Henry De Bromhead has raised the possibility that Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Special Tiara will not defend his crown at Cheltenham in the spring.
The 10-year-old gained the second open company Grade One success of his career when he landed the two-mile Championship back in March.
A proven front runner, Special Tiara set off to make the running and his case was boosted when the Willie Mullins-trained odds-on favourite Douvan was pulled up under Ruby Walsh.
Noel Fehily and Special Tiara stuck to their task gamely coming up the Cheltenham hill and just repelled the challenge of Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton to hold on for the win.
Special Tiara is trading at 18/1 to retain his crown in the Cotswolds in March, but his trainer has revealed he may be campaigned over longer trips in the season ahead.
He proved no match for Arkle winner Altior in the Celebration Chase at Sandown on his final start last season, going down by eight lengths to Nicky Henderson’s charge, the current 5/4 favourite for the 2018 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
De Bromhead is looking towards the PWC Champion Chase over two-and-a-half miles at Gowran Park in early October, where Special Tiara could be joined by stablemate and Galway Plate winner Balko Des Flos.
“Special Tiara is great and looks amazing. He might start in the PWC in Gowran. We are thinking about stepping him up in trip, and just see if it can open up more options,” said De Bromhead.
“Balko Des Flos could go for that as well, we are very fortunate with the horses that we have.”
With a step up in trip mooted, Special Tiara could return to the Cotswolds in the spring for a tilt at the intermediate Ryanair Chase, a race for which Fox Norton is the 4/1 ante-post favourite.
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