Spanish-bred jumps horse Nube Negra is set to appear in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. He finished second in the race in 2021 and his connections will be hoping he can go one place better this year.
The nine-year-old chaser, who is trained by Dan Skelton, has been one of the leading horses in his division over the last three years. He has been successful five times and finished second on four occasions from his 12 appearances.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature race on day two of the Festival. The Championship contest is one of the horse racing betting options punters will have across the four days. Nube Negra is 15.00 in that market, which indicates he is one of the outsiders in the field.
Nube Negra cruises to Shloer Chase success. pic.twitter.com/LM85Unl9Lq
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) November 13, 2022
Skelton’s chaser began the season with victory at Cheltenham in the Grade Two Shloer Chase. He won by eight lengths in an excellent performance which indicated he was back to his best.
On his final run before the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Nube Negra had to settle for second place in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton behind Editeur Du Gite. The form of that race has been boosted as the winner went on to prevail in the Grade One Clarence House Chase on his next run.
Put The Kettle on Denied Him Victory In 2021
In what was a thrilling finish to the 2m contest in 2021, Nube Negra found just one horse better than him in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He was held by Put The Kettle On, who scored by half-a-length.
Skelton’s runner finished ahead of the hot favorite Chacun Pour Soi, who was a further length back in third place. It was a performance that helped the horse cement his position as one of the best 2m chasers in the UK and Ireland.
The three-time Grade Two winner is still looking for his first success at the highest level, and connections of the horse will be hoping that will come at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.
Energumene And Edwardstone Lead the Field for Championship Race
The two horses that Nube Negra and the rest of the field will need to beat in the Queen Mother Champion Chase this year are Energumene and Edwardstone. They have both had excellent campaigns.
Energumene canters to victory in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork pic.twitter.com/aWlqvRTA6f
— PA Racing (@PAracing) December 11, 2022
Energumene is the defending champion after winning the race in 2022. The Irish horse prevailed in the Grade Two Hilly Way Chase at Cork earlier in the season. He then had to settle for third place in the Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham. A big run is expected from Willie Mullins’ runner on his return to the Championship contest.
Last season’s Arkle Trophy winner Edwardstone has proved he can mix it with the best 2m chasers now he is out of novice company. Alan King’s chaser landed the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown back in December. His record at Cheltenham is very good so he should relish the course once more.
This year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase takes place on March 15. It will be the 64th renewal of the 2m contest at the Festival.