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2012 Arkle Challenge Betting Preview Part One


Only a select few of this year's emerging 2m chasers are even bothering to attempt a go at Sprinter Sacre in the 2012 Arkle Challenge Trophy. The contest remains in its usual position as the 2nd race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.


While last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle remains the only real blemish on Sprinter Sacre's relatively pristine record (a second place finish at Ascot in a novice hurdle being the other miss), it has been the manner of his victories that's prompted the bookmakers to smash him all the way down to 8/11 or 4/6 depending on who you're wagering with.

Sprinter Sacre, in his three efforts during the present National Hunt season, has won by a combined 46 lengths with two of those races coming against Grade 2 company. It's been tough to get a price on him but he has emerged as a best friend for punters since making the switch over from hurdling. Nicky Henderson will have him sharp for this one and, with an utter lack of the annual over-hyped juvenile in the Supreme Novices, he's going to get absolutely hammered on the day.

If you're going to bet Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle you best do it now because the money isn't going anywhere else, frankly.

Each-way bets and place bets are where it's at for this one because we've only got a ten-horse field but we're paying three places and maybe even an extra depending on the bookmaker.

At the time of this writing, Al Ferof is the only other contender other than Sprinter Sacre to boast an odds-on price in the antepost market. Both Cue Card and Menorah look to present an outside chance with Cue Card just getting the edge over Philip Hobbs charge, albeit by a small margin. Anybody looking to play either of these is really looking to beat Al Ferof and if he finishes outside the top three we could have some really solid payouts for what is, effectively, a 3/10 roll of the dice at the very least. Over ground that may not be as settled and predictable as it is likely to be later on in the festival, a roll of the dice on an outside place wager could be the smartest move of the day for many.

Blackstarmountain trades at around 4 for the place on the exchanges. He comes in off a tough beat at |Leopardstown back in January but really looks like he just didn't fire and he maybe needed more than the 30 days or so he got between races. He came home 29 lengths back last time and that's why you're getting a good price on him. Previous Cheltenham efforts have been forgettable though but the seven-year-old is improved and showing flash over hurdles. Leave it to Willy Mullins, they say.