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Arkle Chase preview

The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase is the feature of big fence racing on a cracking Tuesday. It's 50 years since the great Arkle won the first of his three successive Gold Cups, a stat which will be rolled out dozens of times this week. And this is a pretty handy field racing in his honour.

Taking on the challenge is Kieran Kenneally, @kierankenneally, a blog regular who likes bringing the Irish angle to the table.

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Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Tuesday at Cheltenham, always has been the best day, always will be! Supreme, Arkle, Champion Hurdle and Quevega. It's been like that for so long it seems like a tradition. If we lose a few quid Quevega bails us out, I wonder will this year be any different?

The two standout races this year on the first day are truly mouthwatering affairs. The probable dethroning of the King in the Champion Hurdle (The Fly) and the crowning of a new prince in the Arkle.

Champagne Fever is worthy favourite in the Arkle and is a horse with a tremendous future and tons of ability. I have my doubts if that future will be over two miles though and in a race run at a breakneck pace, with plenty of pace up front, any mistakes in jumping like the one in his last race could prove costly and he is worth taking on! His interrupted preparation is also a concern for me but if having a clear round would appear guaranteed to place.

Trifolium on the other hand has had an ideal preparation. Winning the Irish Arkle last time in impressive fashion and also finishing ahead of Champagne Fever when both horses were beaten into second and third behind Defy Logic. Some will say Champagne Fever would have won that day but for a terrible mistake late on, but it's called jumping for a reason.

Trifolium also has excellent course form when third in a Supreme two years ago on the same good ground that is likely to be prevailing this year. This excellent jumper has everything in his favour including jockey B Cooper in the saddle and the race could be set up for him held up behind the likely battle for the lead. It would be very unwise to ignore the most obvious piece of form available in this race and that is this horses Grade 1 form!

Second favourite Rock On Ruby has beaten three horses in his two Class 3 Chase wins. The form of those two races is incredibly weak and this former Champion Hurdle winner has a lot to prove in this step up to the top table as a Chaser. Although he will love the good ground and has already reached the top as a Hurdler, I doubt he has this transition in him at 9yrs old.

Dodging Bullets has done little wrong but has plenty of miles on the clock.The form of his last race when splitting Module and Raya Star is weak and I don't think he's good enough.

Valdez again has had an excellent season but the form of his last win when struggling to pass Arnaud seems below the level needed here. Having said that, good ground will probably improve this horse and I would also be very interested in any handicap that Arnaud were to appear in.

Grandouet was hammered by Dodging Bullets last time and this excellent hurdler has failed to win in three Chases this year. He seems to have a few quirks and would not interest me.

Ted Veale has failed to win this year and appears well held by Trifolium and Dodging Bullets.

Brick Red and Western Warhorse have no chance on all known form.

In conclusion, this may very well be the best betting race of the meeting! It's quite possible Trifolium and Champagne Fever have a lot in hand of the rest of the field and it wouldn't surprise me if they finished well clear of the rest. At 5/1 and 3/1 there is excellent value in these two and for those of you looking for an each way bet I can't see Trifolium out of the first three if he doesn't fall!

An additional tip before I finish. For those of you in a position to lay a horse, Hurricane Fly in my opinion has no chance on good ground in the Champion Hurdle and is the lay of the meeting!

Selections:
1. Trifolium 5/1
2. Champagne Fever 3/1

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