14:05 Cheltenham: Small field makes Simonsig win only Arkle bet

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It is not the most original of selections, but it is hard to back anything other than a Simonsig victory in the Arkle now that only seven runners will line up in the 2m chase.

Only the first two will get paid each-way as a result of the fairly small field, which makes it difficult to plump for anything at a bigger price to upset the market leaders.

Arvika Ligeonniere is the only horse that realistically represents any sort of each-way value at 8/1, especially on the soft ground, although recent runs suggest he would much prefer to run right-handed rather than at Cheltenham.

The jockey booking of Ruby Walsh may help as opposed to Paul Townend and he could be the one to run into a place if Overturn pays the price for going off too hard.

But the race does look a clash between the two favourites and it is hard not to believe that Overturn will set the race up for Simonsig to sweep past over the final fence and secure victory.

Overturn is 3/1 and was rated superior to his rival over hurdles, but arguably he would need a faster surface to have any chance of getting the favourite off the bridle over the larger obstacles.

Meanwhile, many of the trends go against Overturn, including the dismal record of front runners and horses aged nine.

Only one of the last 31 Arkle winners did so by making all of the running, while the last horse aged over eight to triumph was Danish Flight back in 1988.

With Simonsig quite a short price at 2/5, some punters may be willing to take him on, particularly with favourites having a tendency to slip up in the Arkle.

Just three of the last 21 favourites have won, but Simonsig has been dominant in a similar way to fellow Nicky Henderson horse Sprinter Sacre was last year and he was a comfortable winner of a tougher Arkle 12 months ago.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.