Leopardstown Arkle Novice Chase Guide

1. Bapaume

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Robbie Power

The seven year old Bapaume heads into the Grade One ERSG Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday and in this race full of talented horses he definitely can hold his own.

Willie Mullins fields four horses in this contest and we believe that this Rich Ricci owned gelding has a huge chance.

Bapaume is very likely to end up in this contest and after being a very smart stayer over hurdles for the majority of his career his step up to the bigger obstacles this season has took the eye.

His debut over fences at Fairyhouse can be excused as it was his first run of the season and like many of Mullins' animals they always need the first run.

However, he came on for that massively when landing a 17 runner Beginners Chase at Naas that has since seen the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh that day go on to win.

Another bonus to the form line is that second behind Bapaume that day Spyglass Hill looked sure to take Carefully Selected very close to the line on Sunday before falling at the last.

The form stacks up for Bapaume on Saturday and if being able to come on again and handle the race in this tougher Grade One has to be feared.

2. Cash Back

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Cash Back

The second of Mullins' runners is the very bright Cash Back who holds huge potential off the back of his two runs this season and although jumping into his first taste of Grade One action he has done nothing but impress on both his starts over fences.

The eight year old started his season off at Navan in a Beginners Chase winning it nicely after being a decent runner on the flat over in France and on his two starts in Ireland.

He then went to Naas for another Beginners Chase where he was even more impressive and those prep runs should see him go well again here.

3. Gallant John Joe

Trainer - Oliver McKeirnan

Jockey - Barry Browne

A break from the Mullins horses sees Gallant John joe who should be outclassed in this group of runners but he gave a career best performance last time out to finish second behind Melon over course and distance.

He should come on for that run and if jumping better may be able to finish better than he should but he faces a big uphill task against this field.

4. Melon

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Paul Townend

The stand out of the Mullins horses according to the jockey booking and Melon now chasing this season looks to be a very strong, powerful horse that may be able to live up to his potential.

Over hurdles this was a nearly horse finishing second twice in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but now over hurdles he is showing winning ability.

He started at Navan narrowly being out jumped by Fakir D'oudairies who has gone on to boost that form and then last time out Melon got off the mark over fences at Leopardstown which makes him a player.

5. Notebook

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Rachael Blackmore

The favourite for the contest is Henry De Bromhead's Notebook who is unbeaten this season on all three of his chase starts and looks the one to beat.

Being a smart horse over hurdles he has outdone himself so far over the bigger obstacles looking a natural two mile chaser on his three outings.

He started his season off at Punchestown in a Beginners Chase beating a decent field of 10 and then over the same course and distance made it two from two in a decent Grade two.

Stepping into Grade One company for the first time he made the field look poor when romping home at Leopardstown beating two of the runners in this field and that is the leading form.

6. Royal Rendevouz

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - M P Fogarty

The last of Mullins' onslaught on the contest is Royal Rendevouz who would be a surprise winner of this contest off the back of what he has achieved this season.

Being a smart bumper horse in 2018 he could not replicate that over hurdles last season only having one start and being pulled up.

He has been much better over fences winning on his seasonal debut at Thurles and then third last time out behind Notebook over course and distance in a Grade One.

He needs to have improved massively to be in the mix here, especially with only two places on offer.

7. Fakir D'oudairies

Trainer - Joseph O'Brien

Jockey - Mark Walsh

The final runner of the contest is this five year old who could be dangerous getting a five pound weight allowance off the rest of the field but he does need to reverse some form.

He has been very smart over fences seeing off Melon at Navan on his chasing start and then landed his first Grade One over fences seeing off Samcro in the Drinmore Novices hurdle.

He stepped back down to 17 furlongs being well beaten by Notebook and needs to be better than that run to go close here.