2021 Arkle Challenge Trophy Betting Tips – Side with Shishkin for More Festival Success

Cheltenham Festival Betting Tips · Tuesday, 16th Mar 2021 - 13:55

Henderson Supreme hero can sparkle in Arkle

The 2m Grade 1 Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase is the first race over fences at the Cheltenham Festival this Tuesday (13:55), and Shishkin has a favourite’s chance. Trained by Nicky Henderson who has saddled more winners of this than any other trainer, the Joe and Marie Donnelly owned Sholokhov gelding made a seamless transition from hurdles.

Shishkin overcame all sorts of trouble in-running last year when landing the Supreme. He made an immediate impact when switching to fences, bolting up at Kempton. He also ran out an easy winner of the Grade 2 Wayward Lad run there over the Christmas period.

Crucially, that form has substance to it. The runner-up, Tamaroc Du Mathan came out and won the Pendil Novices’ Chase when stepped up in trip. Shishkin made it a hat-trick over fences when leaving Arkle Trial winner Eldorado Allen for dead in the aptly named Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster.

This horse could go to the very top of National Hunt racing. Shishkin faces his toughest examination yet, but has everything going for him. His short odds of 1/2 with bet365 reflect that, however.

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Allmankind the only Arkle danger

With Irish raider Energumene ruled out of the Festival, Allmankind could be the one to give Shishkin a race and chase him home. Trained by Dan Skelton, this headstrong juvenile won the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow last season and then ran third here in the Triumph Hurdle.

Allmankind made a very taking bow over fences when bolting up at Warwick. Skelton had no hesitation pitching him back in at the highest level for the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown. The runner-up, Hitman, has since advertised the form too.

As Allmankind has since followed-up and completed his hat-trick in the Kingmaker back at Warwick under a penalty, where he had too much class for the very handy Sky Pirate, there is substance to what he has achieved. However, his jumping was not as slick last time out as on previous occasions and there are absolutely no hiding places in the Arkle.

While Allmankind remains with potential, Shishkin is 4lbs clear of him on official figures. However, he might be the only one in the field that can lay up with the favourite. On that basis, Allmankind is the one most likely to take advantage of Shishkin under-performing at 9/2 with William Hill in the Akrle.

Franco De Port one to consider each-way

Others will fancy their chances of hitting the frame. Captain Guinness has always been highly-regarded by Henry De Bromhead but is an unlucky horse. He could gain compensation, granted a clear round, but that’s a risky proposition. He’s an 10/1 shot with BetVictor to do just that.

Franco De Port is now the Mullins first string and represents the best of the Irish Arkle form, however. He eclipsed all his hurdles form when landing the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival before returning there and chasing home Energumene.

Initially thought to be a mudlark, Franco De Port has proven his ability on sounder surfaces in recent outings. There is no reason why Darver Star should reverse form with him, and the way he kept on to be best of the rest in the Irish Arkle is a positive for this race.

With that in mind, Franco De Port gets the each-way vote at 12/1 with William Hill in this Cheltenham contest. It’s such a shame that this isn’t as competitive a race as it might’ve been. There will be other days for Energumene in future, so Franco De Port must deputise for him.

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