The second race on the first day of 2015’s Cheltenham is the Arkle Trophy, a novice chase ran over two miles. It’s a race that has historically been a springboard for many a winner in the Champion Chase, including the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Sizing Europe, Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop.
Here we take a look at five Arkle trends that have developed over recent years to help you beat the bookies in 2015:
1. Youthful Exuberance
The Arkle has historically been a race that has been dominated by young, nimble horses, with more established hurdlers struggling at the sharp end. The last 25 Arkle winners have been aged between 5-8 with more fancied older horses consistently being turned over. The Arkle is a young nag’s game, with Sir Ken the only horse over the age of 8 to win the race back in 1956.
2. Failing Favourites
With more established runners often failing, the Arkle Trophy is often won by horses not favoured by the bookies. A perfect case in point was the 2014 race, which saw 33/1 rated Western Warhorse topple the two 11/4 joint favourites Champagne Fever and Trifolium (odds from Sky Bet). This theme continues to run throughout the race, particularly since the turn of the century. In 2002, Barton could only manage seventh at 9/2. A year later, Adamant Approach fell when a 7/1 shot and Captain Cee Bee was only eighth as the 5/2 favourite in 2010.
3. Follow Form
If looking at the bookies odds doesn’t give you a good indication of who will win, then what will? A look into the formbook should tell you who will there or thereabouts in the Arkle, with only one horse to finish outside of the first two in their prior start winning between 1997 and 2013. It’s often said that form goes out the window in a big race like this, but that saying doesn’t ring true when it comes to the Arkle Trophy.
4. UK or Irish?
The Irish have saddled 58 runners since 1997 in the Arkle, with just three winners at a strike rate of just 5%. The British have saddled 13 winners from their 142 runners, which s a trike rate of 9% in the same time span. Looking only at those horses priced 12/1 or below, the figures come down to Ireland 3-23 (13%) and UK 13-76 (17.1%). Therefore the odds are in favour of UK trained runners, but it is not a foregone conclusion.
5. Back Barry Geraghty
Barry Geraghty is the most successful jockey with four wins in this race. Critically, three of those wins have came since 2009, showing he has the edge in recent years when it comes to the Arkle Trophy. His experience of knowing what it takes to win on this course and in this race could be crucial in 2015, so keep an eye out for his name when looking at the list of riders.