms. But let’s be honest, 4/6 (or thereabouts) is not the kind of price punters dream of backing. And, lest we forget, Douvan went off at 2/9 for the 2017 Champion Chase and went down with a whimper. 

So, is there value in the race? Of all the Queen Mother Champion Chase runners, you have to say that it is Put the Kettle On who looks the smart bet. Beating Chacun Pour Soi might be just a stretch too far (although, you can’t rule anything out), but the 12/1 on offer generally gives scope for each-way value. 

Put the Kettle On is, of course, an Arkle winner in 2020, becoming the first mare to win the race since Anaglogs Daughter in 1980. Mare’s obviously don’t have a great record in the Champion Chase, but that feels like the sort of record that can be broken, nor should we forget that Put the Kettle On will benefit from the 7lb allowance for mares in the race. 

Coleman or Blackmore should saddle speedy mare

But there are two reasons to be even more optimistic over Put the Kettle On at least finishing second behind Chacun Pour Soi. First, the horse looks like a specialist over course and distance, winning three from three at Cheltenham. A run out at Leopardstown in December, where she finished third to Chacun Pour Soi, should be looked upon with caution. Put the Kettle On was supposed to be running the Desert Orchid before the travel ban came in. The run-out at Leopardstown was hastily arranged. Cheltenham, particularly on soft ground, will suit Put the Kettle On much better. 

The other reason is the possibility of Aidan Coleman or Rachel Blackmore taking the reins on the mare. Coleman has been in good form all winter, but if he cedes the choice to Blackmore, who usually gets the pick from Henry de Bromhead, punters are getting a jockey for whom the stars look like aligning at Cheltenham. 

With rides like Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle and A Plus Tard (probably) in the Gold Cup, Blackmore has some huge chances this year. We keep talking about Put the Kettle On as if it is some surprise package – it really isn’t. But it would be a shock to see the mare put Chacun Pour Soi. But as for each-way value, it could be one of the picks of the festival. 

by tips4punters |