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Arkle Trophy Preview - Cheltenham Festival

Published on: 12/03/2018

Arkle Trophy Preview - Cheltenham Festival

March 13, 2018 14:10pm - Cheltenham

Distance: 2 miles (3,219 metres)

Track: Left-handed

Qualification: Five-years-old and over

Weight: 11st 4 lb

Allowances: 7 lb for mares

Purse: £99,662 (2018)

The second race on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival brings more high quality National Hunt racing in the form of the Arkle Chase. Once again it is a Willie Mullins inmate who will head the betting with Footpad expected to set off at Evens or less. For many this will be their Day 1 banker as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of big name winners such as Altior, Douvan and Sprinter Sacre.

The six-year-old came in fourth to Buveur d’Air in last year`s Champion Hurdle on goof to soft going. Sind then, he has been sent out four times and delivered three victories, twice on much softer ground. As a result, the Cheltenham course could be perfect for the gelding come Tuesday.

He conquered the larger fences at Navan back in November on ground that was heavy in places and was ridden home with 11 lengths to spare by Daryl Jacob. Subsequently, he triumphed by a similar margin at a Grade 1 at Leopardstown in December. On that occasion, he beat the in-form Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now who goes in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase on the same day.

But it`s not all about Footpad, the Harry Whittingham-trained Saint Calvados has come into contention and has been backed into 3/1 ahead of this race. He was barely tested when he bagged a Grade 2 at Warwick in his last race, his fifth win in his last six starts. Aidan Coleman will be in the saddle hoping to make it four wins in a row on the five-year-old and the heavy conditions might just level the playing field.

Arkle Chase Winners - past four years:

2014: Western Warhorse (6) - Tom Scudamore (David Pipe)

2015: Un de Sceaux (7) - Ruby Walsh (Willie Mullins)

2016: Douvan (6) - Ruby Walsh (Willie Mullins)

2017: Altior (6) - Nico de Boinville (Nicky Henderson)

Latest Betting odds:

Footpad 11/10

Saint Calvados 3/1

Petit Mouchoir 4/1

Brain Power 14/1

Robinshill 150/1

You can back Saint Calvados at 3/1.

By Neil Morris

Published on: 12/03/2018

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (12/03/2018 20:05:28) but are subject to change.