Champion trainer Willie Mullins might well have a runner in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase for the first time in eight years as Kemboy features among the entries for the season’s opening Grade 1 event at Down Royal on Saturday, November 5.
While the race’s most successful trainer Paul Nicholls is doubly represented and Gordon Elliott holds the strongest of hands numerically, perhaps it is the 2021 Irish Gold Cup winner which is the most intriguing of the 13 hopefuls.
A four-time Grade 1 hero, the 10-year-old would be Mullins’ first runner in the race since the Ruby Walsh-ridden Boston Bob and Paul Townend’s mount On His Own finished third and sixth respectively behind Road To Riches and Paul Carberry in 2014.
Five-time winner Nicholls has entered both Frodon, successful last year under Bryony Frost, and Bravemansgame, while Elliott, who has four wins in the race to his name, has made seven entries, headed by the 2021 runner-up Galvin which made a winning return to action in the Grade 3 Irish Daily Star – Best For Racing Coverage Chase at Punchestown yesterday.
Elliott’s team also features this year’s Irish Gold Cup winner Conflated, 2020 Irish Gold Cup winner Delta Work and Fury Road with Noel Meade, who also won the race in 2018 and 2019 with Road To Respect, set to be represented by Beacon Edge. Envoi Allen, which would be stepping back up in trip, is a possible runner for Henry de Bromhead, successful with Valseur Lido in 2016 while Darrens Hope, the winner of five races for trainer Robert Murphy, is also entered.
Emma Meehan, CEO of Down Royal Racecourse, said: “Everything points to a terrific renewal of the Ladbrokes Champion Chase in three weeks’ time. Our two-day Ladbrokes Festival of Racing will mark the return to action of so many stars of the game and certainly the entries for the first Grade 1 of the season point to a top-notch renewal. The team at Down Royal are very much looking forward to two great days of racing and are working hard to ensure best in class both on and off course.”
Nicola McGeady, Head of PR for Ladbrokes, commented: “Last year’s race was nothing short of superb, so we are delighted to see Galvin and Frodon renew their rivalry once more. Although Frodon was the victor last time out, the betting suggests Galvin will be reversing that result after he cruised to victory at Punchestown yesterday.”
Ladbrokes Champion Chase odds:
2/1 Galvin, 3/1 Conflated, 7/2 Frodon, 6/1 Kemboy, 10/1 Bravemansgame, 10/1 Beacon Edge, 10/1 Fury Road, 12/1 Delta Work, 14/1 Run Wild Fred, 20/1 Battleoverdoyen, 33/1 Hurricane Georgie, 66/1 Darrens Hope