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The 2020 Racing Post Arkle Trophy: statistics, trends, history and video replays

Sun 17 Mar 2019

All you need to know about the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 11.

How good was the 2019 running?

Where and when can I watch it? 2.10pm, Tuesday, March 11 at Cheltenham Racecourse - live in stunning HD on Racing TV.

What Grade? Grade One. What course? Old Course. What Distance? 2m (13 Fences)

What Prize Money? £175,000. Age restrictions: For 5yo+ which are allotted a BHA rating of 120 or more

Weights & Allowances: 11st 4lb. Allowances, mares 7lb

Sponsor: Racing Post

KEY STATISTICS & TRENDS:

Six and seven-year-olds fare best:

Of the past 21 renewals, only four five-year-olds and two eight-year-olds have been successful. The last five-year-old winner was Voy Por Ustedes (2006) and the last eight-year-old winner was Moscow Flyer back in 2002.

Market clues:

Six of the past eight winners have returned as the odds-on favourite.

Top class:

Of the past 29 winners, eight have gone on to win the following season’s Champion Chase including the likes of Sprinter Scare, Sizing Europe, Moscow Flyer and Remittance Man.

Sprinter Sacre at Seven Barrows Sprinter Sacre crushed a small field in 2012 before going on to become one of the best chasers in history

Mullins dominance?

Willie Mullins has won four of the past five renewals .

Most successful trainer:

Nicky Henderson is in fact the most successful trainer with six victories - Remittance Man (1991), Travado (1993), Tiutchev (2000), Sprinter Sacre (2012), Simonsig (2013) and Altior (2017).

Most successful jockey:

The most successful jockeys have been Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh - both with four wins.

Race History:

The Racing Post-sponsored Arkle Challenge Trophy is the first Grade One novices' chase of the Cheltenham Festival attracting the best two-mile novice chasers in training. It is the second race on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Racing Post, which backed the Arkle Chase for the first time in 2012, is only the race's fourth sponsor. The Irish Independent was the backer from 2000 to 2011, Guinness sponsored from 1994 until 1999 and Waterford Crystal between 1991 and 1993.

First run in 1946, Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer with six victories in the race spanning 27 years - Remittance Man (1991), Travado (1993), Tiutchev (2000), Sprinter Sacre (2012), Simonsig (2013) & Altior (2017).

Barry Geraghty is the leading rider in the race having registered four victories - Moscow Flyer (2002), Forpadytheplasterer (2009), Sprinter Sacre (2012) & Simonsig (2013).

Arkle Chase Memory Lane:

_2019 - Duc Des Genievres _

Duc Des Genievres (5-1) ran out a facile winner of the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham.

The result was scarcely in doubt, with the six-year-old grey, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden y Paul Townend, fencing fluently throughout the two-mile contest in behind the pacesetting Knocknanuss, before taking over the lead still full of running before the home turn.

Clondaw Castle briefly looked a threat, but soon weakened as Duc Des Genievres found another gear in the straight to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.

Glen Forsa unseated Jonathan Burke early on, while 100-30 favourite Hardline never threatened to land a telling blow. Lalor also ran below-par, being pulled up early on.

Townend said: "The plan was to leave them at it, but this horse just travelled so well and jumped his way there. I was able to take him back down the hill and it's not too often you can do that here."

2018 - Footpad:

Willie Mullins continued his dominance of recent years when Footpad scored by 14 lengths under an ecstatic Ruby Walsh.

Punters had heavily supported Mullins' short-priced favourite in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, who ultimately disppointed, but kept the faith in Mullins and Walsh and Footpad returned the 5-6 favourite.

Favourite backers only had one scare which was when Footpad made a bad mistake at the sixth fence but, other than that, his victory was never in any doubt. Ruby Walsh said after the race:

"It sent the hairs down the back of my neck.

"He was brilliant. I can't say I was confident when we landed at the back of the first down the back, but I was kicking myself I went too fast in the first and thought they can't keep going and would come back."

2017 - Altior:

An injury to the leading Irish hope Min, left Altior as the 1-4 favourite and he justified those prohibitive odds but not in the style we had become accustomed to.

He made it five from five over fences but he took a while to find top gear before eventually finishing strongly to win by by six lengths. He was helped slightly by his old rival Charbel falling at the second last, but he surely would have won regardless.

Altior has not been seen since winning the Bet365 Celebration Chase (Grade One) at Sandown Park on the final day of the Jumps season beating Champion Chase hero Special Tiara by eight lengths. He is the ante-post favourite for this year’s Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and is said to be only "50-50" for the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury next month.

2016 - Douvan:

Only seven runners and Douvan, who was already a dual Grade One winner over fences was sent off the red-hot 1-4 favourite.

He cantered through the race using his high cruising speed and jumped his rivals into submission without ever really coming off the bridle, finishing seven lengths clear of his old rival Sizing John. This gave Willie Mullins back-to-back victories in the race.

Douvan went on to win at the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals in 2016 before a perfect preparation to the 2017 Champion Chase where he was sent off 2-9 favourite but finished a disappointing seventh.

He has not been seen on a racecourse since. His old rival Sizing John stepped up in trip following the Arkle Chase to avoid another beating and went on to lift the 2017 Timico Gold Cup.

2015 - Un De Sceaux:

Having fallen on his chasing debut, Un De Sceaux had been a wide margin winner of his next two chase starts and came into the race as the red-hot 4-6 favourite.

Ruby Walsh avoided any complications and jumped Un De Sceaux off in front. He barely saw another rival on his way to a comfortable six-length success from God's Own.

Un De Sceaux was sent off at 4-6 again for the 2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but he found the brilliant Sprinter Sacre three and a half lengths too good.

At the 2017 Cheltenham Festival he was again sent off 7-4 favourite and won the Ryanair Chase (Grade One) by one and a half lengths from Sub Lieutenant. He has been a tremendous racehorse, having won 20 of his 26 starts under Rules, with the Clarence House Chase his eighth Grade One.

2014 - Western Warhorse:

A massive shock. Western Warhorse came into the race having won his only chase start by a neck at Doncaster in the January and held a rating of only 135. He was sent off at 33-1.

There were joint favourites with the dual Cheltenham Festival winner Champagne Fever (Champion Bumper 2012 & Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2013) and Trifolium (Irish Arkle Grade One winner) both at 11-4.

Rock On Ruby was also in the field, having won the 2012 Champion Hurdle and finished runner-up the following year to the brilliant Hurricane Fly.

Champagne Fever attempted to make all, but Western Warhorse, having been outpaced at various stages of the race, stayed on well under pressure to nail the long-time leader on the line to win by a head.

Western Warhorse only raced once more, when he was defeated at that year’s Aintree Festival.

2013 - Simonsig:

Having been a runaway winner of the 2012 Neptune Novices' Hurdle, Simonsig's chasing campaign had not disappointed and he came into the Arkle having won both his chasing starts in Grade Two company by an aggregate of 84 lengths.

He was sent off the red-hot 8-15 favourite. This was not the strongest of renewals and Overturn set out to make the running in his customary fashion, but Simonsig, despite racing freely and making a mistake at the fourth last, came up the hill best to score. He was not at his best in victory and he scoped dirty after the race.

Problems plagued the classy grey after this win and he did not see the track again till November 2015 when beaten over hurdles at Aintree by Bobs Worth. He only raced another four times before suffering a fatal fall in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November 2016.

2012 - Sprinter Sacre:

The best winner of the race in recent times in the smallest field in the history of the race.

Sprinter Sacre had faded up the hill into third in the previous year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he re-opposed Cue Card (fourth) and Al Ferof (first) in a vintage renewal.

Sprinter Sacre had a perfect record coming into the contest and he took time to settle in the race but his jumping was exemplary and he powered clear without being fully extended to win by seven lengths from Cue Card.

Afterwards trainer Nicky Henderson described him as 'as good an Arkle horse as we've seen for a good bit.'

This did prove to be a vintage renewal.

Sprinter Sacre went on to win a further eight Grade One races, including the Queen Mother Champion Chase (2013 & 2016), as well as victories at the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals and confirmed that he was one of the best chasers of the modern era.

Cue Card stepped up in trip after this and became one of the best staying chasers winning six Grade One races including the Betfair Chase (2013, 2015 & 2016) and King George VI Chase (2015). Gold Cup glory eluded him though, falling twice in the Blue Riband (2016 & 2017) when having leading claims.

2011 - Captain Chris:

Having been beaten in three of his four chasing starts prior to the Arkle, Captain Chris had a bit to prove over fences but he was improving with each run.

He tracked the leaders before becoming slightly outpaced, but once landing over the last he powered home to finish two and three-quarter lengths clear from Finian's Rainbow with a further six lengths back to Realt Dubh in third.

He was given a canny ride by Richard Johnson, who kept him wide to give him a good sight of all his fences and fired him into every one once he had his eye in, before switching him inside at the top of the hill.

Captain Chris went on to claim Grade One honours at the 2011 Punchestown Festival and he also took the Grade Two Amlin Chase at Ascot in 2012.

Finian's Rainbow gained his Grade One at the following Aintree Festival, which was bypassed by Captain Chris in favour of Punchestown and he went on to win the 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase.

2010 - Sizing Europe:

A number of high-class hurdlers turned up for this renewal and Sizing Europe put up a performance that erased the demons of his tame finishing effort in the 2008 Champion Hurdle.

He came into the race with an unbeaten record over fences and was a fresh horse, having not raced that year.

He travelled strongly throughout and having been left in the lead at the last had enough in reserve to hold off the late challenge of Somersby. He became the first eight-year-old to win the race since Moscow Flyer in 2002.

Sizing Europe was beaten on his next four starts before he returned to Cheltenham to contest the 2011 Champion Chase, which he won by five lengths from Big Zeb.

He returned a year later to defend his crown but found Finian's Rainbow too strong in the run-in, a race famed for the last fence being omitted and the first two colliding in a ding-dong battle to the line.

He attempted to regain his crown in the 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase, but he was outclassed by the imperious Sprinter Sacre who was 19 lengths too good. He did, however, win the Champion Chase (Grade One) at Punchestown in 2014 as a 12-year-old, confirming himself as a very classy operator.

2009 - Forpadydeplasterer

Seventee lined up but favourite backers did nopt get much a run for their money with Tatanen, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh, falling at the third.

By contrast, Forpadydeplasterer jumped soundly but he had finished runner-up in his previous three races and it again looked like he would have to settle for second as Kalahari King threw down a strong challenge at the final fence.

However, Forpadydeplasterer dug deep under BNarry Geraghty and the pho finish revealed Thomas Cooper's seven-year-old had prevailed at 8-1. The runner-upo was retiurned at the same price, with Planet Of Sound,having made an error two, five lengths further back in third.

Remarkably, finished second in his next seven races and won only once more.

2008 - Tidal Bay

Mention of Tidal Bay and most will recall his exploits in long-distance chases, including when romping home in a muddy renewal of the bet365 Gold Cup or when touched off in the Welsh National.

However, as a younger horse, when trained by Howard Johnson, he was not short of toe and he put up a top-notch display in this renewal of the Arkle, forging clear from the second last to win by 13 lengths from Kruguyrova.

There is no doubt Tidal Bay was helped by the soft going but the manner in which he accelerated clear was impressive.

Noland, the previous Supreme Novices'Hurdle winner, was sent off 7-4 favourite but was a one-paced third,

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