Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, 2.10 at Cheltenham, 13th March 2018
The Cheltenham Festival isn’t all about the current stars of National Hunt racing. There are several races in which stars of the future are born and the Arkle Chase is very much among that number.
The strength of this two mile, Grade 1 race for novice chasers is made clear by the fact that the last three winners are Altior, Douvan and Un De Sceaux. The question is, who will follow in the footsteps of those top class chasers on the first day of the Festival?
Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Betting Tips
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Betting Offers
- Betfair 40/1 Footpad to win the Arkle (new customers) – New Customers can get Footpad at an enhanced 40/1 to win the Arkle Chase. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets, valid for 7 days, only deposits with cards/Paypal count. Exchange and multiple bets excluded. T&C’s Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
- More betting offers to follow soon
Other free bets, enhanced odds and other offers for the Arkle will be coming soon, but in the meantime check out our Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers page for the latest promos for the Festival in March 2017.
Arkle Trophy Chase Tips and 2018 Race Preview
Winner to Come from the Top Two
There are few novice chasers – at least at the minimum distance – as exciting at Footpad. After a solid, if unspectacular, career over hurdles, Footpad is unbeaten in three starts over the bigger obstacles. Willie Mullins’ six-year-old is a better jumper than many of his rivals thanks to some early schooling when he was in France. It’s that ability to travel smoothly through the race that connections will feel sets Footpad apart.
Connections of Petit Mouchoir, however, will feel that their horse has been unfairly written off. The seven-year-old got the better of Footpad on a couple of occasions last season over hurdles and while his jumping is still improving, Henry de Bromhead certainly feels Petit Mouchoir should be taken seriously.
The three previous winners mentioned earlier all went off as odds on favourites. In fact, five of the last six winners were odds on and the lack of a clear favourite in the Arkle is something of a rarity. For that reason, and because there’s little between Footpad and Petit Mouchoir, it could pay to back the latter at 9/4 with Betfred.
Can Brain Power Overcome His Jumping Woes?
Nicky Henderson knows more than most about what it takes to prepare a horse for the Arkle Challenge Trophy. The vastly experienced trainer saddled the winner in three of the last six renewals of this race and in Brain Power he has a good chance of claiming at least a place.
Many punters added Brain Power to their list of potential Arkle winners after his win first up over fences in Kempton. Unfortunately, his chances of success look less likely now following two failures to finish in his last two starts. If you can forgive a novice chaser a couple of mistakes over fences though, the 7/1 that Ladbrokes are quoting on Brain Power’s chances will look generous. He was travelling well behind Un De Sceaux in the Clarence House before falling and providing the work he’s done at home pays off, Brain Power could just end up challenging the top two.
Each Way Play Could Allow You to Enjoy the Battle at the Front
For those who feel that this year’s Arkle is pretty much a two horse race, avoiding a bet on both Footpad and Petit Mouchoir could be an option. An each way bet on Brain Power would allow you to enjoy the battle at the front whilst profiting from the place portion of your bet. Or you could make a choice and hope to profit twice!
Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Previous Winners
- 2017 – Altior – jockey Nico de Boinville, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2016 – Douvan – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2015 – Un de Sceaux – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2014 – Western Warhorse – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer David Pipe
- 2013 – Simonsig – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2012 – Sprinter Sacre – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2011 – Captain Chris – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Philip Hobbs
- 2010 – Sizing Europe – jockey Andrew Lynch, trainer Henry de Bromhead
- 2009 – Forpadydeplasterer – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Tom Cooper
- 2008 – Tidal Bay – jockey Denis O’Regan, trainer Howard Johnson
- 2007 – My Way de Solzen – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King
- 2006 – Voy Por Ustedes – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King
Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase History
Initially run at the track as the Cotswold Chase from 1946, the race was given its current title in 1969. The decision was made to alter the name in order to honour one of the greatest, if not the greatest chaser in history, three time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Arkle.
Restricted to novice chasers, the race proves to be the ultimate testing ground for the most highly regarded chasing prospects in training. Invariably run at a frenetic gallop, an ability to jump accurately at speed is put firmly under the microscope. To come out on top here generally marks a horse as being from the very top drawer.
A plethora of victors have followed up success in this race with major wins later in their career. Looking through the history books, it is unsurprisingly the two mile Queen Mother Champion Chase which is most likely to see an Arkle winner entering the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham once again. Horses to achieve this double include, Flyingbolt, Flagship Uberalles, Remittence Man, Klarion Davis and the brilliant Sprinter Sacre.
Tom Dreaper’s Fortria and Irish superstar Moscow Flyer went on to win the two mile chase championship event on two occasions. The Arke is not as useful a pointer when looking for future Gold Cup wins, only 1978 winner Alverton has managed to go on to land that showpiece contest.
Due to its status as a novice event, this race can be fiendishly competitive. There is no danger of the previous year’s winner returning to defend their crown for one thing as they will have long since lost their novice status. This in turn can make it more difficult trainer to rack up a sequence of wins as they need to find a new horse for this race each year. Only one man has managed to win three consecutive editions, Bobby Norris took the very first three (1946-1949).
Until 2017 we had joint leaders when it comes to the trainer’s overall leader board for the Arkle. Nicky Henderson’s 2013 win with Simonsig put him level with Tom Dreaper who took the prize five times between 1958 and 1971. But then Altior’s 2017 win put Hnderson ahead on his own as the leading trainer with six victories.
Barry Geraghty’s partnership with Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig for Nicky Henderson helped the Irishman move into the lead in the jockey’s standings with four wins. Tom Dreaper’s jockey Glen Kelly, and Jamie Osborne, for three different trainers, both won three in a row but could not record another success.
Fred Winter is the only man to have both ridden and trained the winner here. He was the jockey aboard Flame Gun in 1959 and later sent out Soloning (1970) and Pendil (1972) to victory.
There is no strong bias present when looking at the ages of the winners. With 20 wins apiece from 1946-2015, six and seven-year-olds have proved most successful, five-year-olds come next with 14 wins followed by the eight-year-olds with 12. Nine-year-olds, Sir Ken and Danish Flight share the honours as the oldest winners of the race.