After today's forfeit stage only 9 horses are still engaged in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and its almost impossible to imagine anything other than the brilliant Sprinter Sacre maintaining his unbeaten record over fences and adding the 2m Champion Chase to his already impressive portfolio of big race wins.
The 2011 winner Sizing Europe is still a possible for the race and has looked as good as ever this season winning all four of his races in Ireland but at the age of 11 its hard to see him regaining the crown he won 2 years ago and his best chance of Festival glory for the 3rd time is surely in the 2m5f Ryanair Chase.
Last years winner Finians Rainbow has only been seen once this season when disappointing on heavy ground at Ascot then missing his intended start in the King George on account of the heavy ground at Kempton on Boxing Day and has since undergone a minor wind operation. He got the better of Sizing Europe in a thrilling renewal of this race last year and then looked better than ever winning over 2m4f in the Aintree Chase the following month and he like Sizing Europe may see his best opportunity of Festival glory the following day in the Ryanair Chase.
Cue Card who chased home Sprinter Sacre in last years Arkle and despite being readily brushed aside he got closer than any other horse has to Sprinter Sacre finishing 7 lengths behind him in second and miles clear of the remainder of the field and he could be the most likely to get anywhere near the brilliant odds on favourite thou his participation is far from certain as he like the two horses above is also entered in The Ryanair Chase. He is a intended starter in The Ascot Chase on Saturday and his performence there should give a good indication where he is heading at Cheltenham.
The other entries include Sanctuaire, Somersby, Realt Dubh, Tataniano and Wishful Thinking and like the name of the latter horse is is wishful thinking to believe any of these five horses have any chance of getting close to the brilliant Sprinter Sacre who looks the banker of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.