Finian's Rainbow To Run Them Ragged In Arkle Chase.

Stan James

Tagged under: 2.05 Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase 2m

As with Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase , tomorrow's Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase is all about jumping at speed.

Ten horses will go to post, headed by last seasons Champion Hurdle seventh Medermit the 11/4 favourite, although 3/1 is available with sportingbet bookmakers.

Alan King's grey has done little wrong since refusing on his second start over fences at Huntingdon, but the son of Medaaly may find the two-mile trip a little on the sharp side, a view which could also apply to Richard Johnson's mount Captain Chris.

Trainer Philip Hobbs has long held the opinion that Thursday's 4f longer Jewson Novices' Chase would be the more suitable target for the 7 year-old, and there is no doubt that is where they would have headed, but for the fact that they have the current favourite for the race in Wishfull Thinking.

Realt Dubh is the sole Irish challenger for the race, but Noel Meade's gelding looks up against it in this company, and has never won on anything better than soft ground.

Paul Nicholl's Ghizao has been impressive this season in beating Captain Chris at both Cheltenham and Newbury, but the Tiger Hill geldings' form over hurdles falls way short of a potential Arkle Chase winner, and odds of 7/2 look short enough.

While the likes of Dan Breen, Giorgio Quercus, Rock Noir, Stagecoach Pearl and West With The Wind look outclassed at Grade 1 level, the most likely winner is Nicky Henderson's exciting Finian's Rainbow.

Fifth in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at last year's Festival, the 8 year-old is unbeaten in three runs over fences and looks an out and out two-mile speedster.

The son of Tiraaz jumped really well in his first two races, but was less fluent when coasting home at Warwick last month, due to a change of tactics employed by jockey Andrew Tinkler.

The gelding seemed unhappy being held up, resulting in several mistakes, but tomorrow's regular pilot Barry Geraghty is sure to ride a more positive race, and the 9/2 available with Stan James could look very generous when the horse shows his rivals a clean pair of heels.

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