Balthazar King may have interrupted the Irish dominance of the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, but the announcement of the weights suggest that Arabella Boy is well placed to ensure business goes back to normal.
Enda Bolger has enjoyed great success in the cross country sphere, saddling 15 winners in the last 38 of these type of races at Cheltenham through the likes of Garde Champetre, L’Ami and Heads Onthe Ground
The trainer has also been responsible for four of the last eight winners of this particular contest and the runner-up on a further three occasions.
He has four entries this year, but Arabella Boy is far and away the first string and the release of the weights appear to be a plus to his chances at 6/1, with Ladbrokes offering the top price.
Arabella Boy’s victory in the recognised cross country trial at Punchestown earlier in February has enhanced his prospects, with Uncle Junior and Bostons Angel among those in behind.
Significantly, on the day the trio all run off level weights, but at Cheltenham, Arabella Boy will be receiving weight from both, including over 1st from Uncle Junior.
The other main threat is likely to be 5/1 favourite Outlaw Pete, who triumphed in the main cross country trial at Cheltenham back in December, in a race where Arabella Boy unseated Nina Carberry.
But he will also hump round more weight than Arabella Boy over the 3m7f.
The final positive is that only one jockey has won this race more than once, with Nina Carberry steering home three winners. She will almost certainly ride Arabella Boy this year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.