Cheltenham

  • 14:05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase 2m

  • Winner £74,035 2nd £27,781 3rd £13,910 4th £6,929
  • Going: Good-Good to Soft in places; Cross Country Good to Firm.
  • Surface: Turf

Result

  • Weighed In

  • Winning time: 3m 51.10s
  • Off time: 14:05:38
14:05 Cheltenham Racecards
No Draw Dist
1st Sprinter Sacre (FR) 8/11
2nd Cue Card 13/2

Racecard

No Form Silk Horse A Wgt Trainer Jockey OR SP
1 111-113 YELLOW, RED star, YELLOW sleeves, WHITE armlets, YELLOW cap, RED star Al Ferof (FR) 52
Nag meBeaten FavouriteDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
7 11-7 P F Nicholls R Walsh 160 3/14.00
2 7-26115 Pink, Light Green spots, Pink sleeves and cap Blackstairmountain (IRE) 44
Nag meDistance Winner
7 11-7 t W P Mullins P Townend 144 20/121.00
3 42-1U21 ROYAL BLUE, PINK star on body and cap, ROYAL BLUE sleeves, PINK stars Cue Card 73
Nag meCourse and Distance Winner
6 11-7 C L Tizzard J Tizzard 155 13/27.50
4 231372 MAROON, pink sleeves, white cap Foildubh (IRE) 23
Nag meDistance Winner
8 11-7 J P Ryan Robert Colgan 136 66/167.00
5 4U411F Dark Blue, Light Blue hoop, checked sleeves and cap Menorah (IRE) 45
Nag meBeaten FavouriteCourse WinnerDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
7 11-7 P J Hobbs R Johnson 151 10/111.00
6 113-111 Red, Royal Blue chevrons, armlets and star on cap Sprinter Sacre (FR) 25
Nag meDistance Winner
6 11-7 N J Henderson B J Geraghty 169 8/111.73

Verdict

Al Ferof had Sprinter Sacre and CUE CARD just behind when winning the Supreme Novices Hurdle on this card 12 months ago. All three have done well over fences this season, the former winning here in November before landing the Grade 1 Henry VIII Chase at Sandown. He lost nothing in defeat when third to Somersby and Finians Rainbow in the Victor Chandler at Ascot but Nicky Henderson should know where he stands with Sprinter Sacre on a line through the runner-up. The latter has been hugely impressive in his three runs over the larger obstacles and the manner in which he beat stablemate French Opera in the Game Spirit certainly raised a few eyebrows, though it's questionable how strong that form really is. At the likely odds, it could be worth taking him on with Colin Tizzard's gelding who is the apple of his trainer's eye. He stays further so will probably have to make his own running but those tactics suit him admirably and he looks to have the beating of Al Ferof on a line through Sandown second For Non Stop. He may just stay on too strongly up the hill for Sprinter Sacre, who emptied quickly after the last here last year. Menorah shouldn't be ignored, despite jumping problems, as he was a high-class hurdler and has already won three times at Cheltenham, including at The Festival in 2010, but the Irish challenge this year looks sub-standard.