The Cheltenham Festival may only be a matter of days away now but we must wait a few days more to find out if top hurdler Starluck will take in the Arkle Chase this season. The Alan Fleming horse made his debut over fences at Huntingdon yesterday in the Wetherbys Novice Chase and duly hacked up to leave connections with a tough decision on their hands. Starluck has been switched to fences midway through the season after a good hurdling career but it remains to be seen whether the Arkle may have come a little too soon for him. Trainer Alan Fleming and connections have the choice of going straight to the Arkle at the Festival or giving him another run with Aintree and Punchestown later on in April still a possibility. There is no doubt that Starluck has the class to run well in the Arkle with a mark of 160 to his name over hurdles, if he does take his chance at Cheltenham he will be the highest rated hurdler in the field.
It is clear that Starluck has the ability to run well in the Arkle and that is reflected in the latest betting with the horse currently a general 10/1 shot for the race, the doubt about him is whether or not he can handle the hustle and bustle of an Arkle on just his second start over fences. Hurdlers with a high rating do have a good record in the Arkle Chase in recent years which will make Starluck a tempting bet, while the same can be said of Medermit who himself was a 158 rated hurdler last season. Starluck started the season over hurdles but after coming up short against the very best in the Champion Hurdle division he has been switched to fences at this late stage of the season. The Arkle is looking like one of the most open races at the Cheltenham Festival this season with Finians Rainbow and Ghizao joining Medermit at the top of the market with the race approaching. Punters and bookmakers have been struggling to split the trio all season and should Starluck be confirmed for the race he will add a fascinating fourth angle to an already intriguing betting heat.