horse racing

Do we want to be backing a first time faller for festival success?

MENORAH – Unseated rider 2 out on Chase debut

SAM WINNER – Fell at the last on Chase debut

Not the greatest chasing debuts in recent history from 2 horses that are expected to get pretty near the top of the chasing tree.

Despite making a complete hash of the second last fence MENORAH was shortened in places by a number of firms for the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March – the Hobbs horse is now a general 10-1 although he is as low as 8-1 with Stan James.

However, if we take a look back at the chase debuts of the Arkle top 3 finishers over the past 10 seasons one thing is glaringly obvious; you need to stay on your feet on chasing debut if you are to have any pretentions of having a say in the finish of the Grade 1 Novice Chase.

In fact the figures tell you its a massive advantage to have WON on your chasing debut.

Take a look at the last 10 Arkle top 3 finishers and how they fared on their Chasing debuts –


Captain Chris – 2nd on Chasing Debut

Finians Ranbow – 1st

Realt Dubh – 1st


Sizing Europe – 1st

Somersby – 1st

Osana – 1st


Forpadytheplasterer – 1st

Kalahari King – 1st

Planet Of Sound – 4th


Tidal Bay – 1st

Kruguyrova – 1st

Noland – 1st


My Way De Solzen – 1st (PU on only chase start in France as a 4yo before moving to A King)

Fair Along – 1st

Jack The Giant – 1st


Voy Por Ustedes – 1st

Monets Garden – 1st

Foreman – 2nd


Contraband – 2nd

Ashley Brook – 1st

River City – 1st


Well Chief – 1st

Kicking King – 5th

Le Duc – 1st


Azertyuiop – 1st

Impek – 1st

Isio – 1st


Moscow Flyer – FELL

Seebald – 1st

Armaturk – 1st

So from the last 30 Arkle Chase top 3 finishers…..

23 WON on their Chase debut

27 finished in the top 2 on their Chase debut

Only ONE failed to complete the course on their chase debut….and that was the mighty MOSCOW FLYER!

The figures don’t look great for either MENORAH or SAM WINNER to go on and achieve Arkle Chase success at Cheltenham in March.

Obviously racing is not always as cut and dry as this but failing to complete on chasing debut is far from ideal and I would be wanting to see a clear round from both yesterdays casualties before even entertaining backing them for festival glory.

Is a clear round on debut the key to Arkle success?

The figures point firmly towards YES.

Jumping is,after all, the name of the game…….

Ben (NTF)

6 responses to “Do we want to be backing a first time faller for festival success?”

  1. I suppose the follow up question to your great article would be ‘how many Arkle runners fell on their first appearance over fences?’ May not be that many and if that is the case the stat may not look as bad as first thought. Keep up the good work, love reading your stuff!

    • Hi Richard

      Yes, there are not that many first time out fallers that line-up each year but that in itself acts as a caution note. It could be that Menorah/Sam Winner don’t progress as expected over fences and miss the Arkle altogether or the take a while to hot up over the larger obstacles. Celestial Halo springs to mind from last season for starters.

      Cheers for the comment

  2. to ben
    i watched the racing at exeter and agree in your review regarding captain chris just one off those days he is still in my ten to follow list
    regards ron.g

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