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Arkle Trophy

Double or quits? Douvan looks one of the Irish bankers of the metting to bring up an opening race double for Willie Mullins & Ruby Walsh

Willie Mullins at his pre-Cheltenham Open Day

Arkle Trophy: 2m, Tuesday March 15 2:10pm

Key Stat: Just two of the last 25 winners were sent off at bigger than 11/1 

One of the most exciting races of the season where fast, slick jumping counts and one mistake can cost you the race. Although he has led from the front in all three of his novice chase outings, this season’s odds-on favourite, Douvan, doesn’t have to make the running according to connections.

He certainly didn’t over hurdles (won Supreme Novices Hurdle last term) and if successful he will emulate the last three odds-on winners of the race (Sprinter Sacre, Simonsig and Un De Sceaux). Just two of the last 25 winners were sent off at bigger than 11/1.

Nicky Henderson could provide the main danger to Douvan. A victory for either L’Ami Serge  or Vaniteux  would give the master of Seven Barrows a sixth victory in the two-mile novice chase championship. Both finished in the first four in their respective Supreme Novices’ Hurdles and hurdles-race class counts for plenty.

Last season Un De Sceaux became the sixth winner since 2000 that entered the Arkle as the highest-rated hurdler in the race on official ratings.

Two second-top-rated-over-hurdles contenders in Sizing Europe and Simonsig have also won the Arkle in recent years.

Nine of the last 12 winners had won or finished placed at this meeting in the past.

What do you think?