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The From The Horse’s Mouth team took a close look at the Arkle Chase and top pundit Ruby Walsh has picked out one of Willie Mullins’ potential runners as his antepost fancy with just a month to go.
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“Edwardstone has been extremely professional in everything he’s been asked to do. He’s shown he’s got stamina by winning at Sandown. He also showed speed on the faster tracks at Kempton and Warwick. He’s very versatile and he’s a great jumper. He’s also got age on his side. There’s a lot to like about Edwardstone and you can’t knock anything he’s done so far.
“I thought Blue Lord was a little lucky at Leopardstown, with Riviere D’etel’s mistake deciding that race. Great riding from Paul Townend at the back of the last definitely helped him to win there. However, Leopardstown is a lot different to an Arkle Chase at Cheltenham. You will often see horses excel at tracks like Leopardstown but when it comes to the Festival, they’re not the same.
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“Riviere D’etel had more experience than Blue Lord but that advantage may now be gone following that race and the likes of Saint Sam also having another run under their belts.
“A couple of mistakes hampered Saint Sam at Leopardstown earlier this month, where he finished third behind Blue Lord and Riviere D’etel. He was slow at the second last and that allowed his rivals to get back into it. I was surprised he was only beaten by 4 1/4 lengths. However, before that, Saint Sam looked good at Fairyhouse in January, beating Thedevilscoachman by 9l.
“Ciel De Neige won well at Punchestown last weekend in a race he was entitled to win, where he beat Fire Attack. As for Third Time Lucki, I don’t see him turning it around against Edwardstone after their Warwick showdown. Third Time Lucki looked really good at Doncaster in the Lightning Novices’ Chase at the end of January and I was surprised that Dan Skelton went back to war with Edwardstone two weeks later. He’s a good horse when fresh but they’ve taken that off him now.
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“The Arkle Chase is wide open. I couldn’t oppose Edwardstone but I’d probably be more willing to take a chance on Saint Sam simply based on the prices. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Riviere D’etel win.
“If one of Edwardstone, Blue Lord, Riviere D’etel, Haut En Couleurs, Saint Sam or Ciel De Neige wins the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham, we’re not going to be sat there asking how it happened.”
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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