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Cyclone targeting Queen Mother Champion Chase


January 15, 2014 - The smart Irish chaser Hidden Cyclone looks set to take his chance in the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 12 having proved his ability this season to perform at a high level over the minimum trip.

Campaigned last term at up to three miles, the Shark Hanlon-trained gelding has shown good form this term at shorter distances and appears to be progressing well as he bids for a crack at the two-mile chasing crown currently held by the mighty Sprinter Sacre.

With Nicky Hendersonís superstar far from a certainty to defend his title following the well publicised heart scare that forced him to pull up on his seasonal reappearance at Kemptonís Christmas meeting, the race for the Champion Chase could be wide open.

A winner at Listowel in September when beating the grand old-timer Forpadydeplasterer in the Southampton Goodwill Chase, Hidden Cyclone ran a fine race at Cheltenham in November when third behind Johnís Spirit in the Grade 3 Paddy Power Gold Cup, fading only in the closing stages of the ultra-competitive two-mile-five-furlong contest.

Last time out the nine-year-old Stowaway gelding put up a fine effort back at around two miles when failing by just three-quarters-of-a-length to beat last seasonís Jewson Novicesí Chase winner Benefficient after failing to get a clear run at a crucial stage after the final fence. That form entitles Hanlonís charge to respect if he does indeed bid for honours at Cheltenham in March.

A top-priced 10/1 shot in the ante-post betting for the day two Cheltenham Festival highlight, Hidden Cyclone has clearly improved his once sketchy jumping so if the ground comes up on the soft side he could develop into a well-supported contender in the racing betting closer to the big event.

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