Arkle Trophy hope Petit Mouchoir expected to 'improve plenty' at Cheltenham

Mon 12 Feb 2018

Henry de Bromhead expects Petit Mouchoir to "improve plenty" for his recent comeback second to Footpad at Leopardstown.

But the County Waterford-bashed handler admits only time will tell if that will be enough to turn the tables on his Willie Mullins-trained rival in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham next month.

The former high-class hurdler was having just his second start over fences in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival, having been off the track since an impressive start at Punchestown in October.

Speaking to At The Races, De Bromhead said: "I think he'll come on a lot for the run. He obviously had the setback after his first run this season, we got him to Leopardstown but I think he'll improve plenty for it.

"Whether he'll improve enough to beat Footpad, who was hugely impressive on the day and has been all season, I don't know. But I think we should definitely come on for the run.

"It's hard to put a figure on it, whether he'll improve enough we'll see on the day, but I suppose over hurdles he has beaten Footpad before so hopefully we are there or thereabouts, but obviously we need to (improve)."

Asked about tactics, he added: "He can do it either way, I don't think he has to make it. With the horse (Saint Calvados) that won at Warwick on Saturday, there's going to be a lot of pace in the race, so we'll see how it all unfolds."

De Bromhead also had news of exciting stablemate Monalee, who looks bound for the RSA Insurance Chase following his victory in the Flogas Chase at the big Leopardstown meeting.

He said: "That's the race we're leaning towards, he was second in the Albert Bartlett last year and it looked like he needed pretty much all of the two-five the other day on pretty soft ground. So I'd say that's where we're going.

"He seems to handle all ground, I suppose his best form is probably on soft, but he's by Milan and is a good-moving horse and had that great run at Cheltenham last year."

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