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Energumene different class in Champion Chase

Wed 15th Mar 2023, 16:40

Energumene puts in a display of jumpingEnergumene puts in a display of jumping
© Photo Healy Racing

Energumene defended his Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase crown in imperious style at Cheltenham — routing the opposition to become the first back-to-back winner of the day two feature since Altior in 20018 and 2019.

Only third in the Clarence House Chase behind reopposing pair Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone he arrived at the Festival with a point to prove.

Backed into 6-5 favourite as the rain continued to pour throughout the afternoon, his supporters would have had barely a moment of worry as he produced a performance of real dominance to light up a gloomy second day.

In a change of tactics, Energumene was ridden forwards by Paul Townend — keen to keep tabs on Niall Houlihan on the front-running Editeur Du Gite.

Travelling with real zest, Townend was an image of supreme confidence after four out at the same point Rachael Blackmore aboard Captain Guinness and Edwardstone were beginning to appear in Energumene’s wing mirrors.

However, the writing was on the wall for the nine-year-old’s rivals from the moment Energumene poked his nose in front at the third-last and with Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone soon beaten off, it was left to Captain Guinness to chase home Energumene in vain as Townend asked his mount to stretch clear.

Owned by Brighton & Hove Albion supremo Tony Bloom, Energumene returned a 10-length winning verdict back to Captain Guinness in second and having given Willie Mullins a first Champion Chase success 12 months ago, he took the master of Closutton’s overall Cheltenham tally to 92 Festival winners.