Racing Post Arkle Challenge Tropy Chase analysis by David Clark January 24, 2014
9/10 - SP no bigger than 9-1
It doesn't pay to look too far beyond the obvious when ploughing through the long list of entries for this year's Arkle. The fancied runners tend to fight it out up the hill in this particular race, with six of those entered already available to back at single-figure prices (Felix Yonger, Champagne Fever, Dodging Bullets, Rock On Ruby and Hinterland)
10/10 - aged five - eight
As you would expect given this is a novices' chase, a massive portion of the runners entered fall within this ideal age range. However, one notable exceptions is the former Ditcheat inmate Rock On Ruby.
9/10 - finished in the first two on all completed chase starts
An extremely strong trend with the only exception finishing third. Consistency is a trait common in plenty of previous winners and met by almost all of the more fancied entrants.A canny front-running effort brought about the only blemish on the chasing record of Willie Mullins' well fancied Felix Yonger who, in three chase starts, has two wins and a second already to his name. Smart sort Dodging Bullets is unbeaten in three starts over fences and has been in with top company, while only Champagne Fever and Hinterland have been out of the first two, but have still won plenty of races.
9/10 - pre-race RPR of at least 151
Almost every winner of this prestigious race has shown their hand prior to lining up at Prestbury Park. Although plenty will improve, a top-class standard of form has already been shown with connections always eager to find out what they have on their hands when building up experience and confidence over the larger obstacles. Of the 34 entries, just under half (15) fail to meet this criteria, most notably Rock On Ruby.
9/10 - rated within 12lb of RPR top-rated
9/10 - 3-5 runs over fences already
8/10 - RPR rating over hurdles of at least 153
7/10 - won Novice Chase over 2m - 2m1f
9/10 - have previously raced at Cheltenham
Very much a race for followers of form and statistics with the Arkle being one of the strongest trends races at the Cheltenham Festival. Improvers, especially those with powerful connections, will attract support at big prices, however those highest rated over fences are the place to start along with those with consistent form. yet to be beaten far if at all. Those already mentioned such as Felix Yonger and Rock on Ruby are the stand out names near the head of the market, while somewhat under the radar, Alan King's Valdez also fits the bill and looks a possible springer in the market. He looks a lively each way antepost alternative and is available to back at as big as 16-1.