Hurdling clue to winner of this prize
TUESDAY 1.55 SPORTING LIFE ARKLE TROPHY
It is becoming increasingly important to have previously recorded a top-two finish in a Graded chase Last year’s winner Put The Kettle On was rated only 123 over hurdles, but her victory in the Grade 2 novice chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting last term suggested she was going to be a good deal better over fences and so it proved. As many as eight of the last ten Arkle winners had won a Graded chase before landing this. Put The Kettle On made her debut over fences in May 2019 and had five starts over the larger obstacles before her victory here. Good jumpers tend to have had the requisite experience, which is why nearly all recent winners have started chasing before the new year. Another Arkle stat Henry de Bromhead’s mare improved on last year was the fine recent record of six-year-olds. She is the fourth of that age in the last five years to win this. Interestingly, while the Arkle could be the race of the festival this year, none of the current market leaders are that age. Verdict Shishkin is aged seven, but I wouldn’t be too worried about that as he fits plenty of other trends. The top-rated hurdler in the Arkle has always had a great record, and Shishkin was rated as high as 159 over the smaller obstacles, much better than any of his rivals here.