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  • 14:10 Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase 2m

  • (Registered As The November Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) £32,000 added 4yo+ 4 ran
  • Winner £18,224 2nd £6,838 3rd £3,424 4th £1,706
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 4m 10.50s
  • Off time: 14:11:15

Dunraven Storm Storm grinds out Arkle Trial win at Cheltenham

Last Updated: 16/11/14 6:34pm

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Dunraven Storm heads up the run-un pursued by Vibrato Valtat.

Dunraven Storm heads up the run-un pursued by Vibrato Valtat.

Dunraven Storm (7/2) made it two from two over fences in landing the Grade Two Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

The lightly-raced nine-year-old impressed in a good race on his debut over the larger obstacles at Exeter and was again sent to the front by Richard Johnson.

Tracked all the while by Little Jon, Dunraven Storm looked up against it when that one took over with a bold leap two from home while Sam Twiston-Davies tried to coax favourite Vibrato Valtat (13/8) into the race just behind.

However, a mistake from Little Jon at the last allowed Dunraven Storm to edge back into the lead and he found plenty for pressure, with Vibrato Valtat unable to bridge the gap on testing ground having been held on to until the final furlong by his jockey.

Duke Of Navan, who never looked happy in the conditions, was held when falling at the last as Dunraven Storm won by a length and three-quarters, with Little Jon just denied for second by Vibrato Valtat.

Winning trainer Philip Hobbs explained that it had never been the intention to keep the winner back from going chasing until this season.

"He should have gone chasing three years ago, but he had a problem with a suspensory on a hind leg. He had a year off due to that," said Hobbs.

"He's a typical Presenting. He doesn't really want soft ground, but there were very few other places to go and we targeted this for some time. We decided to give it a go and it worked out.

"Funnily enough, his jumping today wasn't as good as when he won at Exeter, particularly early on.

"He might be nine but he's a massively enthusiastic horse. He's had a few issues, but hopefully he's over that now.

"He'll definitely stay two and a half. He's keen and wants to get on with things though, so why not stay at two.

"He could go two and a half, so either the Arkle or the Jewson would be options."

Sky Bet introduced the winner at 20/1 in their betting for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival, and spokesman Michael Shinners said: "He'd be the oldest Arkle winner in the race's grand history but Dunraven Storm hasn't had a lot of racing and the form of his first two attempts over fences does appear solid."

Paul Nicholls was fairly philosophical about having to settle for second with Vibrato Valtat, but said: "I don't know if maybe Sam thought the winner was going to come from behind, but on this sort of ground you can't give away that sort of distance, you can't make up ground quickly.

"This horse has bags of toe and ideal for him would be a strong pace where he can sit and travel. A track like Kempton would suit and I would think the two-miler there at Christmas [the Wayward Lad Chase] would be next. He's had a couple of races quickly so I think we'll freshen him up for that.

"And I'll take today's winner on again any day."

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