A new name was added to the Arkle betting at the Cheltenham Festival after connections of Fairyhouse Drinmore second Gabynako paid £8,000 to supplement him six days before the race. A final field of 11 has been declared for the Grade 1 novice chase over 2m on the opening day of the meeting following penultimate declarations.
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These are our five best Arkle betting sites for the Cheltenham Festival this year:
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All odds correct as of 09:30 GMT on the day of the race but subject to change
Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell enjoyed two wins at last year’s Festival, but they were in stamina tests over hurdles rather than a race like the Arkle. In the absence of early ante post favourite Ferny Hollow, who was ruled out through injury, the Gabynako camp want to take their chance. He isn’t threatening the Arkle betting market leader Edwardstone, though, at best Cheltenham odds of 20/1 in a place.
Edwardstone Clear Best of British
As many followers of National Hunt horse racing know, it has taken time for things to click for Edwardstone in steeplechases. An eye-catching sixth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle two seasons ago and fine fifth in the County Hurdle last year, the eight-year-old has notched a four-timer over fences this campaign.
Edwardstone, a son of Kayf Tara, followed-up on his Grade 1 success in the Henry VIII Novices Chase at Sandown Park by then defying a penalty in both the Wayward Lad at Kempton and Kingmaker at Warwick. King’s runner is now the clear 11/4 favourite with Fitzdares in the Arkle betting as a result.
Injury robbed Ferny Hollow of a novice hurdle campaign after just one run last season, and he’s had a similar setback. An impressive weight carrying performance against then four-year-old filly Riviere D’Etel, so unusual in Grade 1 company, at Leopardstown over Christmas helped Ferny Hollow become favourite in the Arkle betting but the top betting sites now feel Edwardstone is the one to beat in his absence.
Mullins hopes Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s Blue Lord (4/1 from 11/2), who completed a hat-trick over fences with Grade 1 glory at the Dublin Racing Festival, can deputise. A tired faller in the Supreme last year, this seven-year-old Blue Bresil gelding has made an even better chaser. As Leopardstown horse racing results show, Blue Lord was all out when just holding Riviere D’Etel in the Irish Arkle, however.
More Mullins mounts could sparkle in the Arkle
Next is Haut En Couleurs (7/1 from 10/1), a five-year-old placed in top juvenile hurdle races last term. He has since resumed winning ways in a Leopardstown beginners chase for Mullins but fell in the Irish Arkle.
The Cheltenham racecard also has Saint Sam (9/1 from 20/1), to whom similar comments apply, on it. Also trained by Mullins, he’s in the same age bracket following victory at Fairyhouse first time out over fences. Saint Sam was third in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown.
Gordon Elliott’s young mare Riviere D’Etel (4/1 from 7/1) no longer receives weight for age but retains a sex allowance against the boys if lining up here. She was unlucky not to beat Blue Lord last time out. Riviere D’Etel brings plenty of chase experience to the table in a race where sound jumping is key.
Dawn Run runner-up Magic Daze has been cut into 14/1 (from 28/1) despite only winning one of three chase starts for Henry De Bromhead. Punters may have looked at her New course novice hurdle form and past Cheltenham results but a race like the Arkle demands more from Robcour’s runner, who was third to Concertista at Cork when last in action.
Outsiders try their luck
In an Arkle betting market where Irish horses dominate bar Edwardstone, British contenders look thin on the ground with Third Time Lucki a notable defection for the home team. Brave Seasca (33/1), meanwhile, has see his progress out of handicaps come to an end.
Venetia Williams’ charge defeated last season’s Kingmaker and Grand Annual Chase winner Sky Pirate in the Edward Courage Cup at Warwick in January. That Festival 2m handicap chase could be a more likely target for Brave Seasca now.
Bar those and Coeur Sublime (14/1), who is the choice of Rachael Blackmore has come in for sustained support from bigger odds, it is 40/1 and bigger. The Cheltenham betting clearly suggests that outside of the favourite, Mullins holds a typically strong hand.
2022 Arkle Challenge Trophy Entries in Full
- Blue Lord (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Brave Seasca (Venetia Williams)
- Coeur Sublime (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Edwardstone (Alan King)
- Gabynako (Gavin Cromwell, IRE) [supplemented]
- Haut En Couleurs (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Red Rookie (Emma Lavelle)
- Saint Sam (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- War Lord (Colin Tizzard)
- Magic Daze (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Riviere D’Etel (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
Arkle Challenge Trophy Defections
- Captain Tom Cat (Dr Richard Newland)
- Ciel De Neige (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Do Your Job (Michael Scudamore)
- El Barra (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Elixir De Nutz (Colin Tizzard)
- Ferny Hollow (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- For Pleasure (Alex Hales)
- Grand Bornand (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Hardy Du Seuil (Jamie Snowden)
- Jungle Boogie (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Ribble Valley (Nicky Richards)
- Shadow Rider (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Shakem Up’Arry (Ben Pauling)
- Third Time Lucki (Dan Skelton)
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