Arkle Trophy 2020 Tip:
It often pays to keep a close eye on some of the bigger midweek meetings in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival, and last Wednesday’s meeting at Warwick was a good case in point.
One race in particular, the Highflyer Novices’ Chase over 2 miles, really caught the eye in terms of ante-post pointers, with the first three home all capable of lighting up the next few months and quite possibly making their presence felt at the big one in March.
The winner Torpillo could not have been more impressive on his chase debut, jumping like an old pro to see off the highly-regarded pair of Mister Fisher and Lisp.
Granted he was receiving the four-year-old weight allowance and also had fitness in his side, having been an easy hurdles winner off a mark of 137 on his reappearance at Chepstow, before finishing an excellent third in a good hurdle at the October Cheltenham meeting.
But it was the way he took to fences, jumping well out front, barring a mistake at the last, and really hitting the line well to win going away, that marked him out as a potential Grade 1 performer.
His high-profile connections – he carries the now familiar green colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede – were in two minds over whether to keep him over hurdles after that last-time-out performance, but the switch was fully vindicated here.
The winner of his first two hurdles at Sandown last season, before running below-par on his final two outings, including in the old ‘Fred Winter’ for juveniles in March, he has clearly done well for his summer break and his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies will now be looking to aim his sights far higher.
A tilt at next month’s Henry VII Novices’ Chase is now on the cards and that’s the same path taken by stablemate Bristol De Mai, who won the same Warwick race before chasing home Ar Mad in the Sandown Grade 1.
Other previous winners of the Warwick contest include Sceau Royal and Top Notch and it’s hard to argue against Wednesday’s renewal being anything other than a high-class one.
The obvious Cheltenham Festival 2020 race for him in March is the Arkle Trophy, for which he gets a 33/1 quote from William Hill, although there are plenty of other options these days, including the JLT (not quoted currently), which is the race Bristol De Mai contested in his novice season – he finished a three-lengths second to Black Hercules.
Second and Third Worth Keeping a Close Eye On
But in terms of future races, it’s well worth keeping the three-lengths runner-up Mister Fisher in our sights too. His trainer Nicky Henderson has described him as having an “incredible engine” and the five-year-old looks sure to improve massively for the experience, with better ground likely to suit.
The third Lisp also ran with plenty of credit, not helping his cause by pecking at the last before finishing a little over two lengths adrift of the second. His trainer Alan King rates him an exciting prospect for fences, albeit he should be more at home in handicaps. The Grand Annual, perhaps?
Arkle Trophy 2020 Tips – Final Verdict
Of course much can happen between now and March, and probably will, but it’s hard to resist a small stakes interest at this stage on Torpillo at a big price in the hope he can enhance his Arkle claims further at Sandown next month.
One caveat being he appears best suited to testing ground, having now won three times on ‘soft’ and once on ‘heavy’. Potential backers will be hoping for a wet winter then.