The Queen Mother Champion Chase picture has been altered quite dramatically in recent weeks and Gary Moore's Editeur Du Gite is one horse who has come to the fore in that time.
As the countdown for the 2023 Cheltenham Festival intensifies, we are taking a look at some of the horses expected to play major roles in the Cotswolds.
After his gutsy win in the Clarence House Chase in January, Editeur Du Gite is very much in the Champion Chase discussion.
|What||Queen Mother Champion Chase|
|Where||Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire|
|When||3.30, Wednesday 15th March 2023|
|How to watch||ITV Racing, Racing TV & bet365 Sports Live Streaming|
|Odds||Energumene 13/8, Edwardstone 7/4, Editeur Du Gite 11/2, Blue Lord 10/1, Gentleman De Mee 12/1, Greaneteen 20/1|
It's unlikely too many people had Editeur Du Gite down as a would-be Champion Chaser when he was well held in a handicap at Cheltenham in October's seasonal return.
He was conceding a stone to the pair in front of him - Dads Lad and Effernock Fizz - but even allowing for that, it didn't strike as a precursor for Grade 1 glory.
At Kempton over Christmas, Niall Houlihan's partner was the prime beneficiary after Edwardstone unshipped Tom Cannon in the Desert Orchid Chase, clearing away by some 13 lengths from runner-up Nube Negra.
Many would have felt that was a fortuitous success, given the mid-race exit from Edwardstone, but the same could not be said at Cheltenham a month later in the rearranged Clarence House.
There he supplemented his win with a Grade 1 breakthrough, dominating the race from the front and rallying very gamely when re-opposing Edwardstone came to ask a major question and briefly headed him up the run-in.
It was a determined effort and they had the defending Champion Chase hero Energumene behind in third.
Cheltenham Festival: Edwardstone
Cheltenham Festival: Energumene
Editeur Du Gite is now 11/2 to win the Champion Chase, with Energumene out from odds-on to 13/8 and Edwardstone priced at 7/4.
It looked for all money that Alan King's runner Edwardstone would pick off Editeur Du Gite up the Cheltenham hill, but he found a rival with lots of resolve in his pathway.
Will it be a similar story come 15th March? Perceived wisdom suggests that perhaps Edwardstone expended too much energy getting to the front and he might be played later at the Festival.
Energumene, meanwhile, was held up and restrained in the Clarence House, with Willie Mullins and Paul Townend likely to have a tactical rethink for the next day.
His win in the Champion Chase last season was inspired by allowing the horse to kick on, as all of his wins have generally tended to be.
Editeur Du Gite may not get things all his own way next time, but he certainly showed in the Clarence House that his willingness to get into a scrap is not to be doubted.
Moore believes Editeur Du Gite has earned his place in the Queen Mother Champion Chase line-up, although he does not think it will be easy for him to repeat his Clarence House heroics at the Cheltenham Festival.
Moore famously won the Champion Chase with Sire Du Grugy in 2014, so he knows what is required to land the ultimate two-mile chasing prize.
He acknowledges that both Edwardstone and Energumene are likely to be tough nuts to crack in the Cotswolds rematch.
"He's earned his place (in the Champion Chase), 100 per-cent, definitely," said the trainer.
"I'm sure Willie will find improvement in Energumene and Alan King will do the same with his fella and then there's always the likes of Greaneteen as well, so it's not going to be easy, but we will give it our best shot.
"The big thing that surprised me though was the way he stuck his neck out and wanted to win."