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Arkle Challenge Trophy 2016 Result
Tue, Mar 15th, 2016

2016 Arkle Challlenge Trophy Result

DOUVAN IS SHORTEST-PRICED ARKLE WINNER EVER

Douvan, ridden by Ruby Walsh, gave trainer Willie Mullins his 42nd Festival winner when taking the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy by an impressive seven lengths.

It was Mullins' second consecutive win in the race, following Un De Sceaux's 2015 victory.

Six-year-old Douvan has only been beaten once in his career - on his first start in his native France. At 1/4, he is the shortest-priced Arkle winner in the race's history, and one of eight odds-on shots to take the two-mile contest.

Mullins said: "It's fantastic to get on the board. Hopefully he'll just keep winning.

"Where do you go next? You'd think about the Champion Chase, of course. I wouldn't have had any problem with supplementing him for the Champion Hurdle this year, but he stays as well - and he settles. He could be - he is - a Gold Cup horse.

"I thought they were going too slow, but I said that's fine, he's got plenty of speed, and as he kept going on one pace the others started falling off the back and I said he is just going a quicker pace than they are. He did that little thing at the last but it didn't seem to bother him and he just sprinted up the hill. We think he could be anything and he hasn't disproved that there.

"Min [second in the previous race, the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle] ran a terrific race - I think it was a second over record time on that ground. That's as good as he is.

Douvan and Min's owner Rich Ricci, for whom the Racing Post Arkle was a ninth Festival success, said: "Douvan is a monster - I don't know how else to describe him, he was so easy. I watched that race - I never watch them but he is that good, even I can watch him. He stood a long way off at the last and gave me a little bit of a fright but he is something else.

"He could be really special and he is such a lovely horse. For such a big horse, he is such a great athlete. It's nice to get one on the board and that was some way to do it.

"He has always pleased us. He is very, very, very exciting. Willie has said that he is the best he has ever had and he is certainly the best that we have had. Hopefully he can keep doing it and stay sound - that's the important bit. He is so quick, effortless, a sort of shrug of the shoulders and over a fence. He is so quick from the back of his fences without looking it. He just seems to have everything."

'DOUVAN COULD BE ANYTHING' SAYS WALSH

Mighty Douvan, as tall as he is talented, romped to an easy win in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, maintaining his unbeaten run.

Sent off the 1/4 favourite, the Ruby Walsh-ridden winner - a 46th at The Festival for its most successful jockey - proved too strong for Sizing John, who finished second, beaten seven lengths, with Fox Norton back in third.

Walsh said of the winner, who is trained by Willie Mullins for Susannah Ricci: "Willie's not one to jump up and down about a horse, but this fellow does everything so easily at home. He's a brilliant work horse and has always shown a great mentality.

"He is so clever over a jump, and makes jumping fences feel like hurdles - he only lifts his shoulders and front end, while his back end stays very straight and flat. He wastes no time in the air. He has a huge amount of natural ability. I didn't have to ask him to jump a fence until the second-last, and that was only getting into the board and getting over the fence - Vaniteux [who fell at the penultimate fence when lying second] joined me on the bend, and while I know that horse fell I feel Douvan would have settled it in the air.

"Halfway down the hill I felt we hadn't gone fast enough, but then I wasn't afraid that we would be beaten in a sprint because he has so many gears. He has such a stride I could probably have let him go quicker, but we still have Punchestown to come so it is good to keep something for then.

"I'd imagine there is more to come, because he's only run four times over fences.

"He was like a gate last year, with nothing on him, but he's really muscled up and could strengthen again. I'm not saying he will, but he could - he's more than 17.1 hands high, so he's a big horse. Put it this way, it's a long way down off him."

And when asked if he could be a Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup horse one day, Walsh replied: "He could be anything."

1) Douvan (Susannah Ricci) Willie Mullins IRE 6-11-04 Ruby Walsh 1/4 Fav
2) Sizing John (Ann & Alan Potts Partnership) Henry de Bromhead IRE 6-11-04 Johnny Burke 9/1
3) Fox Norton (B Dunn) Neil Mulholland 6-11-04 Richard Johnson 33/1

Distances: 7, 3¾
42nd win at The Festival for trainer Willie Mullins
46th win at The Festival for jockey Ruby Walsh (all-time most successful jockey at The Festival)
9th win at The Festival for owner Susannah Ricci

SIZING SECOND

Sizing John was beaten by 1/4 favourite Douvan for the fifth time in his career when finishing the seven length runner-up in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham this afternoon.

The 9/1 shot was third behind Douvan in last year's Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle but went one better at The Festival this time around, staying on strongly up the hill to claim second spot, three and three quarter lengths ahead of Fox Norton.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead was in a reflective mood following the race but was happy enough that he had decided to take on the runaway winner again.

"He's run a good race and I'm delighted with him," said the trainer.

"We're sick of the sight of Douvan but there you go. The winner is obviously a very good horse so there's no shame in finishing second.

"I was happy with the way he jumped and the way he travelled and I'd have no problem in taking Douvan on again - he seems to be getting closer to him with every run which is encouraging.

"He seems to travel over here well enough so we'll have a look at Aintree but Punchestown is also an option."

After the race both Vaniteux and Baltimore Rock and their riders Nico de Boinville and Noel Fehily, who fell at the second last, were reported to have all walked away unscathed.

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Pre race Preview

Un De Sceaux gave Ruby Walsh a welcome Festival Chase winner in this race in 2015. Walsh had been frustrated in he 2014 Arkle Trophy Chase when Western Warhorse under Tom Scudamore just edging favourite Champagne Fever on the line. The 2014 result re-established an old pattern. Although the favourites in 2012 and 2013 had won, the prior record on the market leader has been poor. Just 2 of the previous 18 favourites had been victorious. With Un De Sceaux winning in 2015 though three of the last four favourites have now won and Douvan is considered this weeks banker by many observers.

Arkle Challenge Trophy Stats 2004-2016

  • Only 3 of the last 12 and 5 of the last 22 favourites have been victorious. ( but all 3 in the last 4 years !)
  • 10 of the last 12 won last time out.
  • 9 of the last 12 winners have come from the first three in the market.
  • 9 of the last 12 winners had their prep run between 17 and 52 days before the race.
  • 10 of the last 11 winner won or were second in their prep race.
  • Sizing Europe had an 80 day break before winning the race as an 8 year old in 2003.
  • Apart from Sizing Europe all other winners since 2003 were aged between 5 and 7.
  • Only Azertyuiop has made most of the running since Analogs Daughter won in 1980.

Arkle Trophy Chase Winners 2006-2015

Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Trivia

The late David Johnson is the most succesful owner with four winners - Or Royal (1997), Champleve (1998), Well Chief (2004) and Contraband (2005).

Tom Dreaper is the joint most successful trainer of all time with five victories - Fortria (1958), Mountcashel King (1961), Ben Stack (1963), Flyingbolt (1965) and Alpheus (1971).Nicky Henderson equaled Dreaper's record in 2013 he currently has trained Remittance Man (1991), Travado (1993), Tiutchev (2000), Sprinter Sacre (2012) and Simonsig (2013) .

The most successful jockey is Barry Geraghty with 4 winsGlen Kelly, Pat Taaffe, Jamie Osborne, and A P (Tony) McCoy are jockeys with three wins each.The longest-priced winner was Gala's Image, successful at 25/1 in 1987.

The shortest-priced winner came in 2013 when Simonsig was returned at 8/15. In 2012 Sprinter Sacre was returned at 8/11. In the 66 runnings since 1946, a total of 16 favourites (24 per cent) have prevailed.

The overall breakdown by age of winners since 1945 is 5yo - 14 wins, 6yo - 19 wins, 7yo - 19 wins, 8yo - 12 wins, 9yo - 2 wins

The nine year old winners were Sir Ken (1956) and Danish Flight (1988).

Alverton is the only horse to have won both the Racing Post Arkle Chase and Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The race is a good pointer to the Queen Mother Champion Chase with the following Arkle winners doubling up;  2012 Sprinter Sacre ( Champion Chase Winner 2013), 2010 Sizing Europe (Champion Chase winner 2011), 2006 Voy Por Ustedes (Champion Chase winner 2007), 2003 Azertyuiop ( Champion Chase winner 2004), 2002 Moscow Flyer (Champion Chase winner 2003 & 2005),1999 Flagship Uberalles (Champion Chase winner 2002), 1995 Klairon Davis (Champion Chase winner 1996), 1991 Remittance Man (Champion Chase winner 1992)

Cheltenham Festival Race Stats and Trends

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