There may be some doubts as to whether Sanctuaire is a true contender for the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham, but punters would be wise to remember that Well Chief once won the novice chase with a similarly inexperienced background.
Sanctuaire has been installed at 25/1 in the Cheltenham odds to win the Arkle following a dominant victory on his chase debut at Taunton by 16 lengths.
In a change from the hold-up tactics previously employed over hurdles, Ruby Walsh sent the horse to front from the off and immediately opened up a significant advantage that never looked like being bridged.
Alongside the manner of victory, Sanctuaire’s time was also impressive, passing the finishing post four seconds faster than standard despite the ground being labelled as good to soft.
The performance was at least on par with many of the other top 2m novice chasers this season and so his price looks cracking each-way value, even if there are doubters who think that the horse is far superior on flatter tracks to Cheltenham.
Meanwhile, others will point to his inexperience over fences as a negative factor and the fact that his jumping has never really been put under substantial pressure.
But this did not affect Well Chief in 2004 who won the Arkle even though he had only previously run once over fences.
What was also noticeable was that this run was a victory at Taunton.
Sprinter Sacre has widely been described as the most impressive novice chaser of the season and this is backed up by his price of 9/4 to win the Arkle, with Peddlers Cross the next best at 7/2.
In terms of other each-way contenders, For Non Stop tends to come from off the pace which may be a plus if they go too quick up front and has already run Al Ferof close this season.
He is also 25/1 to win the Arkle.