One of the highlights on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is the Arkle Trophy and trainer Alan King looks to hold the aces in a race he won in 2006 and 2007.
King and jockey Choc Thronton scored in the race with Voy Por Ustedes (2006) and My Way de Solzen (2007) and they could be on the verge of landing a hat-trick of victories with classy hurdle recruit Medermit.
The 3/1 market leader has been on an upward curve ever since he took the larger obstacles and his latest victory in the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown was proof that he is ready to mix it with the best chasers in the business.
The grey seven-year-old has won three of his five starts over fences and he looks to posses all the speed and stamina required to win the two-mile showpiece. The decision to tackle the Arkle looks to be a shrewd one with the distance looking right up Medermit’s street and after looking slightly ‘novicey’ when he first went chasing, his jumping now looks assured.
It is worth noting that Medermit is the only horse at the forefront of the market that is yet to surpass his high hurdles rating over fences and with more to come from King’s stable star, he could be seriously difficult to beat at Prestbury Park. His trainer is bullish about the superstar’s chances and he had no problems revealing that he believed he was his best chance at the Festival.
If Medermit blows his chance in a far from vintage renewal of the race, Nicky Henderson’s Finian’s Rainbow could be the horse to capitalize, though his jumping will have to improve if he is going to negotiate two miles around Cheltenham and Paul Nicholls’ Ghizao will have plenty of followers after an impressive season under the guidance of his legendary trainer.
Nick Wilby’s selection - Medermit 3/1