IS Douvan unbeatable? Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) takes a look at the Arkle.
14:10 Cheltenham | Channel 4
The Arkle sees what is likely to be the shortest priced favourite at the meeting line up in the form of Douvan and it looks impossible to oppose him. Unless he falls or is lame he looks miles clear of his rivals and it looks like a case of who comes second and how far behind him rather than can anyone beat him. So what's the value bet in the race?
Vaniteux is two from three over fences and after failing to reach the heights expected of him over hurdles finally looks like living up to his potential over fences.
His sole defeat was to Ar Mad who misses this through injury, and he comes here with a real claim at being best of the rest. He seems to like the track, and despite the fact he is none from five here he has ran well in some good races. However I have concerns about his jumping and there will be no hiding place for him here. I have a feeling he will make a mistake at some point, and that's enough to put me off him.
I previewed this race ante-post and anyone that followed me in will be happy with our selection of Sizing John each way without Douvan. We'll still be paid the first three places for that bet and it looks good for us now as the race has cut up. He was third in the Supreme last season and will enjoy the better ground. I make him the most likely winner here if Douvan flops, but that's a big if.
The Game Changer comes here after a long absence and is the most experienced of these over hurdles. He's won six from eight over fences and brings a good level of form to the table. He has been freshened up since his summer jumps campaign, however connections attempted a similar tactic before the County Hurdle last season and he ran below his best so it's hard to imagine him winning an Arkle after a long absence.
I cannot see any way that Douvan doesn't win here, and at the prices nothing stands out as a bet. PaddyPower offer 15/8 on Douvan to win by over 10 lengths here and that appeals to me. He's head and shoulders above his rivals and nothing will be able to live with his speed. I fully expect an emphatic victory and I can see him winning by a double figure distance.
14:10 Cheltenham – Douvan to win by over 10 lengths (15/8 Paddy Power)
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