2.05 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase The Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase is race two of the Cheltenham Festival and the premier test of jumping at speed for novice fencers. Run over two miles, the race is named after the legendary Irish steeplechaser who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times in the mid-1960s. Although Arkle himself did not win this event, there is still a highly impressive roll of honour which includes Flyingbolt, Pendil, Alverton, Moscow Flyer, Sizing Europe and Sprinter Sacre. These are the leading contenders for the 2013 Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase: Simonsig (trained by Nicky Henderson) Henderson won the Arkle last year with the brilliant Sprinter Sacre and he has the outstanding contender again in Simonsig. An easy winner over hurdles at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, the flying grey has tasted defeat only once and all his other races have resulted in spectacular victories.
Overturn (trained by Donald McCain)
Runner-up in last season’s Champion Hurdle, Overturn has taken extremely well to fences and jumped superbly on all his three starts this term, winning them by a combined total of 68 lengths. A tough front-runner who has also won some big handicaps on the Flat, he could take plenty of pegging back.
Arvika Ligeonniere (trained by Willie Mullins)
Has returned from more than two years off the track to win his three completed races over fences, making all the running each time, before falling on his latest outing at Leopardstown. Should not be underestimated for he has the ability to be involved in the finish if he can put in a clear round this time.
Benefficient (trained by Tony Martin)
Won the race at Leopardstown in which Arvika Ligeonniere fell as his sound jumping proved decisive, getting the better of smart Oscars Well when that rival also made a bad error at the last fence. Stays further than two miles and that should be an advantage in a race that is usually run at a furious gallop.