On the trends last year, only Duc Des Genievres, Us And Them and Paloma Blue made the Arkle Novices' Chase shortlist, with Duc Des Genievres going on to record a first Cheltenham Festival win by 13 lengths.
The Willie Mullins-trained star quietly stood out on trends ticking all the 'Top 5' trends with his commanding Gowran Park beginners' chase win last time out.
More importantly, he had been fifth at the Cheltenham Festival over hurdles a year earlier and was lining up fit, but not over-raced.
Us And Them was stablemate Le Richebourg's default when that ante-post favourite was ruled out of the race.
He had chased him home in two of the ‘Key Races’ (see below) - the Grade 1 Irish Arkle at Leopardstown and the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at the same track - having previously won a chase racing left-handed, and also run at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Paloma Blue hit a lot of trends for the Arkle, winning impressively last time out in a beginners chase at Leopardstown and finishing fourth in the 2018 Supreme Novices' Hurdle. He went on to be sixth, fitting the 'Place Trends' well.
The last 15 winners…
The last 10 winners…
Nine of the last 10 winners…
Eight of the last 10 winners…
29/29 placed horses
28/29 placed horses
27/29 placed horses
(Last Graded race contested prior to the Arkle Novices Chase)
|Key Race||Racecourse||Winners||Place Finishers|
|Irish Arkle (G1)||Leopardstown||Footpad (2018), Douvan (2016), Un Des Sceaux (2015)||Us And Them (2019), Trifolium (2014), Realt Dubh (2011)|
|Game Spirit Chase (G2)||Newbury||Altior (2017), Sprinter Sacre (2012)|
|Racing Post Novice Chase (G1)||Leopardstown||Sizing Europe (2010)||Ordinary World (2017), Sizing John (2016), Champagne Fever (2014), Baily Green (2013)|
|Wayward Lad Novices' Chase (G2)||Kempton||Simonsig (2013)||God's Own (2015)|
|Henry De Bromhead||9||1||11||-2.00||2|
Untried outside maiden company, Duc Des Genievres romped to a facile 13-length win in the 2019 Arkle Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, to give trainer Willie Mullins a quick-fire double.
Successful minutes earlier in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle with Klassical Dream, Mullins watched on as Gowran Park beginners' chase winner finally hit the big time, well surpassing all he had achieved over hurdles.
The six-year-old had not managed to win for Mullins in Ireland since leaving France in 2017, until that Gowran Park win set up his now fabled Arkle tilt. Jockey Paul Townend had an armchair ride on the grey, Us And Them galloping on for second, ahead of Articulum, a first Festival run for County Cork trainer Terence O'Brien.
It was a one-two-three for Ireland, Clondaw Castle best of the British-trained runners in fourth, and the 100/30 favourite Hardline, trained by Gordon Elliott, finishing seventh.
13:30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle
14:10 - Arkle Challenge Trophy
14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase
15:30 CHAMPION HURDLE
16:50 Novices' Handicap Chase
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