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arkle chase cheltenham festival day 1 12/03/2024 sport preview

Arkle Chase – Cheltenham Festival Day 1 12/03/2024

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Arkle Chase 12/03/2024:
  • Il Etait Temps
  • Found A Fifty
  • Facile Vega
  • JPR One

Arkle Chase – Cheltenham Festival Day 1 12/03/2024

Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham UK | Dates: 12-15 March 2024 | Official Site: Cheltenham Festival 2024

2:10 Winner: £98,472.5 Runners: 18 Going: Soft Distance: 1m7f199y

Attention all racing enthusiasts! The highly anticipated Arkle Chase at Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner

10 Year Official Rating Trends

  • Highest Winning Official Rating:   170
  • Lowest Winning Official Rating:    135
  • Average Winning Official Rating:  157


Il Etait Temps

A dual Grade 1 winner over hurdles and fences, Il Etait Temps was a brave winner of the Irish Arkle Novices Chase where a determined effort saw him overhaul the long-time leader Found A Fifty in the shadows of the post.  This victory followed a creditable run against his stablemate Gaelic Warrior over 2m3½f at Limerick over Christmas.  Whilst he will head to Cheltenham with a huge chance, there is a nagging doubt that the 2m trip may be a little short of his best.  He needed every yard of the 2m1f trip in the Irish Arkle to get to Find A Fifty and given that the English version is normally a speed test run at breakneck speed, then Il Etait Temps may be out of his comfort zone in such a test.

Found A Fifty

The Gordon Elliott trained son of Solskjaer comes into this contest with a very progressive profile.  As was already mentioned, he was collared in the shadows of the post by Il Etait Temps in the Irish Arkle and this followed on from a Grade 1 victory at Leopardstown at Christmas where he won the Racing Post Novice Chase by a length and a half from My Mate Mozzie with the odds-on favourite Facile Vega 6¼ lengths behind in fourth and last place.  Found A Fifty likes to race prominently and he has generally jumped very well in all of his novice chases to date.  He did show a slight tendency to lug a little left when winning at Christmas however it was nothing too alarming although he wouldn’t want to do similar here.  Either way, he heads to this race as a major player.

Facile Vega

It may seem very harsh to suggest that a four-time Grade 1 winning bumper and hurdle horse may have underachieved slightly to date however that is the overriding feeling with Facile Vega.  Because for all of these high profile Grade 1 successes, he has also failed to deliver on a few occasions when he was expected to add to his tally.  The Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas being a point in question as the son of the great Quevega

bombed out when odds on in this four runner contest.  He has since ran very well at the DRF however he did finish behind both Il Etait Temps and Found A Fifty on this particular occasion and one just feels that he may well find one or two opponents a little better in this contest too.  He still remains a huge favourite of his esteemed trainer and there is also a feeling that he may miss this race and head for the Turners Novices Chase over a half mile further later in the week..


A current chase rating of 150 suggests that JPR One is just about the best 2m novice chaser in the UK right now.  An impressive winner of the Lightning Novices Chase at the recent Winter Million Festival at Lingfield, he had earlier been a very unlucky loser at the Cheltenham November Meeting when stumbling and unseating his rider at the last fence with the race at his mercy.  He had jumped superbly to that point and it is a feature of his in that he tends to attack his fences with relish and this particular test looks tailormade for him.  His trainer certainly doesn’t lack for confidence when discussing his chances and if he can get into a jumping rhythm then he could well play a big part in the outcome of the race.

Mention can also be made of the Gavin Cromwell trained My Mate Mozzie , a 146 rated chaser who chased home Found A Fifty in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown at Christmas.  He had earlier cantered round Cheltenham when winning hard on the bridle back in October and this horse has a running style that could be well suited to this race.  He tends to race from off the pace and pick his way through the field and he could easily be the type to pick up the pieces if the race is run at its usual breakneck speed.

Arkle Chase Summary:

It is always one of the most competitive races of the Festival and this year will be no exception.  There are a whole host of contenders who could easily win this however the percentage call is Found A Fifty.  If he can gain a prominent position early and jump as well as he normally does then he must have a big chance to atone for his slightly unlucky defeat at the DRF.  At bigger prices both JPR One and My Mate Mozzie should be considered as each-way propositions with the latter most likely to have the race run to suit his hold-up running style.

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