Willie Mullins has won three of the last five renewals of this race and Footpad looks like his best chance of a winner on day one of the Festival.
Five of the last six renewals of the Arkle have been won by either Henderson or Mullins and both those trainers are represented this year with the latter having the stronger chance with FOOTPAD who has plenty of Festival experience having placed twice over hurdles at the track.
He’s seeming improved over fences having won all his chase starts, jumping in a fast and fluent manner. Here he comes up against his old foe Petit Mouchoir who finished in front of him when they met in the Champion Hurdle but it was the Mullins horse who reversed the form when they met in Ireland last time winning by 5L.
Connections of Petit Mouchoir will be keen to point out that their charge may well have needed that run but he will have to take the preliminaries well given he’s had a tendency to misbehave in the past.
The British challenge is headed by Saint Calvados with this French import putting his unbeaten fencing record on the line having been particularly impressive when landing a Grade 2 at Warwick last time by 22L. The ground should very much be to his liking and this exciting front-running chaser could be tough to catch if he gets free on the lead.
Henderson runs Brain Power who came up just short of top class over hurdles but has been disappointing on his last couple of chase starts. The seven-year-old looks largely reliant on wind surgery to spark a change of fortunes.
Article Posted on Monday 12th March 2018 @ 14.30
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