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Arkle Trophy

Which race are you looking forward to most at the Cheltenham Festival? Lewis Jones says it should be the Racing Post Arkle Chase run on the opening day….

There isn’t a better sight in racing than two-mile chasers going full speed around a track like Cheltenham.

[wpsm_video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpEIhg2JUIk[/wpsm_video]

My giddy levels always peak for the two-mile novice feature but this year my excitement is going through the roof. We have a race to savour involving four novices that all look out of the very top-class when it comes to two-mile steeplechasing. So what are our tips?

Last nine winners all aged either 6 or 7 years.

Last 26 winners were favourite or second favourite on previous run.

N Henderson has ran eight with hurdle rating 145+. Four won, three others, 2nd.

Only Western Warhorse of the last 20 wore blinkers.

Only Western Warhorse has prevented Mullins or Henderson winning the last eight

14 of the last 16 winners previously raced at Cheltenham

Six of the last eight favourites have won. All odds on.

Last ten winners all won last time out.

18 of last 20 all rated 142+ over hurdles

SUMMARY

Not 8 yrs of age or older unless Grade 1 Chase winner and rated in high 150s.
Hasn’t finished outside the first two on any completed chase start in England or Ireland.
Won last time out and has had previous run since Jan 1.
Has won at least 50% of all completed chase starts on trained by W Mullins.
If fallen in a chase, has won all others.
At least 7 total runs over hurdles/fences.
Won’t have run more than five times over fences.
A chase win in a time under 4 minutes 1 sec or Grade 2 Hurdle winning time under 4 minutes is useful.
French bred to be placed.
Will have been rated over hurdles in excess of 142 or unbeaten over fences.
Will have been favourite or second favourite last time out.
Check 2019 Festival novice hurdle form.
Won’t be a mare.
Unlikely to be wearing blinkers.
Course winner or decent previous Festival run.
Form over 2m 4f would be useful.
Can’t get away from N Henderson runners with hurdle rating above 145.
Not beaten favourite last time.
The Supreme/Arkle double is a collector’s item.
RPR recent hurdle rating of 160+ is very handy.

Contenders:

Notebook – 174 – 7yo

– poor course & festival form (12/16 over hurdles)

– poor form over 2m4f

– German bred

– trainer profile

+ Irish trained
+ Unbeaten over fences
+ 4 runs over fences

+ over 7 total runs

+ fav lto

+ won lto

+ fav for the race

Fakir D’oudairies – 166 – 5yo

– didn’t win lto

– age

+ won or 2nd in all chase starts

+ 5 runs over fences (3 in ire, 2 in fra)

+ course winner

+ rated over 142 over hurdles (149)

+ form over 2m4f (won)

+ novice hurdle form reads well enough (Klassic Dream G1 winner since)

+2nd fav lto

Brewinupastorm – 168 – 7yo

+ Unbeaten over fences

+ Less than 5 runs over fences

+ festival form (4th in Ballymore, franked by Champ)

+ won lto

Cash Back – 168 – 8yo

– 8 yo with no G1 chase win (2nd in G1 latest start, btn ¾ length)

– hurdle rating less than 142 (141)

– no course form

– didn’t win lto

-/+ rated mid 150s over fences (should be high 150s based on age)

+ won over 50% chase starts (2/3)

+ less than 5 runs over fences

+ French Bred (should place)

+ 2nd fav lto

+ 4/5 last winners were Mullins

Global Citizen – 166 – 8yo

– age (not won g1 chase)

– Poor course form (7/10)

– outside the first two on any completed chase start in England or Ireland (4/5 first chase start, won C1 nto)

+ Less than 5 runs over fences (2)

+ At least 7 total runs over hurdles/fences.

Maire Banrigh – 168 – 8yo

– mare

– 8 yo with no G1 chase win

– no course/festival form

+ unbeaten over fences

Esprit Du Large – 169 – 6yo

– beaten over fences / rated less than 142 over hurdles (131)

– no course or festival form

– non fav or 2nd fav lto

+ French bred (should place)

+ less than 5 runs over fences

+ won lto

+ age

+ Hasn’t finished outside the first two on any completed chase start in England or Ireland.

Rouge Vif – 168 – 6yo

+ won lto

+ Win under 4m 1sec

– Finished 4/4 on a chase start

Omitted:
Al dancer
Put The Kettle On

Our Merlin

2020 contenders best times.

Global Citizen Wayward Lad 3 mins 56.

Put The Kettle On 4 mins 10 sec, 2m Cheltenham November.

Notebook Arkle 4m 17secs, 2m 1f, Racing Post Leopardstown Christmas 4 mins 15 secs, 2 mile Punchestown G2 4 mins 15.

Kingmaker Warwick – Rouge Vif 4 mins flat.

Stats Suggest:

Brewinupastorm, Cash Back

My selection:

Fakir D’oudairies , 0.5pts e/w 4/1

Personally I think Notebook had a hard race lto, and although he gave weight to Fakir and beat him, now racing off levels, I think Fakir with the better course form has a good chance to overturn Notebook here despite racing off levels. It’s clear Notebook is a much better horse & much better jumper now than he was over hurdles but I can’t ignore course form, which is poor for Notebook, so I will side with Fakir e/w. Another Mullins dominated race where I look to beat him.

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