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2022 Clarence House Chase Trends
The Clarence House Chase is one of the biggest two-mile chases in the National Hunt racing horse racing calendar and is a race that regularly brings together some of the best speed chasers from either side of the Irish Sea.
The Grade 1 contest, which has taken place in January since its inauguration in 1989, has a stellar roll of honour that features many of the biggest names in the sport, including the likes of Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior.
The Clarence House is often seen as a stepping stone to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March and seven horses have won both races in the same season – Viking Flagship (1994), Call Equiname (1999), Master Minded (2009), Sprinter Sacre (2013), Sire de Grugy (2014), Dodging Bullets (2015) and Altior (2019).
The 2022 edition of this famous race may well provide an eighth name to the above list because it looks set to be the stage for a mouthwatering clash between Shishkin and Energumene, the best two-mile chasers either side of the Irish Sea.
It’s a potential clash of the ages and one that should give us a major pointer to which of these horses can lift the biggest prize in the two-mile division at Prestbury Park in March.
2022 Clarence House Chase Details
Date: Saturday, January 22
Status: Grade 1
Distance: 2m 1f (2m 167yds)
Prize fund: £150,000 (£85,425 to the winner)
Live on: ITV4 and Racing TV at 3.35pm
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Clarence House Chase Key Ten-Year-Trends
- The market leads the way: Eight of the last ten Clarence House Chase winners were sent off first or second favourite.
- Only the cream need apply: Nine of the last ten winners had already scored at Grade 1 level.
- Proven winners important: Every one of the last ten winners had already won at least races over fences.
- Right-way around: Every one of the last ten Clarence House Chase winners had already won a chase on a right-handed track.
- A numbers game: Nine of the last ten winners were officially rated 165 or higher. 2021 winner First Flow (156) was the outlier, although he is only rated 162 this time around.
- Experience is key: Every one of the last ten Clarence House Chase winners had at least six previous chase outings under their belt. Energumene falls short on this metric.
- Age matters: Un De Sceaux (2018) is the only horse over nine years of age to win this race in the last decade, indeed he is the oldest winner since 1990.
Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are the most successful trainers in the history of the Clarence House Chase, winning the race five times apiece.
Henderson, who first won the race with Big Matt in 1996, saddled Altior ahead of his emphatic 2019 success.
Willie Mullins, who saddled Un De Sceaux to win the race in three successive years (2016-18) is the only Irish trainer to get onto the honours board this century.
Ruby Walsh is the winning most Clarence House Chase jockey with four wins but the likes of Paul Townend, David Bass, and Nico de Boinville, all likely to be riding in the 2022 contest, have all tasted success in the Grade 1 contest.
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2022 Clarence House Chase Runner Guide
Amoola Gold - The lowest-rated runner in the 2022 contest but with prize money down to fifth, connections may well be tempted into running him. Beaten in ten of his 14 chase starts and not successful above Listed level so looks out of his depth against the pick of these, but he does at least bring a strong Ascot record to the table (two wins and two seconds from four starts).
Energumene - Unbeaten chaser from the all-powerful Willie Mullins stable and generally regarded now as the best two-miler in Ireland, although supporters of stablemate Chacun Pour Soi may well dispute that. What can’t be argued is the impressive way in which Energumene has dismantled his chasing opposition so far, including twice in Grade 1 company last year.
The 8-year-old posted a Racing Post Rating of 174 in winning the Hilly Way Chase at Cork in December, an RPR 4lb superior to the one First Flow posted when he won last year’s Clarence House Chase. Front-running ‘take no prisoners’ run style is likely to have most of his rivals in trouble a long way out but Shishkin is the strongest opponent he has ever faced so fascinating to see how he copes.
First Flow - Was hardly a vintage renewal of the Clarence House Stakes that he won by seven lengths in 2021 and he failed to back it up at the spring festivals, although conditions at both weren’t ideal. Soft ground on a right-handed track suits him down to a tee and he looked right back to his best when landing the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in December, so everything looks set for him to show his true colours once again. Whether that is enough to beat two horses of the calibre of Shishkin and Energumene is another question, but he will be there to pick up the pieces should the big two falter.
Hitman - Form line through Greaneteen suggests Hitman can’t possibly win this given he was just over five lengths behind Greaneteen in the Tingle Creek but his stablemate was thrashed by Shishkin at Kempton over Christmas. Still, the Sandown run was Hitman’s best on the numbers, suggesting he’s still on the improve, and Paul Nicholls has a good record in this race so it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he outran his current 11/1 odds.
Shishkin - 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner whose career has hit superstar status as a chaser, where he is a perfect 6-6. Sent off 4/9 favourite and never gave his supporters a moment’s worry when storming to a 12length victory in last year’s Arkle Chase, after which he was immediately installed a short-priced favourite for the 2022 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Missed the Tingle Creek but returned to the track with an almighty bang when trouncing the Tingle Creek winner Greaneteen by ten lengths and on that evidence, he is by some distance the best British chaser in training. Takes on Energumene for the first time but goes to Ascot as the one they all have to beat.
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2022 Clarence House Chase Betting Odds
Current UK bookmaker odds - 4/9 Shishkin, 9/4 Energumene, 6 First Flow, 11 Hitman, 50 Amoola Gold (odds correct at time of publication).
2022 Clarence House Chase Verdict
Energumene has been kicking his rivals out of the way in Ireland but he’s never faced a horse if the calibre of Shishkin and Nicky Henderson’s star can cement his position as the best chaser two-mile in training by coming home the strongest.
Energumene’s front-running style is likely to play firmly into the hands of Shishkin who is so strong in the last two furlongs of his races so it’s hard to see the Irish raider being able to repel the challenge.
If the big two bomb out, for whatever reason, then First Flow will be there to pick up the pieces.
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Clarence House Chase - Last Ten Winners
2021 First Flow (14/1) Trainer: Kim Bailey, Jockey: David Bass
2020 Defi Du Seuil (11/10J) Trainer: Philip Hobbs, Jockey: Barry Geraghty
2019 Altior (1/10F) Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Nico de Boinville
2018 Un De Sceaux (4/9F) Trainer: W P Mullins, Jockey: Paul Townend
2017 Un De Sceaux (1/2F) Trainer: W P Mullins, Jockey: Ruby Walsh
2016 Un De Sceaux (1/2F) Trainer: W P Mullins, Jockey: Ruby Walsh
2015 Dodging Bullets (7/2) Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Noel Fehily
2014 Sire De Grugy (5/4F) Trainer: Gary Moore, Jockey: Jamie Moore
2013 Sprinter Sacre (1/5F) Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Barry Geraghty
2012 Somersby (9/2) Trainer: Henrietta Knight, Jockey: Dominic Elsworth