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Cheltenham Festival Previews: Arkle Novices’ Chase

One of the duels of the week dominates the betting for the contest



Energumene wins the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown in February 2020

Tuesday sees arguably one of the best clashes of the Festival, as Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins face off in the Arkle Chase once again.

Both trainers have won seven of the last nine contests between them and they have two stars in the wings ready to battle.

Last year’s Supreme winner Shishkin has made a near-perfect transition to fences, winning all three of his starts in emphatic fashion.

Shishkin boasts Cheltenham Festival form ahead of the Arkle in under two weeks’ time

The only doubt floating around Henderson’s talent is that he is yet to face a real challenger in the chasing sphere as of yet.

Cue in Energumene.

A rapidly progressing type, the seven-year-old won a maiden hurdle at Gowran Park last March and has not looked back since.

Mullins’ future star landed his maiden Grade 1 at the first attempt, cruising through to land the Irish Arkle Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival.

He clearly has the ability to take on Shishkin – as long as he can cope with the ground.

Energumene has made all his starts for the Closutton trainer in testing conditions, with his only run on good ground coming in his point-to-point days.

If the Irish chaser can prove his versatility, then he could be a handful for the favourite here.

Willie Mullins has trained two of the previous three Arkle winners

Stablemate Blackbow and Franco Du Port lines up alongside him, and the quick pace of this contest could well suit the latter.

They both ran a creditable second and third in the Irish Arkle, but were unable to get near Energumene in the run-in.

Allmankind returns to the Festival after coming third in the Triumph Hurdle, with trainer Dan Skelton hoping he can upset the two heavyweights in this contest.

Allmankind and Harry Skelton jump the last at Warwick Racecourse
Allmankind finished third in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle and is unbeaten so far as a novice chaser

There were some excuses made for his slightly underwhelming victory in the Kingmaker at Warwick last month, with ‘sticky’ ground being the problem.

A horse that loves to run, his quick pace and erratic jumping could cause problems for either the field – or himself.

Captain Guinness could well be an each-way contender here, if he can shake off the sheer bad luck he’s been dealt so far.

After being brought down in the Supreme last year, the six-year-old was travelling strongly next to Energumene in the Irish Arkle before falling two out.

Henry De Bromhead’s talent could well be a surprise contender here, if he can steer away from any mishaps.

An exciting renewal of the Arkle lies in wait for jumps fans, holding the potential of being one of the best races of the week.

  • Energumene @ 9/4 (Betfair, Paddy Power, William Hill)
  • Captain Guinness E/W @ 20/1 (Bet365)
put the kettle on scooted clear in the 2020 arkle under aidan coleman for henry de bromhead [racing tv]

Reece Charlton is a Content Writer at Low6 that specializes in horse racing. He is an avid hunter of value in the racing world, picking out longshots six days a week across the National Hunt and Flat cards on offer across the UK and Ireland. He keeps punters and race fans in the know with his racing expertise with previews and value picks for all the big cards and meetings.