Cheltenham Festival: Who is the Arkle favourite now Ferny Hollow is ruled out?

No Ferny, no party.

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*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules

Paddy Power’s Arkle Chase antepost betting market has a new favourite after Ferny Hollow was ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival.

One of the shortest-priced favs for the four-day fiesta, Ferny Hollow will miss the rest of the season after suffering a suspensory ligament injury. He was two from two over fences this term including Grade 1 honours at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.

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The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding previously missed more than 12 months of action through injury after beating Appreciate It in the 2020 Champion Bumper and Bob Olinger in a maiden hurdle in November of that year.

Trainer Willie Mullins said: “He came home very sore from Leopardstown and we were just hoping he might have got away with it. He did his first canter during the week and, unfortunately, he’s sore again after it. We’ve decided to pull up stumps for the whole season, rather than trying to get him back for Punchestown.

“It’s very disappointing, but at least he has his Grade 1 win this season and we have a lot to look forward to with him in the future.”

Ferny Hollow has been replaced at the top of the betting market by stablemate Blue Lord, who romped to a 20l victory in a novice chase at Naas in early January. The seven-year-old holds entries to the Irish Arkle and Dublin Chase at next month’s Dublin Racing Festival.

Mullins, who has won four of the last seven Arkle renewals, also trains other prominent antepost players including last year’s Triumph Hurdle third Haut En Couleurs and Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle second Saint Sam.

The Alan King-trained Edwardstone heads the British charge after a hat-trick over fences including the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown when beating the likes of War Lord and Third Time Lucki.

Gordon Elliott’s leading Arkle contender is Riviere D’etel, who won all three of her chase starts before a 1½l defeat to Ferny Hollow at Leopardstown.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

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