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Ginger Joe - Cheltenham 2024 – Arkle Chase Preview & Video

Publish Date: 04/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • A close look at the Arkle Chase
  • Exclusive Mikey O'Sullivan interview
  • An Irish banker and an each way British hope

Time for the two-mile Novices - The Arkle Chase

I’m moving on to the Arkle Chase for this preview, which is a race that has some very divided opinions since Marine Nationale’s controversial flop in the Irish Arkle. Personally, I remain very optimistic about his chances though.

Overall, the field is pretty much dominated by Irish Novices, but there is a British hope in there that could well go under the radar for betting purposes and I think we are in for a fascinating race.

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The Arkle Chase 2m – Tuesday 12 March – Preview and predictions

The Arkle Chase is always one of my favourite races of the Cheltenham Festival and the betting has this is an open race, but in my opinion, there is one horse that on his day, is the best in this field.

Marine Nationale

I’m sure you don’t need reminding that the Barry Connell-trained Marine Nationale won last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he showed an electric turn of foot that day. He was also very good on his Chase debut, as far as the visuals go anyway. He didn’t beat anything notable, but he won from the front in good fashion.

But what was most impressive about his debut over fences, was the fact he jumped arrow straight and hardly touched a twig the whole way round. It was a fantastic display of jumping for a Chase debutant and he just cruised all the way round to victory. Unfortunately, he disappointed when hot favourite at the Dublin Racing Festival DRF and punters have been quick to write him off.

But here's what jockey Mikey O’Sullivan has to say about Marine Nationale ahead of his bid in the Arkle:

“If we get him there in the same form he was last year, he’ll take all the beating…”

Mikey also went on to say that the ground seemed a bit “dead and gluey” at Dublin and that he hopes for “nicer” ground at Cheltenham to see Marine Nationale "get back to his Christmas form."

So, from that we can deduce that the issue is the ground - basically, he won’t want the ground too soft, because it doesn’t bring out his best credentials. Although he has won Grade 1s over Hurdles on soft going, it’s a whole different ball game over the bigger obstacles. Anyway, I’m happy to draw a line through his DRF performance and for me, Marine Nationale remains the one to beat in the Arkle Chase.

Video exclusive – Mikey O’Sullivan on Marine Nationale

Video: MIKEY O'SULLIVAN ON MARINE NATIONALE | Ginger Joe Racing | Betting.co.uk

MIKEY O'SULLIVAN ON MARINE NATIONALE | Ginger Joe Racing | Betting.co.uk

Il Etait Temps

Il Etait Temps has perhaps been the surprise package of this season. He finished fifth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year, but has since won two of his three Chase starts which now includes the Grade 1 Irish Arkle at the DRF, where he was very gutsy at the finish to fend off Found A Fifty for the Gordon Elliott team.

His only loss, was at Limerick in December, where he came second to Gaelic Warrior, so he was by no means digraced. Il Etait Temps He has to go into the Arkle with a decent chance based on his progression this season, but I don’t know if he is totally suited to the Cheltenham track, which might just find him out once again.

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Found A Fifty

I think that Found A Fifty, who was just touched off in the Irish Arkle, is the biggest danger to the favourite. I have been very impressed with his progress and I believe he is particularly well-suited to Cheltenham, so more could be expected from him.

I think for him to have his best chance this year, he will need to be held on to until as late as possible, so he can use his evident turn of foot to best effect in the later stages. His jumping has improved with every run, and Found A Fifty ought to be there or thereabouts at the finish.

Quixilios

Next up we have Quilixios, for the Henry De Bromhead team, and he really is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to this race. He won the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and is only just starting to show his class again, having won at Limerick, after being off the racetrack for more than 600 days.

He disappointed on his second start at Punchestown, when he was upped to three miles, but personally I’d draw a line through that performance, as the trip was a complete unknown. To prove the point, he immediately bounced back to win over two miles next time out at Naas, and in good fashion. I’m not totally sure what he’s capable of come next week, but as I see it, he goes to Cheltenham with an outside chance.

JPR One

Then finally we have the main British hope in the name of JPR One. Now, JPR One is a fantastic jumper of a fence, he is straight and is likely to give his best running here again. I personally think JPR One lacks a touch of class for this race, but he is there to pick up the pieces should any of his rivals falter along the way.

The whole point is, he’s solid. He won’t mind what pace they go; he is a fantastic jumper and does very little wrong. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him pick up some decent prize money here, I just don’t think he quite has enough to win an Arkle.

My Arkle Chase prediction

My prediction for the outcome of the Arkle Chase sees Marine Nationale ahead of Found A Fifty, with JPR One a tentative each way shot in third place.

  1. Marine Nationale
  2. Found A Fifty
  3. JPR One

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