Arkle Guide


Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Rachael Blackmore

The leading fancy in the betting and has been for sometime is one of Henry De Bromhead's big chances of the week with Notebook who is unbeaten over fences this season.

Starting in October the six year old headed to Punchestown for his first start over the bigger obstacles and saw off a nice Gigginstown horse that has since franked the form.

The gelding off the back of that stepped into a Grade Two and again blew the field away in great style and next on the agenda was the Christmas festival at Leopardstown.

He went into the Grade One Novice Chase and in a field with Laurina and Fakir D'oudairies he rose to the challenge to again win by a comfortable margin.

Keeping his run of wins going he stepped into his toughest contest at the Dublin Racing Festival in the Grade One Arkle Novice Chase where him and Cashback went toe to toe and he managed to get up on the line.

He sets the form standard and if not getting to excited looks the one to beat.

Fakir D'oudairies

Trainer - Joseph O'Brien

Jockey - Mark Walsh

One of the more likely winners of the event could be this five year old who was a very strong hurdler especially at Cheltenham winning a Grade Two Triumph Hurdle Trial before finishing a staying on fourth at the festival in the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

He then headed to Aintree in the 4-Y-O Grade One and was just pipped on the line by Pentland Hills but overall he was a stand out hurdler at just the age of four.

O'Brien decided to step him up to fences this season and he has taken to them just aswell winning on debut at Navan when seeing off the Willie Mullins trained Melon.

He then landed his first Grade One over hurdles in the Drinmore Novices Chase seeing off Samcro to land the spoils in a superb jumping performance.

He tried to land back to back black type wins on Boxing Day at Leopardstown but was nowhere near his best being well beaten by Notebook and he needs to find a few pounds on that run to reverse the form.


Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Paul Townend

Cashback is really not to far behind Notebook and looks the value angle with the difference in price being bigger than what it should be.

The eight year old is a bit older than the normal age in the field but still holds bundles of potential after his three starts this season where he has won twice and narrowly defeated last time out.

He started his season off at Navan in a 14 runner event and winning easily showing plenty of scope, he then backed that up at Naas in a smaller field.

His final start when narrowly second to Notebook saw a career best performance from the gelding and if reproducing that form looks nice each way value.


Trainer - Olly Murphy

Jockey - Richard Johnson

One of Olly Murphy's best chances of the week is this lad who has been very patiently campaigned this season over racing twice at Carlisle and Taunton.

He won both those events very cosily and the form has worked out well from both of them which is always good for his chances.

Although not racing since November Murphy has stressed that freshness is the big thing with this horse and having already shown Cheltenham festival form in the Ballymore last season, he holds a huge chance.

Mister Fisher

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Nico De Boinville

Mister Fisher is a very interesting character that could end up in this contest instead of the Marsh Novices Chase and enters the contest off the back of two seriously nice performances.

He started his season off at Warwick where he needed the run but still travelled nicely to grab second behind the talented Torpillo.

After that he went to Cheltenham in December where he stepped up to two and half miles and revelled in the extra trip to see off Good Boy Bobby.

He now needed to prove his credentials at two miles and he did just that showing plenty of speed to land the Grade Two Lightning Novices Chase at Doncaster and he can't be overlooked in this field.

Maire Banrigh

Trainer - Dan Skelton

Jockey - Harry Skelton

A horse that has gone under the radar in this field is this eight year old who is unbeaten in her last six national hunt starts including all four of her tries over fences.

Having not ran for a year she went to Stratford in October for her chase debut and in a weak field she showed plenty of class to score impressively.

She then headed to Warwick against Supreme Novices' Hurdle second Thomas Darby and again outclassed the field with her jumping that just looked effortless.

Stepping into tougher contests she went to Doncaster and Huntingdon where again she won fairly easily and although this very much a tougher contest she has to be looked at for a place.

Global Citizen

Trainer - Ben Pauling

Jockey - David Bass

Ben Pauling has had a torrid time of things this season with plenty of his horses being below par but he believes he has got Global Citizen in great shape ahead of this event.

The eight year old has raced twice this term starting at Carlisle where he was totally dominated by Brewin'upastorm but he may have needed the run.

Next time out he was back to his best landing the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices Chase at Kempton which looks some lovely form but he will not want the ground to soft and it looks to be going that way.

Rouge Vif

Trainer - Harry Whittington

Jockey - Gavin Sheehan

Rouge Vif is another horse that has come from nowhere for the Arkle nut could enter the frame off the back of his latest performance at Warwick where he landed the Grade Two Kingmaker Novices' Chase.

That form looks reasonably good but will have to produce a career best in the strongest field he will have ever faced in his racing life.

Overall he has been consistent this season with a good second in a Grade Two behind Global Citizen and also a win in a small field on his seasonal debut but this race just looks too strong.

Espirit Du Large

Trainer - Evan Williams

Jockey - Adam Wedge

An outsider in the field but not a horse to be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination is this six year old who has not done a lot wrong this season.

He started over fences at Carlisle in October when finishing second in a Novices' Handicap that may have been used to blow the cobwebs away.

Since that he has been unbeaten in his last two, winning at Exeter in a Beginners Chase before talking a huge leap forward at Sandown in the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase.

That was a very impressive performance and having Grade One form entering this race is something that can't be overlooked.

Al Dancer

Trainer - Nigel Twiston-Davies

Jockey - Sam Twiston-Davies

A horse that promised so much but has failed to deliver is Al Dancer who was superb horse over hurdles winning all four of his outings including a Betfair Hurdle before heading into the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last season and flopping.

He started over fences this season and got off the mark in a weak race at Cheltenham back in October but since then he has not been able to mix it with the best over the bigger obstacles.

The grey was second in the Arkle trial to Put The Kettle On and then in the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton he was even worse finishing fourth in a small field.

He was much better last time out at Doncaster when a narrow second to Mister Fisher at Doncaster in another Grade Two but he will need to reverse that form and much more to be involved here.

Put The Kettle On

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Aidan Coleman

Another at a fairly big price in the field is Put The Kettle On who gets a nice allowance but will need every single pound of that to make a dent in this field.

She has got solid form winning four of her five chase starts to date with her best effort coming at Prestbury Park back in November in the Grade Two Arkle Trial where she went on to win easily.

Her only lose over fences came at Tipperary in a weak event and with her not being seen since her win at Cheltenham she will need a huge career best to go close here.

Our Merlin

Trainer - Robert Walford

Jockey - Stan Sheppard

Our Merlin is the big outsider of the field at 100/1 and looks totally outclassed in this field only having one start over fences at Taunton back in January and although winning it nicely this is a race in a different league.

His hurdle form does not match up to a lot with one of his best efforts coming nearly a year ago when second in a Class 2 Handicap at Newbury.

Easily opposed.

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