Vibrato Valtat

Arkle Challenge Trophy Tips – Day 1 – Cheltenham 2015

Arkle Challenge Trophy

Outright Betting

No sooner will punters be getting their breath back following the opening race of the festival, than another championship race in the Arkle Chase (2.05) will be served up – welcome to Cheltenham 2015!

Un De Sceaux Odds-On To Win
If Willie Mullins wins the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, then on-course bookies may well be running for cover from the red-hot, Un De Sceaux, who holds outstanding prospects of winning the Arkle at odds of 4/7.

Despite falling on his chase debut in November, Un De Sceaux has made up for that by winning both races since, the latest of which was a mightily impressive Grade 1 win at Leopardstown 44 days ago. Given an aggressive front-running ride by Ruby Walsh, this 7yo put in his best round of jumping to date to win by 15l.

The question is whether he’ll repeat that in the heat of battle around Cheltenham’s unique twist and turns? Well, if he goes off in front again, then he’ll need to be very good to maintain what will be a strong gallop – not many Arkle winners won from the front. But, he may well be the exception who turns out be a future star who returns next year for the Champion Chase, and the hours are ticking down now until we find out.

For those looking to take on Un De Sceaux, then they will have their money back as a FREE bet should they finish second to the favourite, and one who may tempt backers into risking a few quid each-way is Paul Nicholls, Vibrato Valtat (9/2).

Each-Way Value
This 6yo took his record to 4-5 over fences when landing a Grade 2 at Warwick by over 4l last month (2m, soft), seeming well suited to the speedy nature of the track. He handles better ground and has the right profile based on past trends, especially as he has experience of running at Cheltenham (runner-up here in November).

Ptit Zig To Bounce Back?
Nicky Henderson also throws his hat into the ring with Josses Hill (10/1), a 9l runner-up behind Ptit Zig at Ascot in December, prior to winning a minor event at Doncaster (2m, good). While he has potential, it was a concern he lost again in a non-Graded race at Kempton last time, and looks short of being top class.

However, at the same price is proven Grade 1 winner, Clarcam (10/1), who scored at Leopardstown (2m1f, soft), before losing no caste in defeat when 15l behind Un De Sceaux over the same C&D. While that winner had the beating of Clarcam, Cheltenham represents a different test, and Gordon Elliott’s 5yo may well get closer this time around at each-way odds.

Time For An 8yo Winner?
Sgt Reckless is another at double-figure odds who is certainly in the “unexposed” category having won his only race over fences in October (2m, good to soft). Fourth in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, he obviously has the class, but will need to be good if winning this as a 8yo – nine of the last Arkle winners were 5-7yo’s.

Three Kingdoms also deserves a mention having won 3-4 over fences, including a Grade 2 in January (2m, good to soft). Considering he was only 1/2l behind Vibrato Valtat over Christmas, Three Kingdoms has to rate excellent each-way at 20/1.

Recommended Bets
Un De Sceaux is obviously a class act, but his jumping will be severely tested at championship pace here, which could see Vibrato Valtat take advantage.

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