The Arkle Challenge Trophy is a fixture on day 1 at the Cheltenham Festival and has often proved to be one of the more exciting races each year. The 2009 renewal was an absolute classic with Forpadydeplasterer edging out Kalahari King in a close finish and a repeat of that excitement in 2010 would be more than welcomed. It is the second race of the entire Festival after the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and will be a big betting event as always with three well backed contenders taking their places in 2010.
The market for the Arkle Challenge Trophy is headed up by the 2008 Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Captain Cee Bee, the Edward Harty trained horse loves it round Cheltenham and will go close if his jumping is sound. He has been in cracking form this season with two wins on his record and has looked in great shape each time. He did come unstuck once when he fell at Leopardstown when going head-to-head with another Irish contender in Sizing Europe. On the day Captain Cee Bee was travelling much the better and most believe he would have taken the win had he not taken the fall. Sizing Europe though is a top horse in his own right and needs to be taken seriously in the Arkle Challenge Trophy Odds. He has won his last four on the bounce for trainer Henry De Bromhead who is brimming with confidence, he looked set to be defeated by Captain Cee Bee but crucially managed to stay on his feet which will stand him in good stead around Cheltenham.
Its not all about the Irish in the Arkle this year with the British charge being led by the excellent looking Somerbsy who heads to the Cheltenham Festival with great claims. The Henrietta Knight trained horse has won both of his two starts this season in extremely impressive fashion and many believe he is capable of taking out the top Irish duo. He has not been seen since December which may be a slight worry for his punters but connections are pleased with him and he looks to have really good claims in this one. Another one that we like is Sports Line for Willie Mullins who looks to have good claims at a long price, top jockey Ruby Walsh will be on board and he looks to have at least an each/way chance in the Arkle. He was second last time out at Leopardstown in January and being lightly raced is entitled to improve at Cheltenham which may put him in the frame. We do though take the winner to come from the top three in the betting with Captain Cee Bee the justifiable favourite as he goes for his second Cheltenham Festival win.