Cheltenham Arkle Challenge Trophy
Cheltenham Festival race guide – The Arkle Challenge Trophy
Captain Chris displayed Arkle-winning credentials for Phillip Hobbs and Richard Johnson in this same race last year, and Sprinter Sacre looks to hold all the aces this time around. After failing to get up the Cheltenham hill in the Supreme Novices’ a year ago, Nicky Henderson’s stellar performer has made the transition to chasing look easy, such was the nature of his three victories over the larger obstacles this season. Perhaps one of the bankers across the four days, Sprinter Sacre’s main danger may well come from Al Ferof who got the better of him in the aforementioned Supreme Novices’ twelve months ago. Peddlers, Cue Card and Menorah could also make the frame should they tilt towards the Arkle.
Finian’s Rainbow has only beaten seven horses home all season but that hasn’t’ stopped him waiting all three races. They are likely to go a breakneck pace here and his jumping will come under plenty of scrutiny, he may not be quite up to that test. If there is a horse capable of running a big race at big odds it’s Mikael D’Hauguenet who won at last year’s Festival, it looked as though he has a big future but things haven’t dropped into place this season, he remains capable of much better.
Arkle Challenge Trophy odds
This is another race for novice chasers on the old course at Cheltenham; where they will swing left-handed once more before descending towards home. Named after one of it’s most famous competitors, Arkle, the race will find out those horses who lack fluency over the obstacles. The two-mile distance is the minimum trip at the festival but emphasis is very much on speed and good jumping. Nicky Henderson certainly knows how to ready a horse for this race, the shrewd trainer has won it three times but his most recent win was over a decade ago in 2000. Paul Nicholls and Alan King also have good records over the years in this race any horse from these top stables must be taken seriously in the betting.
What happened last year?
Sizing Europe pipped Somersby by ¾ of a length to take the corresponding race at last years festival and trends suggests horses that won last time out perform well in this one. Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Europe had won its four previous starts and Somersby its last two, and it would be no surprise to see this year’s winner have form already in the book. As the new jumps season gets underway, it will be interesting to see how potential runners for this race fare in their trial runs. Paul Nicholls’ Celestial Halo who has fallen in his last two runs with Ruby Walsh aboard has been mooted as a possible entrant but the ante-post is relatively low key at this very early stage.
Arkle Challenge Trophy 2011?
The 2011 Arkle promises to be an eye-catching affair and all entries will be looking to end their respective jumping seasons on a high. Jump jockeys will also be aiming to cram in the winners at the festival and it wouldn’t be jump racing without Tony McCoy riding a boat load of winners. The 15-times Champion jockey has tasted Arkle success three times before and his mount will sure come in for money if the McCoy factor can loom large.
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