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2014 Arkle Chase tips - Grandouet to bounce back in style at Cheltenham

Nick takes a look at one of the highlights on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival - the 2014 Arkle Chase.

The Arkle has gone the way of some formidable horses in recent years and Champagne Fever has been at the head of the ante post betting for the contest for some time.

Willie Mullins’ 2012 Champion Bumper and 2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero will be looking for a hat-trick of victories at the Festival and his backers will be hoping that he shows the same courage and class in 2014.  Not seen since finishing a disappointing third in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leoaprdstown over Christmas, the money still coming for the favourite speaks volumes and connections are obviously convinced he is now back to his best.

If that is the case then he is going to be a tough nut to crack but a high class field will take him on and a number of former classy hurdlers will make life very difficult for the Irish raider.

Paul Nicholls’ Dodging Bullets, Charles Byrne’s Trifolium and Harry Fry’s Rock On Ruby will all be popular, but a chance is worth taking on Nicky Henderson’s GRANDOUET who has more than enough talent to win the Arkle.

The Grade One-winning hurdler has lost a lot of admirers since he made the switch to the larger obstacles this season, but there are plenty of reasons to think that he can return to his best at Prestbury Park.

After jumping well and unseating on his debut at Sandown, Grandouet returned to the course and was unlucky not to land the Grade One Henry VIII on Tingle Creek day.  After jumping impressively all the way around he smashed into the second last fence and handed the race to Paul Nicholls’ Hinterland. The way he travelled in the race is worth remembering and it was also pleasing to see him battle back to almost collar the eventual winner close home.

A ten length defeat at the hands of Dodging Bullets last time came in heavy ground and although he has handled it in the past, he looks much happier on a sounder surface.  Connections were also of the belief that something else might have been the problem and it would be foolish to write him off on the back of that display.

Henderson now believes that he has Grandouet where he wants him and he can return to form and live up to his hype with a sensational display in the Arkle.

Nick Wilby’s selection – GRANDOUET 


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2014 Arkle Chase tips - Grandouet to bounce back in style at Cheltenham

Nick takes a look at one of the highlights on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival - the 2014 Arkle Chase.

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