Arkle Challenge Trophy Trends – Cheltenham 2015
An event which decides the best 2m chaser amongst novice ranks, and one in which punters fared well down the years in terms of sticking to fancied runners.
Playing the percentages proved the best guide in finding the winner of this race, as those who went off at 8/1 or shorter catered for nine of the last 10 Arkle winners – the exception was the shock 33/1 winner, Western Warhorse in 2014. A clear message therefore to backers, is to concentrate on those at the head of the market.
Age & experience
You need to go back to 2010 for the last 8yo Arkle winner in Sizing Europe, and prior to that Moscow Flyer in 2002, who took the race from the same age-group. However, a glance at the last 10 years alone shows that of the 26 runners out of the preferred 5-7yo bracket, 25 failed (bar Sizing Europe).
The age is also reflected in the number of outings over fences recorded prior to the big day at Cheltenham, as each of the last 10 victors all had 1-4 chase runs, leaving those outside that range winless from 37 attempts.
While two Arkle winners during the last decade tuned-up for this assignment in a Grade 3 or worse event last time out, eight other winners kept Grade 1 or 2 company, winning here three times as often as the former pair – one of whom was last year’s 33/1 winner.
It’s also worth noting the official rating of any potential punt, as they have provided a handy pointer in recent years. For instance, since 2008, six of the seven victors – bar last year – were rated 160, 169, 153, 157, 152 and 154.
Arguably one of the key stats to take into consideration for this race involves past experience of Cheltenham’s unique venue.
Indeed, with this race traditionally run at a decent gallop, any young chaser’s jumping ability will certainly be put to the test, hence why nine of the last 10 Arkle winners already raced around here. Compare that to those who were experiencing Cheltenham for the first time during their career, as they struck at a disappointing rate of just 1-42.
Trainers & jockeys
If there is one jockey to have had one your side down the years, then it was Barry Geraghty, courtesy of three wins. Nicky Henderson provided two of those wins in the last three years, while another trainer who knows what it takes to get one ready for the Arkle is Alan King, who won back-to-back renewals in 2006 and 2007.
Do not ignore Tony McCoy in his final year, however, as the 19-time champion jockey won the Arkle on three occasions in 1997, 1998 and 2004 – who knows, he may well be due a victory in this race?
Trends Summary (British & Irish form only)
Of the last 10 Arkle winners…
10 had 1-4 chase outings – others were 0-37
9 returned 8/1 or shorter (24%) – others were 1-84 (1%)
9 were 5-7yo’s (9%) – others were 1-26 (4%)
9 raced at Cheltenham previously (11%) – others were 1-42 (2%)
8 ran in a Grade 1 or 2 last time (11%) – others were 2-46 (4%)
B Geraghty won it 3 times
N Henderson & A King both won it 2 times