The Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is shaping up to be one of the best races at next years National Hunt showpiece in March. On Saturday we saw another major contender put in a really top performance from a novice chaser in Somersby trained by Henrietta Knight who beat the Emma Lavelle trained contender Crack Away Jack.
In another top quality weekends action the Henry VIII novices chase at Sandown was one of the best trials for this years Arkle and Somersby jumped his rivals into submission ridden by leading jockey Tony McCoy. This race was run two seconds faster than the Tingle Creek and while we should not read to much into this, what it does demonstrate is that this was a quality performance.
Going into the race Crack Away Jack was the favourite but he just did not jump as well as the winner and it will be interesting to see if he can reverse his three length defeat come March.
The Arkle Chase is shaping up nicely with Sizing Europe at the head of the market and the Paul Nicholls trained Tataniano is next in the betting. With the bookies going 5/1 the field at this point in the ante post Arkle market, this just highlights how potentially open this race is and it will be one of the big betting heats of the festival.