Arkle 2013 Preview Cheltenham Festival

simonsig This year’s Racing Post Arkle seemingly holds the perfect balance of talent and rivalry as the two unbeaten market leaders, Simonsig and Overturn, go head-to-head for 2m novice supremacy.
Both have been foot-perfect this season with has created a rivalry that has created a number of opinions from a range of trainers and punters.
Bookmakers however remain reluctant to take on Simonsig and whilst he currently stands best price 8/11 with Coral, he may go off close to last year’s winner and stablemate Sprinter Sacre’s 8/13 price with money continuing to come in for him.
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Overturn however is 11/4 with the majority of firms and many punters are looking to this race for an upset on a day of red hot favourites.
Both have won their respected races this season very easily which in both cases is down to both their talent and maybe the lack of opposition against them.
Overturn’s three victories have accumulated a total of 68 lengths whilst Simonsig’s two races accumulated a whopping 84 lengths. Their superiority is the main reason why this race is dubbed a two horse race.

Overturn’s ability to gallop strongly has been there for all to see on the flats and hurdles and he has managed to keep that speed when taking to the fences.

What is even more impressive about the Donald McCain trained 9-year-old is the accuracy in which he has jumped this year and he will undoubtedly be the first to test Simonsig come the Arkle.
However, when you spin it round, Simonsig will be the first to test Overturn this year and will he manage the jumping at such speeds when put under pressure?

The duo’s closest rival in the betting is Irish trained Arvika Ligeonniere (9/1 Ladbrokes) whose preparations were dealt a blow when he fell in a three horse race last out leaving outsider Benneficient to score from Oscars Well.
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However the fall would concern me less than his lack of fluidity even in races that he’s won.

His races have been run against just as little as Simonsig and Overturn yet he has failed to win as convincingly as his rivals and has a big ‘F’ next to his name whilst the others ring ‘1s’.
With the betting very much dominated by the top two, there could be some good each way prices out there and Module at 40/1 with SkyBet is the one that catches my eye but in truth he is most likely to be some distance behind Simonsig and Overturn.

VERDICT

It would seem in the betting that the race is Simonsig’s to lose and I would have to agree with that. He will undoubtedly be given a test by Overturn but I have a feeling that ‘that test’ may come in a similar form to that of Sanctuaire’s efforts to conqueror Sprinter Sacre in the Tingle Creek this year.

Overturn will give a strong gallop but I sense he may be surprised when Simonsig simply goes with him. That will leave it to the final couple of fences and I think it will be here when we see how good Simonsig actually is.

He will kick on from then and if Overturn manages to go with him and get him off the bridle then racing fans are in for a treat coming up the hill. However, if he doesn’t get Simonsig off the bridle, he will be well beaten. That said, whether we are witness to yet another Nicky Henderson Arkle onslaught or a tight thriller, I believe Simonsig will still win and most probably go on to better things.

Win: Simonsig (4/6 Coral)

Each Way: Module (40/1 NRNB SkyBet)