Rory’s Arkle Chase tips:
The Cheltenham Festival 2023 is edging ever closer and, with the off slowly looming in to view, we’ve got jump jockey icon turned tactical guru Ruby Walsh and top pundit Rory Delargy with us every week to hopefully get you more bang for your buck.
The second race on day one of the 2023 Festival is the Arkle Chase and the lads have been looking at the ante-post markets to hopefully send you off into the night with a winner. El Fabiolo and Jonbon are pretty much neck and neck in the market at the of writing but can anyone cause an upset and who’s looking good each-way value? Here’s Rory’s verdict.
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Should Jonbon backers be worried?
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 7, 2023
We had a big pointer to this race last Saturday at the Dublin Racing Festival, Jonbon has something to worry about now in El Fabiolo who pushed him very close at Aintree last year. El Fabiolo had less experience as a hurdler than Jonbon had going into that race however. The pair of them were putting up their best performances at Aintree, maybe not everyone would agree with that, but it certainly looks that way on paper.
They’ve followed similar paths as Novice Chasers and there’s no reason why El Fabiolo isn’t improving at the same rate as Jonbon. It’s going to be one of the most interesting clashes at the Festival. It hasn’t really been spoken about much until now but it’s quite an obvious one when you think about it. The pair of them have passed all the tests they’ve been put through.
Clearly then we shouldn’t think that Jonbon is miles ahead of El Fabiolo because the form book says differently. Jonbon’s a better chaser than a hurdler, although to be pedantic about that if he’d been over more hurdles this season, he’d have been a better hurdler than last season. He’s really progressed. He’s a very good jumper over hurdles.
I went back and looked the 2022 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle again recently and well, it really was a race and half. His jumping was really good in that, given the pace that was set from early on. He got bit tired with Constitution Hill but his jumping was superb. He’s a very good jumper of fences as well. He was very good at Sandown in December. He’s also beaten Boothill lately.
What was so impressive about him there was how easily he’s gone through the race. When Boothill closes him down, it looks like it’s going to make a right race right at the end of it, but Aidan just shakes him up, gives him a reminder and he cleared away really nicely. He also pinged the last couple of fences when he really needed to make some good jumps.
That’s a really good sign; when a horse comes under pressure, either they’re going to fluff a fence and get into trouble or they’re going to put the race to bed with a good jump. Jonbon seems to be the horse who’ll produce a good jump when he needs to.
I wouldn’t say he’s flawless, the only thing we know is that he’s not as good as Constitution Hill but you can say that about pretty much every horse out there at the moment.
Appreciate It was a bit disappointing at the weekend. He was well-enough positioned because it looked like the race was run to suit him. He might have gotten in a little bit tight to the second last jump but otherwise he jumped OK. It looked like he could’ve been a big player, but when he was asked to move up and challenge there wasn’t an awful lot there.
I don’t think Banbridge really has the pace to go with Dysart Dynamo and Appreciate It in an Arkle Chase You’d need to have him doing better in Grade I races for him to be able to push those two at that trip He was a good hurdler though and won the Martin Pipe race over 2m 4f so the Turners Novice Chase will be more to his liking. He’s very effective at two miles but could be even better over further.
Haddex Des Obeaux is worth a second look. He’ll keep improving. Now, he does still need to improve some more to win the Arkle Chase. But at the odds, he’s certainly value. He’s impressed lately, he really has. He’s a very quick jumper and if he’s declared for the Kingmaker Chase at the weekend and Jonbon doesn’t show, then he should win it. His odds will shorten quite a bit for Cheltenham then. He won well at Doncaster of late and really bolted up at Warwick back in January. He might be worth backing each-way in the early markets because you’ll have a decent position going into the race.
Rory’s Arkle Chase Verdict non runner no bet:
There’s not an awful lot to choose between Jonbon and El Fabiolo. A few are knocking El Fabiolo’s jumping but I was actually impressed by it because he was able to get himself out of trouble. I would just favour El Fabiolo over Jonbon. And Haddex Des Obeaux is worth keeping in mind too.
Rory’s Arkle Chase tips:
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