The 2016 Cheltenham Festival: The Arkle Preview
As the National Hunt season prepares to kick-in to full-swing, “Jump To It Racing” would like to introduce itself to the members of Betting Gods by writing a weekly blog focusing on looking at the best of next year’s races at the Cheltenham Festival from an ante-post perspective.
This week we’re starting with the Arkle, traditionally the second race on the first day of the Festival. The Arkle is a 2-mile chase for novices and, whilst many winners have gone on to become the following year’s Champion Chaser, many dreams have also come unstuck in the hurly burly of what is usually the quickest and most competitively novice chase run all season.
At this early stage, this year’s renewal already looks like it could throw-up some serious star chasers of the future – and here’s a little form-guide to whet your appetite for the coming jumps season.
It’s hard not to be excited by the Willie Mullins trained winner of last year’s Supreme Novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Connections look sure to opt for the novice chase route rather than keep him over hurdles, and he looks to have the size and scope to make-up into a potential superstar.
Another Willie Mullins inmate, but this one has only managed to finish second at the last two Cheltenham Festivals in the Bumper in 2013, and when second to Douvan last year. However connections stepped him up in trip on his last two runs, and he may well be targeted at one of the longer novice chases at the festival.
L’ami Serge 14/1
One of the many Nicky Henderson horses who disappointed at last year’s festival, but was impressive in 3 runs before heading to Cheltenham last year, where he supposedly swallowed his epiglottis despite finishing 4th to Douvan. If he’s as good as connections were saying he was last year – then he won’t go off at 14/1 for this.
Aux Ptits Soins 16/1
Trained by Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls, for whom his one run was a winning one at the Cheltenham Festival. Owned by John Hales who has owned stars such as One man and Azertyioup – and the stable have high hopes that he’s going to go a along way over fences.
Sizing John 20/1
His trainer Henry De Bromhead has made no secret of the fact that he’s been just biding time with his 5-year-old over hurdles, as he sees him as the stable’s successor to the now retired former Champion Chaser Sizing Europe – which is high praise indeed.
Finished runner-up behind some high-class rivals last year in The New One and Rock On Ruby, and the Henderson stable are set to see if he can become top-class over fences. Looks likely to start over 2-miles, but may eventually be stepped-up in trip in what looks a potentially hot division.
Others To Consider
Garde La Victoire, Tell Us More, Blue Heron, Violet Dancer, and War Sound are all very interesting too – and are also worth keeping an eye on throughout the season.
When backing ante-post, we like to back selections who’s prices look to have plenty of room to contract before the big day, and the two over-priced candidates at this stage look to be L’ami Serge and Sizing John.
L’ami Serge 1 point @ 14/1 (Various)
Sizing John 1 point @ 20/1 (Various)
“Jump To It” is a horse race tipping service that provides selections for all the best National Hunt/Jump races throughout the season – and is currently trialling its service with Betting Gods.