Cheltenham Festival: Jonbon’s jumping leaves Ruby Walsh with an Arkle worry

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We’ve already paid out on Jonbon winning the Arkle at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival – and it’s fair to say he’s been impressive over the larger obstacles.

Nicky Henderson’s gelding was foot perfect on chase debut at Warwick before routing his three rivals in the Grade 1 Henry VIII with another expert round of jumping.

El Fabiolo is also two from two since going chasing – including an impressive victory in the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival – but he has made a number of fencing errors on both starts.

Willie Mullins’ contender has shown he can overcome those mistakes but, speaking on the latest episode of our Cheltenham Countdown podcast, legendary jockey Ruby Walsh highlighted that Jonbon has yet to face that particular test.

Ruby Walsh:

“We know that if El Fabiolo misses, he knows how to get a leg out, he knows how to recover and go and jump the next.

“That’s probably one thing we haven’t seen with Jonbon is him make a mistake. It was probably a worry with Footpad going to the Arkle, he’d never made a mistake then he makes one at the first down the back, gives the water an extra foot, he got himself back into it.

“You know now with El Fabiolo he’s going to miss one and what he’s going to do next whereas we don’t know what Jonbon’s going to do if he misses one.

“Maybe he’ll miss one in the Kingmaker.”

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