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Cheltenham Festival Arkle Ante-Post Tips: Former Triumph hero tipped to sparkle once again

One of the most fascinating ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival is the betting for the Arkle Challenge Trophy, which is extremely wide open. Here at GG we look to point you in the right direction of the winner and our editor Steve Chambers is taking on the likes of Marine Nationale and Il Etait Temps with a former Triumph Hurdle hero, who has been impressive over fences this season and is a former festival winner!

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Odds correct at time of writing

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Arkle Challenge Trophy – Quilixios 1pt win 36/5

Marine Nationale’s flop in the Irish Arkle earlier this month has thrown the Arkle betting wide open, as last season’s emphatic Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero has shown he’s not completely bombproof and Barry Connell’s stable star will now be on a comeback mission at Cheltenham next month when he lines up for the Grade 1 contest on Tuesday 12th March.

Still holding favouritism, Marine Nationale could be worth taking on after he failed to show last season’s brilliance and one that could be a notable thorn in his side is Henry De Bromhead’s QUILIXIOS, who was an impressive winner last time out and available at 36/5 with SBK, at the time of writing, is worth backing for the Arkle on day one of the festival.

The best juvenile in the UK & Ireland during the 2020/2021 National Hunt campaign which culminated with a fine three-length victory in the 2021 Triumph Hurdle, Quilixios then failed to kick on over hurdles, as he failed to win another race over timber and was unable to line up at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival after he was third in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle in February of that year.

Over 18 months off the track, Henry De Bromhead’s raider returned to the game and lined up over fences at Limerick in October, where he fended off Cool Survivor in a beginners’ chase and claimed victory over 2m 3f. Sent over three miles next time out for the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown next time out, Quilixios failed to land any sort of blow in testing conditions suggesting that stamina is not his forte.

Dropped back to two miles last time out at Naas, he beat the highly thought of Mister Policeman, who has subsequently come out and won, and he also got the better of Sa Fureur in his most impressive display to date. Asserting in the closing stages of that race, Quilixios has certainly shown a high level of form and a return to better ground at Cheltenham will certainly work in his favour.

He will need to improve again against some top notch novice chasers, but the seven-year-old has certainly not reached his ceiling over fences and he could be one that stalks the leaders from the outset and kick clear in the closing stages to land a second Cheltenham Festival success.

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