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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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Starting Gate

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1 Casual Cavalier7/2

2 Alf 'n' Dor8/1

3 Knocknamona9/4

4 Nobel Leader16/1

5 Bajardo25/1

6 Loch Garman Aris5/1

7 Hands Of Stone9/2

doncaster Owlerton Greyhound Stadium Novices' Hurdle3m - £4094 - Good

1 Nadaitak1/3

2 Ratfacemcdougall11/4

3 Sharp Reply20/1

cheltenham Neville Lumb Novices' Chase3m 1f 56y - £15475 - Good

1 Ibis Du Rheu9/2

2 Lil Rockerfeller5/2

3 The Worlds End11/8

4 Gunfleet4/1

bangor-on-dee Alfa Aggregate Products Golden Spurs Handicap Chase3m - £7343 - Soft (Good to Soft in places)

1 Samuel Jackson11/4

2 Same Circus4/1

3 Sparkling River10/1

4 Early Retirement9/2

5 Justforjames18/1

6 Billy Bronco9/2

7 Achille11/2

doncaster Yorkshire Building Services Novices' Chase2m 3f 31y - £4614 - Good

1 Pacific De Baune8/13

2 Barton Knoll16/1

3 Gowiththeflow6/4

cheltenham Catesby Handicap Hurdle2m - £9747 - Good

1 A Hare Breath14/1

2 Champagne City28/1

3 Highest Sun9/1

4 Smaoineamh Alainn9/4

5 Al Dancer7/2

6 Magic Dancer8/1

7 Shalakar20/1

8 Not That Fuisse6/1

9 Master Work16/1

10 Jam Session11/1

11 Ninepointsixthree22/1

bangor-on-dee Garla Services Ltd Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle2m - £3119 - Soft (Good to Soft in places)

1 The Herds Garden9/2

2 Catchin Time5/2

3 Sarpech14/1

4 Sporty Yankee33/1

5 The Crazed Moon13/8

6 Bonjour Steve11/1

7 Okmyway40/1

8 Rock N'stones12/1

doncaster IFS Risk Solutions Handicap Hurdle2m 3f 88y - £6238 - Good

1 Charming Zen5/1

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3 Card Game17/2

4 Kk Lexion7/2

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