The Arkle is another two-mile race that is usually run at a furious gallop. It sees the top novice chasers collide in what is always a spectacle to watch.
It has a proud history of producing some fantastic winners who go onto repeat victories time and time again in bigger races afterwards including the likes of Moscow Flyer, Sprinter Sacre and Altior to name just a few.
There are thirteen fences to take in over the old course and the race usually takes a little under four minutes to complete.
In recent years, the Irish have maintained a strong grip on this race with them winning five of the last seven renewals.
Willie Mullins in particular has had an uncanny knack of producing a horse with all the pre-requisite conditions to take the prize home.
The race can provide the odd shock as the likes of Put The Kettle On (16/1) and Western Warhorse (33/1) have demonstrated in recent years.
Having a prep run at Leopardstown has proven an invaluable asset to have on your CV prior to coming here and the jockey being familiar with his or her horse has also proven to be invaluable as nineteen out of the last twenty winners had previously won another race with the same jockey on board.
Previous Winners of the Arkle Chase
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Shishkin – Nicky Henderson
Shishkin only has one blot on his copybook and that was when making his debut for Nicky Henderson where he fell in a maiden hurdle at Newbury.
Since then he has won all six starts including the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle here last year and a couple of Grade Two events in the run up to this at Kempton and Doncaster.
He is a versatile performer who goes on any ground and although only competing in four runner chases so far this season, he has won with the minimum of fuss.
He won over two furlongs further back in November so expect him to be staying on when plenty of others have cried enough.
His rating would see him win this in any other year and with previous festival experience on his side, he is a worthy favourite.
Nico De Boinville knows him well and the pair are obvious shortlist material.
Allmankind – Dan Skelton
Allmankind is a horse who has only one way of doing things and that is from the front. He tried to do that in the Triumph here last season and then again in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle back in October.
He is bold, he sets off like a proverbial scalded cat but ultimately he has been found out on the incline here in his previous two visits.
If he gets an uncontested lead, he may well prove hard to catch, particularly should any of his market rivals fail to give their running.
It will be very much a case of catch me if you can with this five-year-old who has won his last three races handily enough.
His experience of these fences will stand him in good stead, but with his tendency to balloon the odd jump, he is no means guaranteed to stay upright.
He fully deserves his place in the line-up but may have to settle for minor honours once again.
Captain Guinness – Henry De Bromhead
Captain Guinness has failed to live up to the hype that he promised on debut at Navan back in 2019. He was brought down in the Supreme last year and then pulled up at Tipperary on his seasonal reappearance.
After a fifty-two day break he secured a first win over the larger obstacles when handing out a four-length defeat to Midnight Run at Punchestown.
He was out-battled quite easily by Energumene at Naas in a novice chase before falling at Leopardstown next time. He has too many dents in his bodywork for me and he has shown on multiple occasions that he has jumping issues.
You need to be at your very best coming into this and he is passed over here.
Franco De Port – Willie Mullins
Franco De Port is an intriguing contender as he made a blunder early on in his last race at Leopardstown when chasing home stablemate and likely rival here in Energumene.
He is a proven Grade One winner having collected the Racing Post Novice Chase there on Boxing Day and a fast run race would suit him ideally as he loves to attack off a strong pace.
He ran here last year in the Coral Cup and pulled up on that occasion. Since stepping back in trip he has looked a different horse and you can never dismiss a Willie Mullins supposed second string.
He deserves his place in the line-up and could easily make the frame.
Blackbow – Willie Mullins
Blackbow has it all to do to turn around the form with stablemate Energumene based on their last two meetings.
He has been dismissed by twenty-eight and eleven lengths respectively in races at Naas and Leopardstown.
A return to better ground may see him in a better light, but he has been placed at this level and at best could well be placed at decent odds.
He skipped the Festival last year but was fifth to Relegate here in the Champion Bumper two seasons ago.
He needs to run the race of his life to trouble the judge here and having endured four races already this season, he may well just prove overcooked.
Darver Star – Gavin Cromwell
Things just haven’t gone his way since he won at Punchestown on his seasonal reappearance.
He has it all to do to reverse recent form with the likes of Energumene and Franco De Port.
He was an excellent third to Epatante in the Champion Hurdle last season but he seems to have lost his zest over fences and perhaps Gavin Cromwell may switch him back to the smaller obstacles or step him up in trip.
It would be interesting to see him ridden prominently given that he has proven his stamina over as much as half a mile further. He is a horse with issues at the moment and cannot be seriously considered here.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Arkle Chase Tips
Shishkin has done incredibly well to carry on his progression and won his last three starts with the minimum of fuss.
He won the Supreme here last year and did so coming home from an uncompromising looking position.
With the late injury to Energumene, his task has become a little more comfortable, but he will still need to be at the top of his game to keep up with Allmankind who only has one style of running.
Franco De Port could be staying on through beaten horses at the end but Shishkin may be too far clear by that stage.
Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication
- 1/2 Shishkin
- 11/2 Allmankind
- 7/1 Captain Guinness
- 10/1 Franco De Port
- 40/1 Eldorado Allen
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