The Arkle Trophy is the best two mile chase of the year for novices and takes place on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. It’s a race which throws up no end of quality horses and recent winners include the mighty Altior and Douvan. Trends are a great way to help dig out winners at the Cheltenham Festival and we’ll take a look at a few key stats which will help us find this year’s Arkle winner. You can take a look at our Arkle tips here.
Arkle Trophy Trends
- Six and seven year olds tend to dominate – 14 of the last 20 winners have been six or seven years old
- Henderson and Mullins stranglehold – Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have won 5 of the last 6 renewals
- Class prevails – 5 of the last 6 winners have been rated 160 or higher coming into the race
- Recent form is a must – The last 20 winners had all finished first or second in their previous start
- Favourites doing well recently – The biggest price of the last 3 winners was 4/6
Trends – Key Runners
Sceau Royal ✅❌✅✅❌
Petit Mouchoir ✅❌❌✅❌
Saint Calvados ❌❌❌✅❌
Brain Power ✅✅❌❌❌
The antepost favourite for this race is Footpad who was a classy hurdler over a variety of trips but has really come into his own over fences. He fits all the trends as a Willie Mullins trained six year old who won his last start and has an official rating of 162.
Willie Mullins won this in 2015 with the bold front running Un De Sceaux and in 2016 with the imperious Douvan and looks to have an excellent chance of recording his third win in the last four years with Footpad. He jumped like a stag when winning his chasing debut at Navan and barely touched a twig on his next two starts where he has recorded consecutive Grade 1 successes. He’s a very warm favourite for the race at this stage and a few will probably be keen to oppose him at prohibitive odds but he has looked a real superstar in the making over fences so far and it will take a good one to beat him.
The Irish contigent looks strong this year and Petit Mouchoir, third in last year’s Champion Hurdle, looked a smart recruit when winning on the bridle at Punchestown on his chasing debut but suffered a setback following that performance and has only raced once since. He made a few bad mistakes on his reappearance behind Footpad and was comfortably beaten in the end but looked a danger at one point turning in and wasn’t knocked about on the run-in so it’s likely he will improve. He was superior to these over hurdles and would take all the beating if achieving that level over fences but his preparation has been far from ideal.
A fly in the ointment for all of these might be the french import Saint Calvados who has quickly made a name for himself since joining Harry Whittington three starts ago, he won two handicaps by a combined distance of nineteen lengths then took a step up in class in his stride when bolting up in the Kingmaker at Warwick which is a good trial for this. He is an enthusiastic and accurate jumper who hasn’t been off the bridle since coming to Britain and comes into the race as a bit of an unknown quantity who could be anything. Recent snow and the forecast suggests that the ground will be in his favour, he needs plenty of respect.
Nicky Henderson has a great record in this race and his main hope this year is Brain Power who was a high class hurdler last season and fancied by many for the Champion Hurdle where he was below par. He made an eyecatching chasing debut at Kempton but has come to grief the last twice, he unseated his rider when looking beaten in a Grade 1 won by Sceau Royal and it was a similar story behind Un De Sceaux when he fell at the second last. That is not a preparation which inspires a great deal of confidence but he is a talented horse and couldn’t be entirely ruled out if turning up to the Festival at full fitness.
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