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Superstar Altior Hard To Resist In Ante Post Arkle Market

Thursday 19th January 2017

Few days on the sporting calendar can match the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and the Arkle Chase over 2m is one of the clear highlights of the fixture. Nestled after the Supreme Novices Hurdle, it brings together the best of the best when it comes to the 2m novice chasers, and more often than not we get to see a winner of the highest quality.

Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Tidal Bay, Sizing Europe, Sprinter Sacre and Douvan are recent winners that roll off the tongue, and this year's renewal is looking equally exciting. We may still be eight weeks out from the race itself but already it is shaping up to be one of the hottest contests of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

Altior v Min - The Rematch

This time last year we were building up towards a clash between ALTIOR and Min in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, and we are in exactly the same position today ahead of the Arkle.

Clearly the two best novice hurdlers over 2m, the pair of them have continued that dominance on either side of the Irish Sea over fences. Both have gone through the season unbeaten so far and both have looked naturals over the bigger obstacles.

It was Altior who clearly got the better of Min in the Supreme last year, and so far the Nicky Henderson trained in-mate is yet to come off the bridle in three fairly facile wins this term. His six length win over Charbel in the Henry VIII Novices Chase was perhaps the beat piece of form to-date and we can expect more from the horse.

In general, his jumping has been excellent bar one or two sketchy efforts, as you would expect from a novice, and it is impossible to argue with his position at the head of the ante-post Arkle Chase market.

Altior absolutely deserves to be the 5/4 favourite for the race but he does face a major challenge from across the Irish Sea.

Rumours across social media continue to suggest that Min wasn't quite right for the Supreme when he was well beaten by Altior, and only time will tell if can indeed give a better account of himself. The Rich Ricci owned animal has swept all before him over in Ireland this term with his jumping very much taking the eye.

Min is a credible threat to the favourite here and with his current price of 3/1 with Paddy Power sure to contract further, we could be set for another famous Cheltenham duel.

Punters Likely To Struggle For Each Way Value

Altior and Min look to have this race between them but many punters will be looking for an each-way play at a bigger priced.

It won't be easy though with Buveur D'Air (14/1) and Yorkhill (12/1) both likely to take in the JLT instead, despite having the ability to be major players down at 2m.

Cloudy Dream (25/1) is a lovely jumper of a fence and absolutely deserves to take his chance here for Malcolm Jefferson. A winner of two low quality races at Carlisle and Haydock, he wasn't disgraced last time out when beaten by Buveur D'Air, and he could well run on into a place at Cheltenham if conditions fell in his favour.

Top Notch (25/1) would be a more than useful second string for Nicky Henderson and he too will have his supporters at a big price. His Champion Hurdle 5th place highlights his class, and although he has proven to be just below top top quality, he might be an each-way play for some.

Henry De Bromhead has worked wonders with Some Plan (25/1) this season and he too has to enter the each-way frame for the Arkle. A winner of two good races this term, the Roger Brookhouse owned horse fell when running a big race at Cheltenham back in November and he is a solid horse.

Age is against him with the last 9YO winner of the race coming back in 1988 and despite the fact he does add depth to the field, Some Plan does clearly lack the class of the top two.

Altior To Make It 2-0

Min has looked excellent over fences this season but the bare form doesn't lie and he has seven lengths to find with Altior. Ok, he may have had a slight injury last season but punters backing the Willie Mullins horse based on that rumour are far braver than me.

Altior has the look of something very special indeed, and there is an argument to suggest that even his current price of 5/4 with Ladbrokes is a juicy one.

What price would Altior be if he was trained by Willie Mullis and owned by Rich Ricci?

Top Notch makes appeal from an each-way perspective, but it is the Seven Barrows first string that can claim a 6th win in the race for Nicky Henderson.

Selection - Altior to win @ 5/4f* with Ladbrokes

*Price right at the time of writing

Latest Arkle Chase Betting - Click To Bet

Kalashnikov 5/1
Mengli Khan 12/1
Claimantakinforgan 12/1
Melon 12/1
Laurina 16/1
Paloma Blue 16/1
Vision Des Flos 20/1
Marias Benefit 20/1
Summerville Boy 20/1
Getabird 20/1
Defi Du Seuil 25/1
Jenkins 25/1
Slate House 33/1
Leoncavallo 66/1
Each Way Terms 3

Odds correct as of 10th Apr, 13:30 . Odds are subject to change.
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