Cheltenham Festival: Our experts’ Jonbon v El Fabiolo verdicts in the Arkle Chase

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Jonbon v El Fabiolo in the Arkle Chase is building up to be one of the biggest clashes of the Cheltenham Festival 2023.

We paid out on the British challenger after impressive schooling footage at the start of the season and last season’s Supreme runner-up is three from three over the larger obstacles, although enthusiasm waned after an unconvincing performance in the Kingmaker last month.

El Fabiolo has emerged as the leading Irish contender after romping to glory in the Irish Arkle at last month’s Dublin Racing Festival but Willie Mullins’ emerging star has less experience than his rival over fences.

The latest episode of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast saw a listener ask our expert panel by how many lengths Jonbon would win the Arkle – but Ruby Walsh, Frank Hickey and Fran Berry had other ideas… You can listen to the show in full below!


“I wouldn’t think Jonbon wins the Arkle by any lengths. I don’t there’ll be much between him and El Fabiolo. It’ll be a jump or a mistake one way or the other.

“There wasn’t lengths between them at Aintree and I don’t think there’ll be lengths between them at Cheltenham, either.”


“I don’t think Jonbon will win and I wouldn’t be discounting Dysart Dynamo, either. There’s a chance he gets his own way as Haddex Des Obeaux has been ruled out. When you look at the finishing speeds at Leopardstown [in the Irish Arkle] they were finishing very slowly as he went too hard. If he could just hold a bit back, I wouldn’t rule him out at all.

“Of the two, I think El Fabiolo could improve a bit more and Jonbon has a bit to do to win.”


“With a clear round, it’ll be very close between El Fabiolo and Jonbon. The Dysart Dynamo angle with the pace of the race will expose any jumping flaws.

“Were one of the main protagonists not to complete the track I could see a wide-margin winner, but with a clear round I’ll be with El Fabiolo but there won’t be much between them.”

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