A disappointing turnout of just five runners scuppers any each-way betting so this may not be an original view but it’s very hard to see past the favourite here. Energumene is arguably the best two-mile chaser on either side of the Irish Sea at the moment and he won by a very comfortable margin at Cheltenham after Shishkin and Chacun Pour Soi departed the race early.
The Champion Chase showed that Energumene is tactically adaptable and doesn’t have to make the running. Patrick Mullins is likely to stride on at a good gallop again which should suit Paul Townend’s mount.
Chacun Pour Soi isn’t getting any younger and he looks vulnerable to Energumene’s younger legs. Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating spectacle and it would be thrilling to see the pair jump the last together. (Liam Bramall)
I have to say that myself and Liam are world’s apart with our views of this race but it is a game of opinions. Energumene did indeed win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, but he had plenty of luck on the day. Taking nothing away from his achievement, the race fell into his lap and he was always a winner once the gods looked down on him.
Shishkin was an early casualty after being pulled up early and I thought Chacun Pour Soi was going as well as Energumene when he unseated Patrick Mullins five out. My pick is a much better horse in Ireland and he has won eight of his nine starts over fences in his native land.
Chacun Pour Soi has an exceptional record at Punchestown and made it two from two in Grade 1s at the track when winning this race last year. I think he will do it again. (Adrian Wall)
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