Arkle Challenge Trophy Tips 2021 – Cheltenham Festival Day 1 (2.05pm)

The Arkle Challenge Trophy provides a test for racing’s best national hunt chasers over the minimum trip of just under two miles.

Put The Kettle On became the fifth Irish horse in the last six years to win this race, overcoming Fakir D’oudairies in what was not a vintage Arkle fixture.

The race is named after racing legend Arkle, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times in the 1960s.

Nicky Henderson has a great chance to get back on the board in this race for the first time since Altior crossed the line first in 2017.


Arkle Chase Odds 2021

Allmankind10/1William Hill
Franco De Port20/1William Hill
Hitman20/1William Hill
Captain Guinness20/1bet365
Klassical Dream22/1bet365
Felix Desjy33/1bet365


2021 Arkle Challenge Trophy Preview

This race normally throws up a superstar with the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Un de Sceaux, Douvan and Altior winning in recent years. 2021 could be another year where a superstar confirms his status as Shishkin looks to win the Grade 1 race.

This race pits together the best 2m novice chasers and the gallop is always fast and furious. It is one of the better races for betting on favourites during Cheltenham week so is Shishkin your idea of a Cheltenham Festival banker?


Arkle Main Contenders

  • Shishkin
  • Allmankind
  • Energumene
  • Unexpected
  • France De Port
  • Felix Desjy
  • Captain Guinness



Shishkin has taken to fences like a natural and is without doubt one of the best horses in training this season.

Although both fields in both of his appearances this season have been small, Shishkin has been massively impressive with his jumping and speed across the ground.

He landed the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over the festive period, which was as flawless as his chasing debut at the same course in November.

The feeling with Shishkin is that the faster the field goes the better he will perform and jump, which is a perfect characteristic for a potentially stiffer test in the Arkle.

What are Shishkin’s Cheltenham Festival odds?



Dan Skelton could provide this stiff test, as Allmankind appears to be a revelation for this yard over fences this season.

After the tank emptying in the Triumph Hurdle at last year’s festival as well as disappointing hurdle form this season, Allmankind was superb on his chasing debut at Warwick in November.

The five-year-old kicked on again to win the Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown with a great round of jumping.

There is definitely more to come from this horse over fences and Skelton has no fear in potentially meeting Shishkin in the Kingmaker Novices Chase at Warwick in February if both horses were to go there.



A serious challenge could come from the yard of Willie Mullins and Energumene, who has emerged as a serious challenger to Shishkin in the Arkle.

After winning a beginner’s chase at Gowran Park by 18 lenghts over two miles and four furlongs, Energumene dropped down to two miles on 13th January and continued to excel.

The Tony Bloom-owned seven-year-old beat impressive horses in Captain Guinness and Blackbow on this last day on heavy ground and this progress over a shorter trip is extremely promising.

Mullins said after the win that they would pursue the two-mile route and Energumene’s love for jumping is a key factor in his attitude to racing.



Much like his stable companion, Unexcepted also loves the heavy ground and has won races impressively over two miles.

After being pulled up in Leopardstown in February, Unexcepted reappeared In Tipperary in October to comfortably win a beginner’s chase.

This performance earned Unexcepted a Racing Post Rating of 155, jockey Mark Walsh commented afterwards how quick the horse was over his fences and the quality of each jump too.

In terms of grabbing a price, Unexcepted at 16/1 is very good and this price could tumble if we were to see this horse return to the track before the festival.


Franco De Port

Mullins asserted his training prowess over the festive period and his yard dominates the market for the Arkle, with Franco De Port also emerging as a contender.

In the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Boxing day, France De Port beat Darver Star and Felix Desjy to cause an upset.

This six-year-old French import has taken superbly to fences this season and is unbeaten in two starts over the large obstacles.

We may see Mullins take a route towards two and a half miles but we will likely find out at the Dublin Racing Festival.


Felix Desjy

Felix Desjy fans will not have been encouraged by the jumping errors they saw from this Grade One-winning scorer last season.

This Gordon Elliott-trained eight-year old’s best day came at Aintree in 2019 when winning the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle.


Captain Guinness

Captain Guinness is another eye-catching Irish contender that, although was not good enough to match Energumene last time out, could still be targeting the Arkle.

Trained by Henry De Bromhead, Captain Guinness was brought down in the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle at last year’s festival and could look to fulfil his potential in this year’s Arkle.

Shishkin is fantastic and has already performed on the big stage at Cheltenham. The horse has taken to fences like a natural and it could be that a stronger field could bring out an even better side of him.


Arkle Trophy Ante-post Betting Tip

You would have to keep an eye on Energumene, but it is hard to see Shishkin being outclassed in jumping or travelling.

WIN BET – SHISKIN – 4/5 with bet365.

DANGER – ENERGUMENE – 7/1 with bet365.

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Arkle Trophy Trends

  • Age – 11 of the last 12 winners were aged 6 or 7
  • Price – 6 of the last 12 favorites have won, 9/12 winners were in the top 3 in the betting
  • Last Run – 9 of the last 12 winners ran within the last 51 days, 11/12 won on their last start before Cheltenham
  • 3/12 winners ran in the Arkle Novice Chase (Leopardstown) on their last run, 3 of the 3 won
  • 2/12 winners ran in the Game Spirit Chase (Newbury) on their last run, 2 of the 2 won
  • Previous Course Form – 11 of the last 12 winners had at least 1 run at Cheltenham previously, 6/12 had at least 1 win previously at Cheltenham
  • Previous Distance Form – 9/12 winners had at least 5 previous runs over 15-17 furlongs, 8/12 had at least 3 wins over 15-17 furlongs
  • Previous Hurdle Form – 12/12 winners had at least 4 runs over hurdles, 10/12 had at least 2 wins over hurdles
  • Previous Chase Form – 11/12 winners had at least 2 previous chase runs, 12/12 winners had at least 1 chase win, 8/12 had at least 2 chase wins
  • Rating – 10/12 winners were rated 151 or higher
  • Graded Wins – 10/12 winners had at least 1 previous win in a grade 1 or grade 2 race
  • Season Form – 11/12 winners had at least 3 runs that season, 12/12 had at least 1 win that season, 8/12 had at least 2 wins that season.


Arkle Challenge Trophy Last 10 Winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2010 Sizing Europe A E Lynch Henry De Bromhead
2011 Captain Chris Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs
2012 Sprinter Sacre Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2013 Simonsig Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2014 Western Warhorse Tom Scudamore David Pipe
2015 Un De Sceaux Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2016 Douvan Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2017 Altior Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson
2018 Footpad Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2019 Duc Des Genievres Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2020 Put The Kettle On Aidan Coleman Henry De Bromhead


Arkle Trophy 2020 Result

1st – Put the Kettle On (16/1)

2nd – Fakir D’oudairies (3/1)

3rd – Rouge Vif – (9/1)

4th – Global Citizen (33/1)


2021 Cheltenham Festival Tips