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Arkle 2023 Tips - Keep the faith in Nicky's novice at Cheltenham

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Last updated: 14 Mar 2023
Jon Vine 14 Mar 2023
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  • Tips, odds and predictions for the 2023 Arkle Challenge Trophy
  • This Grade One takes place at 2:10pm on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
  • Jonbon is our best betting tip at 7/4
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Arkle Challenge Trophy Tips Odds Runners
Aidan Coleman riding Jonbon lead all the way to win The Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown. (Getty)

Once the winner of the Supreme has departed the winner's enclosure, the best two-mile novice chasers in the sport will take to the track ahead of the Arkle Challenge Trophy. Legends like Fortria, Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre all went on to win the Champion Chase after scoring in the Arkle and two of National Hunt racing's most promising chasers will square off in this year's renewal.

Here's our free guide and tips for the 2023 Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Cheltenham 2023 Tips - Arkle Challenge Trophy 2023 Guide


Arkle 2023 Odds


Name
Odds
El Fabiolo5/4
Jonbon7/4
Dysart Dynamo5/1
Appreciate It9/1
Bar16/1

Arkle 2023 Runners

The betting for this year's Arkle is dominated by two unbeaten chasers, who've both collected Grade One honours over fences this season.

Topping the market is Willie Mullins' El Fabiolo, who leapfrogged Jonbon following his runaway victory at the Dublin Racing Festival. Jonbon had sat happily atop the Arkle betting for the entirety of the season and his price drifted further following that workmanlike victory over Calico in the Kingmaker at Warwick.

The free-going Dysart Dynamo will likely remain over two miles and Willie Mullins' second-string should ensure the race is run at a more-than-honest gallop. The top three in the market aside, it's hard to know which of the other entrants will actually run on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.

Appreciate It and Banbridge look set for the Turners, while Sir Gerhard is being aimed at the three-mile Brown Advisory. Final Orders is much more likely to enter the Grand Annual, as is Saint Roi - despite his Grade One triumph at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Neither Haddex Des Obeaux nor Boothill have been entered in the Grand Annual, so they'll either run in the Arkle or wait for Aintree. Straw Fan Jack and Mortlach could bolster the British contingent, but neither would have a hope of challenging the leading contenders.

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Jonbon (right) battles back to beat El Fabiolo at Aintree. (Getty)

Arkle 2023 Tips

Dysart Dynamo cannot be ruled out too lightly. Willie Mullins' seven-year-old is guaranteed to make the running and if the top two fail to fire, he'll be difficult to peg back. Yet, if the first and second favourite bring their A-Game to the Cheltenham Festival, this could turn into a thrilling match race.

While his victory at the Dublin Racing Festival was undoubtedly very impressive, for me, El Fabiolo is too short at 5/4. Willie Mullins' charge made a couple of bad errors at Leopardstown, before eventually kicking clear down the straight. Appreciate It ran poorly that day, and you cannot say that either Banbridge or Dysart Dynamo performed to the peak of their abilities. 

This will be the first time that El Fabiolo has ever run around Cheltenham racecourse - a much more challenging track than Leopardstown and he'll need to produce a blemish-free round of jumping to see off JONBON.

Nicky Henderson's star had jumped beautifully on both of his first two starts over fences, thrashing Monmiral at Warwick before an easy Grade One triumph over Boothill at Sandown. In the Kingmaker, Aidan Coleman was caught a little flat-footed when Harry Skelton rushed to the front aboard Calico down the back-straight. Even Jonbon seemed to have been taken by surprise, as his next two jumps weren't particularly fluent. In the end, the 1/16 favourite ground out a five-length victory, but there's no doubt that Jonbon severely underperformed.

That being said, funny things can happen in match races. They often turn into messy affairs, as this one did. Despite finishing within six lengths of a horse rated 159, the handicapper has only upped Calico's mark from 136 to 137, so he's not taking the Kingmaker form too literally either.

Jonbon holds the bragging rights over El Fabiolo from their showdown in the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree last season, where Mullins' raider passed Jonbon jumping the last, only for Nico De Boinville's mount to battle back and snatch a narrow victory. El Fabiolo was only having his second start for Mullins that day, so his effort has to be marked up. As does Jonbon's, considering he went into that race on the back of a grueling run behind Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle just three-and-a-half-weeks previous.

Verdict

El Fabiolo has clearly improved for the switch to fences, but so has Jonbon and, given how tightly-matched the top two are, I'd much rather take 7/4 about Nicky Henderson's runner than back the favourite at close to Evens.

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14 Mar 2023

Arkle 2023