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Arkle Challenge Trophy 2020 Racecard

The Arkle Challenge Trophy – sometimes known as just the ‘Arkle’ - is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase which takes place each year during the Cheltenham Festival in March.

2:10

Tuesday 10 March

Distance: 15f 199y Age: 5yo + Prize: £175000 Going: Soft (Heavy in places)

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. AL DANCER (FR)
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
7
11-4
Smart novice hurdler who has taken well to fences, although his limitations have been exposed since C&D novice win in October, finding Mister Fisher too strong at Doncaster latest.
22 stars

2
jockey silks 2. BREWIN'UPASTORM (IRE)
J: Richard Johnson
T: Olly Murphy
7
11-4
Smart novice hurdler (fourth in 2019 Ballymore) and took well to fences with wins at Carlisle and Taunton in the autumn. Lacks experience for race like this but rates an exciting prospect.
44 stars

3
jockey silks 3. CASH BACK (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
8
11-4
Won first 2 chase starts before making Notebook pull out all the stops in Irish Arkle at Leopardstown last month. Should give another good account for yard seeking fifth win in this in last 6 years.
44 stars

4
jockey silks 4. ESPRIT DU LARGE (FR)
J: Adam Wedge
T: Evan Williams
6
11-4
Decent hurdler but always very much a chasing type and he's duly thrived over the larger obstacles, beating Nube Negra to land Grade 1 Henry VIII at Sandown in December. Likely capable of even better.
33 stars

5
jockey silks 5. FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES (FR)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
5
11-4
Landed Grade 1 Drinmore at Fairyhouse on second chase start and just as good when second to Notebook at Leopardstown over Christmas. Work to do to turn the tables but he is open to more improvement.
44 stars

6
jockey silks 6. GLOBAL CITIZEN (IRE)
J: David Bass
T: Ben Pauling
8
11-4
Smart front-running hurdler. Only fourth on Carlisle chase debut in October but left that run well behind when beating Rouge Vif 1½ lengths in Grade 2 Wayward Lad at Kempton over Christmas.
22 stars

7
jockey silks 7. NOTEBOOK (GER)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
7
11-4
Bold jumper who made it 4-4 over fences when digging deep to see off Cash Back by ¾ length in Irish Arkle last month. More to come and can maintain his unbeaten record over fences.
55 stars

8
jockey silks 8. OUR MERLIN
J: Stan Sheppard
T: Robert Walford
8
11-4
Front-running hurdler who took very well to fences with Taunton novice handicap win in January but this a whole different ball game.
11 stars

9
jockey silks 9. ROUGE VIF (FR)
J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Harry Whittington
6
11-4
Has quickly bettered his useful hurdles form. Global Citizen proved just too strong for him in Wayward Lad at Kempton in December but he improved a little again to land Kingmaker at Warwick since.
33 stars

10
jockey silks 10. MAIRE BANRIGH
J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
8
10-11
Unbeaten in 4 chase starts, posting a smart effort again when bagging 2½m Huntingdon mares' listed latest. Drop back to 2m likely to help if anything and certainly shouldn't be underestimated.
44 stars

11
jockey silks 11. PUT THE KETTLE ON (IRE)
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
6
10-11
Winner of 4 of her 5 starts over fences in the first half of the season, culminating with C&D Grade 2 novice win in November. Off since. Likeable type but will need to raise game to go close.
22 stars

Analyst's Verdict

There was a lot to like about the tenacious fashion in which NOTEBOOK saw off Cash Back at Leopardstown last month and he's taken to stretch his unbeaten chase record to 5, perhaps at the main expense of his old rival. Maire Banrigh is on a roll, winning her last 6 starts, and looks the pick of the home challenge.

First run in 1969 as a replacement for the Cotswold Chase, a previous event at the Cheltenham Festival which had been around since 1946, the race’s title pays tribute to Arkle, a three-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the mid-1960s.

In its first year, the race was worth £1,365, and was won by Chatham (10/1), trained by Fred Rimell and ridden by Terry Biddlecombe. In comparison, the 2019 renewal will carry a total prize fund of £175,000, with connections of the winning horse receiving nearly £100,000 alone.

The Arkle Challenge Trophy has a history of being won multiple times by trainers and jockeys - Martin Pipe notched up successive wins with Or Royal in 1997 and Champleve in 1998, before Well Chief in 2004 and Contraband a year later gave him two more wins, with the latter beating 18 other horses.

A.P. McCoy equalled Jamie Osborne’s three wins in 2004 when scoring on Well Chief, having also been aboard Or Royal and Champleve. Now a trainer, Osborne recorded a hat-trick as a jockey between 1992 and 1994, on Young Pokey, Travado, and Nakir for three different trainers, Oliver Sherwood, Nicky Henderson and Simon Christian.

Henderson is the leading trainer in the race, his six victories spanning 27 years - Remittance Man (1991), Travado (1993), Tiutchev (2000), Sprinter Sacre (2012), Simonsig (2013) and Altior (2017).

As a result of Henderson’s success, Barry Geraghty – who rides most horses for the yard - is the leading rider in the race having registered four victories, with Moscow Flyer (2002), Forpadytheplasterer (2009), Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig .

Although Sprinter Sacre produced an excellent performance when winning the 2012 Arkle Challenge Trophy, the best Arkle Challenge Trophy winners since the turn of the century have generally been trained in Ireland.

Willie Mullins has dominated the race in recent years, thanks to victories for Un de Sceaux in 2015, Douvan in 2016 and Footpad in 2018, all of whom produced top-class performances on Timeform’s scale and were ridden by Ruby Walsh . Mullins added another in 2019 – courtesy of Duc des Genievres – though he was ridden by Paul Townend.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior interrupted the winning run of Mullins, and while his performance wasn’t as good, he successfully returned to the Cheltenham Festival in both 2018 and 2019 to record wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Indeed, the Arkle Challenge Trophy brings together the best two-mile novice chasers, so it’s only natural that many will go on to become the best two-mile chasers when stepping out of novice company the following season.

Since the turn of the century, six horses have managed the double, namely Moscow Flyer (2002/2003), Azertyuiop (2003/2004), Voy Por Ustedes (2006/2007), Sizing Europe (2010/2011), Sprinter Sacre (2012/2013, and Altior (2017/2018).

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Arkle Challenge Trophy 2020 FAQs

What is the distance of the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

1 mile, seven furlongs And 199 yards.

How many obstacles are jumped in the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

13

What day of the festival is the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

Day 1

What time is the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

14:10

What weights are carried for the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

11st 4lb. 7lb allowance for mares.

What is the purse for the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

£175,000 (2020)

Who is the leading jockey in the Arkle Challenge Trophy*?

Barry Geraghty & Ruby Walsh

Who is the leading trainer in the Arkle Challenge Trophy*?

Nicky Henderson

Who won the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

You can check out our Arkle Challenge Trophy results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Arkle Challenge Trophy?

Click the link to visit our Arkle Challenge Trophy Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1946

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