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Can Dynamite Dollars upset the big three in the Cheltenham Champion Chase?


The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of the major attractions of the Cheltenham Festival each year. Run over a distance of one mile, seven furlongs and 199 yards, the Champion Chase is one the Festival’s prime Grade One events, and is the highlight of the second day.

At the time of writing, it’s difficult to pick a winner in the latest Cheltenham Festival betting odds, with the highly fancied trio of Altior, Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi the top three favourites to win the Champion Chase.

But one horse looking to break into that upper echelon in the betting market is Dynamite Dollars, who currently sits as fourth-favourite in the odds for the Champion Chase. Trained by Paul Nicholls, Dynamite Dollars only recently made a comeback after more than a year out with injury. That return came in the Win Bigger On The Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury, where he finished third as Champion Chase rival Altior bagged the first-place finish.

Winning was never going to be the number one priority for Nicholls and Dynamite Dollars in that race. Instead, it will have simply been encouraging to see this talented horse competing once again. It was a solid performance, with a strong jumping display, and it was perhaps just a lack of fitness that cost Dynamite Dollars in the end.

Getting him back to his best has been a challenge for Nicholls, and the trainer has always been aware of the difficult road ahead in terms of getting him in good shape for Cheltenham.

“He's a tank of a horse,” Nicholls said. “He's not like Cyrname or other lean and light horses who you can easily get fit. I've done a lot with him.”

Dynamite Dollars was forced to miss Cheltenham last year with the injury that kept him out for so long, and there will be a determination among Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden to make the most of this year’s opportunity.

There is stern opposition standing in their way in the form of Altior, Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi. Altior is one of the biggest names in jump racing at the moment, although he suffered defeat to Nicholl’s Cyrname, also ridden by Cobden, in the 1965 Chase at Ascot in November. But that does not take away from his champion qualities, and there is a reason he’s the current favourite for the Champion Chase.

Defi Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs, is another horse in fine form, undefeated in his last three outings and eyeing more success at Cheltenham after winning the Novices’ Chase last year. The same can be said of Chacun Pour Soi, and although this year will be the eight-year-old’s first appearance at Cheltenham, that does not detract from his undoubted quality.

From Nicholl’s perspective, he’ll be going up against some of the sport’s other top trainers – Nicky Henderson, Hobbs and Willie Mullins, and it would be a chance to get one over on those other big names. For Dynamite Dollars, it may prove to be a challenge too great given the standard of opposition, but stranger things have happened at Cheltenham, and who’s to say he won’t deliver an explosive performance to live up to his name.