The Irish Independent Arkle Chase is one of the big races that Paul Nicholls has struggled to win at the Cheltenham Festival in recent years, but in Ghizao he has a leading contender this year.
Ghizao is 5/1 in the Cheltenham betting market and will head to the Festival high on confidence after victories on his two latest starts.
Meanwhile, both of these triumphs also came over fellow leading Arkle candidate Captain Chris, who is a 14/1 chance to end a run of three successive runner-up finishes.
What was most significant about these victories is that the first also came at Cheltenham and was over the Arkle distance of two miles.
Another factor in Nicholls’ favour is that although he has not won the race since training Azertyuiop in 2003, trainer David Johnson has enjoyed far greater success.
Johnson has owned four winners of the race thanks to the successes of Or Royal, Champleve, Well Chief and Contraband.
And he feels that Ghizao’s lack of jumping mistakes and strong reserves of stamina will make him tough to beat.
If Ghizao does disappoint in the Arkle, Nicholls could still taste success as he has entered two other horses among the 34 currently in line to run.
Pepe Simo can be backed at 33/1 and this appears to be a decent each-way price given the way that he ran on in the closing stages of his encouraging defeat to Nadiya De La Vega at Kempton last month.
Robinson Collonges is the other entry at 33/1 and ignoring his disappointing display in the Vote A. P. Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December, he would also have to be considered given his prior form.
A £25 stake on Nadiya De La Vega winning the Arkle Chase would return £500. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.