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    Fabiolo and Jonbon Set for Another Showdown in the Champion Chase
Fabiolo and Jonbon Set for Another Showdown in the Champion Chase
El Fabiolo winning by ten lengths at Irish Arkle — Patrick McCann

Fabiolo and Jonbon Set for Another Showdown in the Champion Chase

El Fabiolo and Jonbon lead the pack of contenders in Wednesday’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

The two formidable competitors are poised for their third showdown, with the score tied going into this year’s Festival clash. Jonbon landed the initial blow in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree two years back, but El Fabiolo emerged as the clear victor in last season’s Arkle.

Edwardstone, despite suffering two defeats at the hands of Jonbon this season, holds a notable Festival triumph on his impressive record, having claimed victory in the 2022 Arkle. Captain Guinness, last year's runner-up to Energumene in this event, will also be in contention. Elixir De Nutz aims to build on his surprise win over Jonbon in the rescheduled Clarence House Chase at Prestbury Park in January.

Completing the line-up are Boothill, last year’s Champion Chase runner-up Funambule Sivola, and Gentleman De Mee.

Ballyburn is the hot favourite to kick off the second day of this year's Festival with a win in the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle, facing just seven rivals.

Trainer Willie Mullins will have a strong presence with four entries, including Naas Grade One runner-up Ile Atlantique and Predators Gold, a two-time second at the elite level at Leopardstown.

Handstands, trained by Ben Pauling, leads the home team after securing a hat-trick of victories over timber in the Listed-class Sidney Banks at Huntingdon.

Fact To File, the second-place finisher in last year’s Champion Bumper, is among the six contenders remaining in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, having already tasted Grade One success over fences at the Dublin Racing Festival under Mullins’ guidance. Paul Nicholls’ representative Stay Away Fay, the victor in the Albert Bartlett a year ago, will also compete.

Regrettably, Broadway Boy was withdrawn by Nigel Twiston-Davies following an unsatisfactory tracheal wash, and Grey Dawning has been omitted by Dan Skelton.

Minella Indo, the former Gold Cup champion, headlines the twelve-strong field in the Glenfarclas Chase, which also includes last year’s Gordon Elliott duo Delta Work and Galvin.

Mullins is poised to field nine runners in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, aiming to secure a record-extending 13th victory in the contest.

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