Clarence House Chase 2024 – El Fabiolo v Jonbon Is On But Just Four Runners Entered

El Fabiolo Jonbon
El Fabiolo Jonbon

The much anticipated rematch of El Fabiolo v Jonbon from last season’s Arkle is on, but they are two of just four Clarence House Chase runners at Ascot. This Grade 1 race over almost 2m 1f on Saturday, 20 January has a total prize fund of £175,000, but that isn’t enough incentive.

Owners and trainers run scared from the first two in the Queen Mother Champion Chase market on Cheltenham betting sites, so it is in essence a match on paper. Shloer Chase and Tingle Creek hero Jonbon has a 170 rating from the BHA handicapper. Nicky Henderson is the winningest trainer of the Clarence House with six victories including two of the last five editions.

Jonbon owner JP McManus has enjoyed two victories in this contest. The first of those was with Blitzkrieg way back in 1991 when it was run as a handicap. Defi Du Seuil was the other winner for McManus four years ago. Jonbon has a 1-1 head-to-head record against old rival El Fabiolo but his win came over hurdles.

Willie Mullins has had Clarence House Chase runners at Ascot races and when it was moved to Cheltenham before. Un De Sceaux won this a record three times in consecutive seasons. With injury to Energumene, who has placed in the race in each of the last two campaigns, El Fabiolo comes over from Ireland instead.

Simon Munir & Isaac Souede’s Arkle hero has a 2lb higher rating of 172 than Jonbon. El Fabiolo beat the Henderson inmate by 5 1/2 lengths at Cheltenham, then followed-up at Punchestown and in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork on reappearance.

Elixir De Nutz & Unexpected Party Complete Clarence House Chase Runners

A whole stone behind Jonbon on official figures, but off a career high mark of 156 is Exeter races Haldon Gold Cup hero Elixir De Nutz. Joe Tizzard’s charge is in the veteran stage of his career now as a 10-year-old. Elixir De Nutz followed-up at Newbury before finishing a respectable third behind last year’s Clarence House victor Editeur Du Gite in the Desert Orchid at Kempton.

Third place at Ascot is worth over £18,500 here. Elixir De Nutz may simply jump round under the trainer’s nephew Freddie Gingell and pick up that prize money. It would take the career earnings of this horse over fences to over £165,000. Elixir De Nutz is as big as 25/1 on horse racing betting sites to pull off an upset.

Completing the Clarence House Chase runners is Dan Skelton entrant Unexpected Party. He is a further stone (15lb) behind Elixir De Nutz, but declined the option of running in handicaps over longer trips. A Listed winner of the Robert Mottram Memorial Trophy at Chepstow races in October, Unexpected Party looks out of his depth.

He is the rank outsider of four here after forfeiting other entries at Ascot and Haydock Park. The smallest field size in recent Clarence House history was when Altior beat Fox Norton and Diego Du Charmil in 2019. One more than that runs here, but Ascot faces a battle with the elements and freezing temperatures to get the race on.

Complete Clarence House Chase Runners Guide 2024

Simon Munir and Isaac Souede1. El Fabiolo

  • Age: 7
  • Rating: 172
  • Jockey: Paul Townend or Daryl Jacob
  • Trainer: Willie Mullins
  • Form: 3/12/11111-1
  • Notable Career Wins: 2023 Irish Arkle Novice Chase, 2023 Arkle Challenge Trophy, 2023 Hilly Way Chase
  • Clarence House Chase Odds: 4/7

Unbeaten in five starts over fences including three Grade 1s. Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown form franked since. Leading claims and has 5 1/2 lengths in hand over Jonbon on Arkle meeting.

Elixir De Nutz silks2. Elixir De Nutz

  • Age: 10
  • Rating: 156
  • Jockey: Freddie Gingell
  • Trainer: Joe Tizzard
  • Form: 16/F2111/77/2/4211PP/921292-5113
  • Notable Career Wins: 2019 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle, 2023 Haldon Gold Cup
  • Clarence House Chase Odds: 25/1

Grade 2 limited handicap winner at Exeter and went in again at Newbury races during the Winter Carnival. On career high mark, but no match for Editeur Du Gite off level weights in Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton latest. Something to find with two Clarence House Chase runners and, at his age, further progress unlikely.

JP McManus silks3. Jonbon

  • Age: 8
  • Rating: 170
  • Jockey: Nico de Boinville or James Bowen
  • Trainer: Nicky Henderson
  • Form: 11/11121/111211-11
  • Notable Career Wins: 2022 Top Novices’ Hurdle, 2022 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, 2023 Maghull Novices’ Chase, 2023 Celebration Chase, 2023 Shloer Chase, 2023 Tingle Creek Chase
  • Clarence House Chase Odds: 13/8

Five-time Grade 1 winner and never out of the first two in his career. Held by El Fabiolo on Arkle evidence, but added his name to illustrious Tingle Creek roll of honour at Sandown races latest. Beat that one over hurdles, so this rematch a box office attraction.

Unexpected Party silks4. Unexpected Party

  • Age: 9
  • Rating: 141
  • Jockey: Harry Skelton
  • Trainer: Dan Skelton
  • Form: 2/41221P/232353-1554
  • Notable Career Wins: 2023 Robert Mottram Memorial Trophy Novices’ Chase
  • Clarence House Chase Odds: 66/1

Listed winner at Chepstow on reappearance and fifth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Last to finish in graded novice chases at both Sandown and here latest. Impossible to make a case for despite forfeiting handicap entries in favour of this.

What Date & Time is the Clarence House Chase 2024?

📅Time/Date: 3:37m (Saturday, 20th January 2024)
🏇Racecourse: Ascot
💰 Purse/Winner: £98,472.50
📺 TV: ITV4 / ATR

Previous Recent Winners of the Clarence House Chase

  • 2023 – Editeur Du Gite (14/1)
  • 2022 – Shishkin (5/6 fav)
  • 2021 – First Flow (14/1)
  • 2020 – Defi Du Seuil (11/10 joint-fav)
  • 2019 – Altior (1/10 fav)
  • 2018 – Un De Sceaux (4/9 fav)
  • 2017 – Un De Sceaux (1/2 fav)
  • 2016 – Un De Sceaux (1/2 fav)
  • 2015 – Dodging Bullets (7/2)
  • 2014 – Sire De Grugy (5/4 fav)

WATCH: El Fabiolo Beat Jonbon in the Arkle

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