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Arkle Challenge Trophy

This is the Champion Chase for novices (2:05pm). It is run over two miles, and is open to horses aged five years old and upwards. The total prize fund is £150,000.

In 2015, the race will be run on Tuesday, March 10.

Recent Winners

The form book is often a good guide to the race and shocks in the Arkle are few and far between. The fields for this event tend to be smaller than for most of the other races at the Festival, but that doesn’t stop it from being a real test for novices, who have to travel and jump faster than they ever have before.

After such a stern examination, it is probably not surprising that the winner of the race almost invariably goes on to take top rank amongst the countries’ leading two mile chasers. Flagship Uberalles, Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop and Voy Por Ustedes are just a few of the horses who have gone on from winning this race in recent years to win a subsequent renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The race is also proving to be a significant stepping stone to future success in the Gold Cup. Both the 2005 (Kicking King) and 2006 (War of Attrition) Gold Cup winners had run in this race the year previously and Best Mate would have too were the meeting not abandoned due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

2014        Western Warhorse
2013 Simonsig
2012 Sprinter Sacre
2011 Captain Chris
2010 Sizing Europe
2009 Forpadydeplasterer
2008 Tidal Bay
2007 My Way de Solzen
2006 Voy Por Ustedes
2005 Contraband
2004 Well Chief
2003 Azertyuiop
2002 Moscow Flyer
2000 Tiutchev
1999 Flagship Uberalles
1998 Champleve
1997 Or Royal
1996 Ventana Canyon
1995 Klairon Davis
1994 Nakir
1993 Travado
1992 Young Pokey
1991 Remittance Man
1990 Comandante
1989 Waterloo Boy

(prior winners detailed at bottom of page)

Race Facts

1. The Arkle Challenge Trophy was inaugurated in 1969, after Arkle’s three wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (1964-66). In its first year, the race was worth £1,365, and was won by Chatham (10/1), trained by Fred Rimell and ridden by Terry Biddlecombe. The 2010 running has total prize money of £130,000. It was known as the Cotswold Chase before 1969.

2. The Irish Independent, which backed the Arkle Chase for the first time in 2000, is only the race’s third sponsor. Guinness sponsored from 1994 until 1999, having taken over from Waterford Castle, who had supported since the first sponsored running in 1991.

3. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has always been a fiercely contested event, and the following have gone on to other Championship victories at The Festival:

2006 Voy Por Ustedes (Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase winner 2007)

2003 Azertyuiop (Queen Mother Champion Chase winner 2004)

2002 Moscow Flyer (Queen Mother Champion Chase winner 2003 & 2005)

1999 Flagship Uberalles (Queen Mother Champion Chase winner 2002)

1995 Klairon Davis (Queen Mother Champion Chase winner 1996)

1991 Remittance Man (Queen Mother Champion Chase winner 1992)

1978 Alverton (Cheltenham Gold Cup winner 1979).

Alverton is the only horse to have won both The Irish Independent Arkle Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

4. The lowest number of runners has been six in 2012, with just eight coming under orders in 1979, 1984 & 1993, while the biggest Arkle Chase field was 19 (1987 & 2005) - there were 25 runners in the Cotswold Chase in 1960. The current safety limit is 20.

5. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has seen several trainers and jockeys run up strings of wins. Martin Pipe notched up successive wins with Or Royal in 1997 and Champleve in 1998 before Well Chief in 2004 and Contraband a year later gave him another brace of victories. Peter Easterby trained three winners - Alverton 1978, Clayside 1981 and Ryeman 1983. Among current trainers, Nicky Henderson leads the way with three successes (Remittance Man 1991, Travado 1993 and Tiutchev 2000), while both Paul Nicholls (Flagship Uberalles in 1999 and Azertyuiop in 2003) and Alan King, successful with My Way De Solzen in 2007 and Voy Por Ustedes in 2006, boast a pair of victories. Among jockeys, Jamie Osborne won three times, via a hat-trick between 1992 and 1994 on Young Pokey, Travado, and Nakir for three different trainers, Oliver Sherwood, Nicky Henderson and Simon Christian. Tony McCoy equalled Osborne’s three wins in 2004 when scoring on Well Chief, having also been aboard Or Royal (1997) and Champleve (1998).

6. Irish trainers have won The Irish Independent Arkle Chase 11 times, including five of the last 15 runnings with Klairon Davis (1995), Ventana Canyon (1996), Moscow Flyer (2002), Forpadydeplasterer (2009) and Sizing Europe (2010).

7. The longest-priced winner is Gala’s Image, successful at 25/1 in 1987, while Pendil (1972) and Chinrullah (1979) are the shortest-priced scorers at 10/11. Six other favourites have won - Canasta Lad (1974), Clayside (1981), Bobsline (1984), Remittance Man (1991), Klairon Davis (1995) and Azertyuiop (2003).

8. The fastest time for the two miles of The Irish Independent Arkle Chase was 3m 46.5s by Tiutchev in 2000, beating the previous best of 3m 52.5s set by Or Royal in 1997.

9. Until 1980, The Irish Independent Arkle Chase was always run on the Wednesday of the National Hunt Festival. It now takes place on the opening day, Tuesday.

2012 Arkle Chase Review

SPRINTER SACRE, stablemate of this season's Arkle Trophy favourite Simonsig, was a brilliant winner of the race, spread-eagling the field to win by seven lengths.

Nicky Henderson's star performer had the bookies running for cover when landing odds of 8/11, with the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card (13/2) his nearest pursuer in second.

As expected it was Cue Card who set the early pace, with Sprinter Sacre and the Paul Nicholls-trained Al Ferof lying handy.

The latter horse took up the running at the top of the hill but the writing was soon on the wall, and a mistake by the Nicholls runner sealed his fate.

At the finish, the Henderson horse cruised up the Cheltenham hill to win going away from Cue Card, who showed plenty of resolution to plug on for a highly commendable second.

2011 Arkle Chase Review

Captain Chris landed a pre-race gamble to beat the fancied Medermit, Ghizao and Finian's Rainbow in the 2011 Irish Independent Arkle at Cheltenham.

The build-up to the 2011 Irish Independent Arkle was dominated by the market leaders, Medermit, Ghizao and Finian's Rainbow but in the end it was the Philip Hobbs trained Captain Chris that stayed on the longest to win the second race of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.

Captain Chris was a late declaration for the prestigious race and it wasn't until Sunday that the owners decided to enter the 7-year-old in this year's Arkle but, with stablemate Wishful Thinking already a strong contender in the Jewson, the horse's owners decided that Tuesday's race was worth a shot:

"The Jewson was really the race for both of them but it's not much fun having two in the same race," said Hobbs. "Two and a half is probably his best trip but they said you need a 2½-miler for the Arkle and so it proved today. He was off the bridle from a long way out."

Captain Chris, who was ridden by Richard Johnson, didn't travel particularly well but his strength and stamina saw off Finian's Rainbow, who finished second, and the disappointing Medermit, who could only finish fourth under Robert Thornton, with Realt Dubh coming third. The well-fancied Ghizao made some jumping errors, which cost him the race.

2010 Arkle Chase Review

Almost exactly two years to the day since he started favourite for the Champion Hurdle, SIZING EUROPE finally secured the Festival win his talent demanded with a commanding performance in the Arkle Challenge Chase.

Jumping and travelling extremely well throughout, the eight year old could be called the winner some way from home and although the victory margin was less than a length, he had been on his own in front since the second last and was possibly idling slightly.

There is no doubt this was a high class renewal and the fierce gallop throughout, combined with the decent ground, will have ensured that the race produced a worthy winner. Given that, next year’s Queen Mother will surely be high on his agenda.

Mad Max was partly responsible for putting the pace to the race and it was his bone crunching mistake two out that left Sizing Europe alone up front. In the circumstances, therefore, he did extremely well to finish fourth, rallying gamely after that error had seemed to put paid to his chances. He comes out of the race with enormous credit and is worth a try over further. He is also very lightly raced and could develop into a King George horse.

The eventual runner up, Somersby, also ran a cracker with the future in mind. He was doing all his best work at the death and given that horses like Kicking King, Kauto Star and War Of Attrition all used this race as a stepping stone to Gold Cup glory it would be no surprise to see this horse follow a similar route. He’d have been even closer here but for a mistake three out.

Another one of the pace setters, Osana, was third. He clearly enjoyed the better ground here and his owner’s decision to switch him from the Pipe yard to a stable in Ireland is all the more puzzling given his clear preference for a decent surface. He bounced off the turf here, but as hard as he tried he simply didn’t have the pace of the winner and lost second place to Somersby in the shadow of the post.

Very few horses managed to get into the race from off the pace, but the one that got closest was Riverside Theatre who ran an extraordinary race. He was seemingly tailing off after a few sloppy leaps early on, and looked certain to pull up, before sprouting wings after jumping the second last and flying up the hill. All his form to date has come on flat tracks and maybe it was the undulations here that inconvenienced him. In any event, he clearly has talent and, given his love of Kempton, he could be another one for the King George shortlist.

Favourite, Captain Cee Bee could never land a blow and it was no surprise to find out after the race that he had burst a blood vessel. He is clearly much better than he showed here, but he is also fragile and, for that reason, perhaps not one to invest too heavily in, ante post, for he is sure to be quoted for next season’s Champion Chase despite this reverse.

Sports Line was also disappointing. He led for much of the race, but pulled too hard and raced too keenly so it was no surprise to see him weaken tamely.

2009 Arkle Chase Review

Probably not a classic Arkle, which perhaps explains the reason for one of the largest fields in recent years and even after the race it is hard not to conclude that the two mile novice division lacks a real stand out performer.

That’s not to take anything away from the winner, FORPADYDEPLASTERER, who battled on gamely after the last to foil the late challenge of Kalahari King.

The winner was fourth in last year’s Ballymore, but has seemed suited by a step back in distance to a strongly run two miles. He is by the same sire as Moscow Flyer, but at this stage it is hard to see him emulating the achievements of that great Champion Chaser.

Time may show Kalahari King to be the pick of this division. He has always travelled like a classy performer in his races and he was probably beaten here as much by the going as the winner. On genuinely good ground he is surely capable of overturning this form. If any horse is to emerge from this race as a challenger to Master Minded it will surely be Ferdy Murphy’s eight year old.

The first two were nicely clear of the remainder. However, Planet Of Sound may have finished closer but for a number of jumping errors (most notably at the first and the eighth). He’s shown a liking for flat courses in his races to date, so this more undulating track may not have played to his strengths.

Made In Taipan ran a cracker in fourth, having taken the field along for much of the way, whilst Tartak did well to finish as close as he did after being badly hampered at the eighth. He is yet to win over two miles, so this was a fine effort.

I'msingingtheblues ran his race but probably wants better ground and a flatter track.

The big disappointment was Calgary Bay, who didn’t jump with any real enthusiasm and failed to show his undoubted raw talent. A step back up in trip will almost certainly be on the cards and it is probably unwise to write him off just yet.

The well supported favourite, Tatenen, got no further than the third.

2008 Arkle Chase Review

There were suspicions before the race that this may have been a below standard renewal of this great race, but all of the best horses were fighting out the finish at the death to suggest the form may work out well in the end.

Indeed the winner, TIDAL BAY, could scarcely have been more impressive, scooting clear turning for home and storming up the hill to register a 13 length success. Given that he is already proven over longer trips (both over hurdles and fences) Howard Johnson’s seven year old would appear to have some future and could either be aimed at the Queen Mother or Gold Cup next year. One thing’s for sure, he loves Cheltenham having never been out of the first two in five visits here, and he is as exciting a young chaser as there has been for a number of seasons.

The rest were playing for places from someway out and it was the ultra game mare, Kruguyrova, who eventually won the battle for second.

As is her custom, she set a searching early pace and it was some effort to re-rally and hold of the attentions of Noland and the others. Lesser horses would have wilted after being left for dead, as she was, by the winner turning for home. Her guts should ensure she is competitive in many good races in the coming years.

Noland was slightly disappointing in third, but there appeared to be no excuses. Given his recent injury problems it fair to assume he might be even better next season with another summer on his back and he seems to be crying out for a step up in trip. Placed horses in this race have a good recent record in the Gold Cup and it isn’t impossible to imagine Noland ending up taking that route next season.

Thyne Again also needs further and can improve again with a step up in trip. He was tapped for toe turning for home here, but stayed on well up the hill.

Mahogany Blaze is better than the bare form of this effort suggests as he jumped poorly throughout, whilst Moon Over Miami is a bit quirky but is good enough to land a big prize on a going day.

Ring The Boss looks likely to retain his novice status for next year and so could easily be back here contesting this race in 2009.

2007 Arkle Chase Review

Over the last few years, the two races that have thrown up the most future Cheltenham champions are the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the Arkle, and this year’s renewal of the race that is named after the legendary chaser may have seen next season’s Gold Cup and Champion Chase winners locking horns.

The winner MY WAY DE SOLZEN has looked like a future Gold Cup winner for some time. That impression was enforced in emphatic fashion here as Alan King’s charge, successful in last year’s World Hurdle, brushed aside concerns about the step back in trip to two miles. He jumps well and has the speed to win over the minimum trip, plus the stamina to win over three miles. It is not surprising, therefore, that his connections believe him to be a star in the making. Although it was disappointing that two of his main rivals fell at the second last, the time he recorded suggests he may still have won on merit.

The two horses to come down, Twist Magic and Don’t Push It were both going extremely well at the time and so it is not surprising that their jockeys looked such dejected figures as their horses carried on up the hill, rider less. We’ll obviously never know what would have happened if they’d both stood up

Of the two casualties, Twist Magic appeared to be travelling best of all. He is only five and is improving all the time. Compensation surely awaits, and whilst the winner and Don’t Push It look sure to be even better when stepped up in trip, Twist Magic looks a real two mile chaser and may be the one to fill the gap left at the top of that division by the recent retirements of Moscow Flyer and Azertyuiop.

Don’t Push It is a giant of a horse and would surely benefit from further and / or softer ground. He, therefore, deserves huge credit for being able to travel so strongly for so long against the best two miler novices around. He is another exciting prospect for next season.

After the melee at the second last it was left to Fair Along and Jack The Giant to chase the winner home.

Runner up, Fair Along, had all sorts of problems in running. He was knocked sideways at the start and was never able to adopt his preferred front running tactics after that. In the circumstances, he did remarkably well to get as close as he did to the winner. However, he is likely to find things tough next year as he isn’t the biggest and will no longer be entitled to the weight for age allowance.

Jack The Giant also ran a cracker in third, just running out of steam up the hill and losing second in the dying strides. Considering he was in the firing line all the way it was a very genuine effort from the Nicky Henderson trained five year old.

By contrast, talented though he is, Fassel showed again that he isn’t one to trust implicitly. He was doing his best work at the finish, when the race was all but over as a contest.

Best of the rest was Another Promise. Running in the same colours as the former top class chaser Strong Promise (after whom he appears to have been named), he looked beforehand like the horse open to the most physical improvement. In the race, he was always travelling nicely out the back, but just struggled for a change of gear when the leaders quickened turning for home. He has already won over two miles and three miles plus, and on ground ranging from good to firm, to soft. He has also taken on and beaten more experienced rivals in handicaps. He is surely, therefore, one to follow and, given his trainer’s excellent recent record with chasers at the Festival, he could even develop into a lively Gold Cup outsider this time next year.

2006 Arkle Chase Review

This had been billed as one of the races of the Festival and it didn’t disappoint. Interestingly, as with the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the finish was fought out by two horses who had previously both been at their best on soft ground, suggesting that the going was more testing than first thought.

VOY POR USTEDES was an impressive winner in the end, and he and the runner-up, Monet’s Garden had the race to themselves from someway out. Given that, and the fact that there didn’t appear to be any excuses for any of the more fancied runners in behind, there is every reason to believe that this was a top class performance.

Monet’s Garden was giving the winner a five pound allowance which makes him fractionally the better horse at the weights. However, Voy Por Ustedes was seemingly well in command at the finish and his extra speed probably told in the end. He is also a very fast, fluent jumper which should stand him in good stead when he goes for the two mile crown next season.

Monet’s Garden is far less experienced over fences than his conqueror and would have been suited by softer ground, making his effort all the more meritorious. He’ll no doubt be stepped up in trip next year and the last two Gold Cup winners had both been beaten in this race in their novice season.

Foreman ran well back in third. Many of the races at the Festival seemed to fall to horses who were up with the pace from a long way out and this hold up performer was never able to get competitive with the front two. This may prove to be as good as he is.

In hindsight, Don’t Be Shy ran a good race in fourth, given the troubles his stable had at the meeting, whilst neither Racing Demon nor Missed That had enough pace to get into contention. They are both likely to be aimed at the Gold Cup as well next year.

It was a shame Accordian Etolie fell so early, but as things worked out the ground may not have been quick enough for him. He’ll have other days.

Bookmakers generally make Voy Por Ustedes an 8-1 chance for the Champion Chase next year and Monet’s Garden 25-1 for the Gold Cup.

Roll of Honour (1946-1988)

(recent winners detailed towards top of page)

Cotswold Chase before 1969

1988 Danish Flight 9-11-08 Mark Dwyer Jimmy FitzGerald 11/2

1987 Gala’s Image 7-11-08 Richard Linley Mercy Rimell 25/1

1986 Oregon Trail 6-11-08 Ronnie Beggan Simon Christian 14/1

1985 Boreen Prince 8-11-08 Niall Madden Andrew McNamara IRE 15/2

1984 Bobsline 8-11-08 Frank Berry Francis Flood IRE 5/4F

1983 Ryeman 6-11-08 Alan Brown Peter Easterby 16/1

1982 The Brockshee 7-11-08 Tommy Carberry Arthur Moore IRE 12/1

1981 Clayside 7-11-08 Alan Brown Peter Easterby 5/2F

1980 Anaglogs Daughter 7-11-08 Tommy Carberry Bill Durkan IRE 9/4

1979 Chinrullah 7-11-08 Dessie Hughes Mick O’Toole IRE 10/11F

1978 Alverton 8-11-08 Graham Thorner Peter Easterby 5/2

1977 Tip The Wink 7-11-08 Dessie Hughes Pat Taylor 15/2

1976 Roaring Wind 8-11-08 Reg Crank Roy Cambidge 11/1

1975 Broncho II 6-11-11 Colin Tinkler Tony Dickinson 8/1

1974 Canasta Lad 8-11-11 Jeff King Peter Bailey 2/1F

1973 Denys Adventure 8-12-01 Graham Thorner Tim Forster 8/1

1972 Pendil 7-12-01 Richard Pitman Fred Winter 10/11F

1971 Alpheus 6-11-08 Eddie Wright Tom Dreaper IRE 15/1

1970 Soloning 5-11-00 Paul Kelleway Fred Winter 4/1

1969 Chatham 5-11-00 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell 10/1

1968 The Hustler 6-11-12 Barry Brogan Earl Jones 20/1

1967 Arctic Stream 7-12-02 Ben Hannon P Rooney IRE 8/1

1966 Arctic Sunset 6-12-06 George Milburn Ken Oliver 3/1

1965 Flyingbolt 6-12-04 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 4/9F

1964 Greektown 8-11-08 Michael Scudamore Willie Stephenson 13/2

1963 Ben Stack 6-12-01 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 13/8F

1962 Prudent Barney 8-12-01 Johnny East Bobby Renton 20/1

1961 Mountcashel King 6-12-04 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 2/5F

1960 Mazurka 6-11-12 Ron Harrison Ron Smyth 10/1

1959 Flame Gun 8-12-04 Fred Winter Charlie Mallon 7/2

1958 Fortria 6-12-01 Tom Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 7/2

1957 Ballyatom 5-11-04 Mr Bob McCreery George Beeby 8/1

1956 Sir Ken 9-12-03 Tim Molony Willie Stephenson 5/4F

1955 Manuscrit 5-11-00 Johnny Bullock Fulke Walwyn 10/1

1954 Armorial III 5-11-05 Rene Emery Fulke Walwyn 7/2F

1953 Bramble Tudor 5-11-12 Tim Molony Stewart Wight 11/4

1952 Nautical Print 5-11-00 Tommy Cusack Gerry Wilson 6/1

1951 Red Steel 5-11-00 Dick Francis Frank Cundell 4/1F

1950 High Level 5-11-04 Johnny Bullock Fred Rimell 9/2

1949 Grand Refrain 5-11-05 Glen Kelly Bobby Norris 9/4F

1948 Top Cash 6-12-05 Glen Kelly Bobby Norris 3/1

1947 No race (abandoned due to snow and frost)

1946 Bright Penny 6-11-12 Glen Kelly Bobby Norris 5/1


Race Name:

Run at:

Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park  Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 4SH, United Kingdom


The Arkle (2.05) is considered the Champion Chase for novices and is run over two miles.  The contest is open to horses aged five old and upwards. The form book is often a good guide to the race and shocks in the Arkle are few and far between.  After such a stern examination, it is probably not surprising that the winner of the race almost invariably goes on to take top rank amongst the countries’ leading two mile chasers. Flagship Uberalles, Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop and Voy Por Ustedes are just a few of the horses who have gone on from winning this race in recent years to win a subsequent renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase.


12 March 2013


14:05 PM

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