Irish Independent Arkle Chase – Tuesday 10 March 2009

This is the weakest Arkle I’ve ever known with doubts about all the leading contenders. Tatenen the favourite was beaten at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting by another contender Follow The Plan who can only manage a poor third at the same venue in the Irish Arkle yesterday. Receiving 8lbs Tatenen really should have won and he’s a poor favourite. Challenging for favouritism is Calgary Bay who was also beaten last time and whose trainer has said, ‘they would do him for toe in the Arkle’. I would agree – too slow. Kalahari King is next in the betting but he hasn’t beaten anything of note, is getting on for a novice at 8 years old and was beaten last time. Next up is Forpadydeplasterer who was also beaten in the Irish Arkle yesterday and had a hard race. He will be better on good ground but I’d rather look for a winner. Panjo Bere, Calgary Bay’s conqueror at Ascot meets that criteria but he’s a ground dependent horse and must have soft. We are now getting into those priced over 20/1 and Araldur could be interesting but he’s not certain to run. So let’s go for a last time out winner, a Grade 2 winner at a top class track, a horse with a higher Racing Post rating than Kalahari King but is two and half times the price.

Step forward Original who caused what seemed to be a massive upset when scoring at 66/1 at Kempton on Boxing Day. However, this cheval has good form in France and was simply written off through ignorance by British bookies and punters. I was at Kempton and the result was no fluke. A huge horse, Original jumped speedily and considering his size he handled the tight track well. He’ll be more suited by the sweeping turns of Cheltenham and he has the stamina and physical power to make it up the hill. The big unknown is his trainer, Monsieur Rolland, but you can’t argue with a 100% win record over British jumps! We are getting a generous price here as again it seems he has been written off. In a weak race he has a cracking each way chance.
Take the 25/1 with Victor Chandler, Boylesports or Ladbrokes.