The Weekend’s Racing: A Preview Of The Clarence House Chase
January 20, 2017
One of the standout races on the two mile calendar takes place on Sunday at the world-renowned Ascot racecourse as the Clarence House Chase is contested on the famous Berkshire course. Ascot is synonymous with spectacular runs throughout the year and guaranteed to provide spectators and punters with an unforgettable day out – the Clarence House Chase is one of nine group one horse races held here throughout the year and sees Willie Mullins’ 9-year-old French gelding Un De Sceaux return to defend his crown.
Until its grade one upgrade in 2007, this pursuit was originally competed under handicap conditions and requires riders to negotiate their way over 13 fences. The initial proposal was for the first Clarence House Chase to be contested in 1987, but this was cancelled because of frost and twelve months later it was postponed again – this time due to the thick fog severely restricting visibility.
Consequently it wasn’t until 1989 that the inaugural race finally got the go-ahead as the wrought determination of Desert Orchid partnered by jump jockey Simon Sherwood recovered from a fall to dramatically pip rival Panto Prince to the title.
Betting behaviour at the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March is often influenced by performances in this race as recent years highlight that strong results here are likely to be replicated at the Cheltenham Festival. Six horses have won both contests in the same season with three of the last four winners at the Clarence House Chase going on to triumph at the Old Course in Gloucestershire.
Here is our preview to the 2017 edition of the Clarence House Chase and the rest of the field currently dominating the betting market ahead of Sunday’s dash for glory.
Trainer Gary Moore guided Sire De Grugy to victory here in 2014 and he will be hoping to repeat the feat with seven year-old Ar Mad – the winner of the 2015 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase and Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase. Was unable to capitalise on a blistering start in last month’s Tingle Creek Chase, but his lack of time on the track throughout 2016 means he comes into Ascot at peak race-fitness.
If Ar Mad can eradicate any fundamental errors and jump with his trademark consistency and unerring accuracy, he undoubtedly has the ability to go close.
Un De Sceaux
Despite his jumping disintegrating towards the end of the race, the Victor Chandler Chase favourite prevailed in an enthralling finish at Sandown to see off the brave challenge of Sire De Grugy at the Tingle Creek Chase. His rivals on Sunday will look to target this vulnerability, although this plucky horse is in with a great shot of defending his title at Ascot. Thrives on the softer ground and would become the first horse to defend his title at the Clarence House Chase if he were to succeed at Ascot for the second consecutive year.
In terms of experience, 10-year-old Special Tiara has proven pedigree in the chasing division as demonstrated by the two grade one encounters he won in 2013 and 2015. Despite struggling for form this campaign, he claimed victory at the Desert Orchid Chase and is a powerful front-runner. However, does he have the stamina to maintain pace with notable quick-fire starter Ar Mad?