Andy Gibson's race review: Fallout from the Irish Arkle Novice Chase

As the dust settles on the Dublin Festival, racing expert Andy Gibson analyses what one of the big races at Leopardstown might tell us about the top four finishers' prospects at Cheltenham in March.

A viable challenger to Jonbon?

After his 10-length success in the Irish Arkle Novice chase at Leopardstown, El Fabiolo is now generally available at 2/1 for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.

Aside from his major mistake at the fourth last fence his jumping generally lacked fluency, and he is certainly going to have to do a lot better in that department to come home in front at Prestbury Park.

This was only his second start over fences and his fifth in total for Willie Mullins, so we have some reason to believe El Fabiolo can improve on this jumping display.

He looked impressive from the last to the line as he drew well clear of his two stable mates, although the likelihood of those two horses both tiring badly is supported by the fact that Banbridge maintained his losing margin over the winner during that same point of the race.

Arkle or Turners dilemma

The fact that Banbridge did not lose any ground on the impressive looking winner from the final fence to the line is encouraging.

However, if his connections were to consider the Arkle over the Turners, then I suspect they would need to find a reason why he was so badly outpaced from four out to the second last fence.

The undulating track at Cheltenham should be more to his liking and result in him being able to stay closer to the likely fast pace set by Dysart Dynamo and/or Jonbon.

Furthermore, Banbridge has already won in convincing fashion over the Arkle course and distance when he seemed to be well suited by the uphill finish.

Nevertheless, one would still think that the Turners Novices' Chase would be the obvious call on his trainer's mind, given the way he performed at Leopardstown.

If he did happen to go for the Arkle he would probably have the third-best chance of winning and he would likely trade around 6/1 in a six or seven runner race based on past average field size for the race.

If the Turners produced a bigger field size with more apparent dangers, then maybe this factor would impact on his connections' decision-making process.

Extra half-mile should suit the third to finish

Appreciate It was already a couple of lengths behind the front two horses when a slow jump two out put him further on the back foot, although he rallied to jump the final fence next to Dysart Dynamo and only just behind the eventual winner.

Based on his overall profile plus the long-standing comments of his trainer, one would guess that the Turners would be the race for him. He is the current second favourite for that contest and appears to be a worthy challenger to the favourite Mighty Potter.

The Arkle next for Dysart Dynamo

This was an exciting front-running display from the twice-raced chaser Dysart Dynamo. His jumping is generally bold, fast and fluent and he should make a big impact on the outcome of the Arkle in March, irrespective of how he fares in the closing stages.

Unlike the two horses to finish just in front of him, he would seem very likely to be heading for the Arkle Trophy Chase next. Given the 10 lengths he was beaten by the winner I doubt he will come in for heavy support for the second race on the opening day between now and early March.

Moreover, his exuberant style of running and jumping should translate into a very simple trading opportunity on the day. Even more so as it would not be difficult to envisage El Fabiolo's jumping coming unstuck at some point in a fast run chase at Cheltenham.

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