Racing Post Arkle Trial
(Registered As The November Novices' Chase)
Grade 2, Cheltenham 14:10
£32,000 added,
4yo plus, 2m, Class 1
Sunday 16th November 2014

1 Dunraven Storm 7/2
2 Vibrato Valtat 13/8
3 Little Jon 7/1
NR: Court Minstrel (IRE), Sgt Reckless
4 ran Distances: 1¾l, 1¼l
TIME 4m 8.30s (slow by 16.30s)

It's another for Richard Johnson and Philip Hobbs! Dunraven Storm following up his chase win at Exeter with victory today at Cheltenham

Dunraven Storm
© Racehorse Photos

Dunraven Storm

Trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Richard Johnson both recorded their fifth victory of The Open meeting when Dunraven Storm ran out a commanding winner of the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial.

The 7/2 shot jumped well in the main despite a couple of sketchy jumps at the first two obstacles and always had his rivals on the ropes once he had mastered the challenge of Little Jon, who had taken him on for the lead.

The eventual runner-up Vibrato Valtat tried hard to rally after the final fence but Johnson had enough in the locker to fend off the challenge and post a length and three quarter success.

"I think he's handled the ground well enough but he's a typical Presenting and wants better ground," said Hobbs.

"He was a bit sticky over the first two but got into a nice rhythm and won well. His jumping probably wasn't as good as it was when he won last time out at Exeter but he's eventually getting it all together.

"Although he's a nine-year-old, he had a lot of time out and should really have gone chasing three years ago. He had a suspensory problem on one of his hind legs, which is quite an unusual injury, but hopefully he can make up for lost time.

"We'll stick to two miles for the time being, though I think he'll stay two and a half in time."

Johnson was also keen to stick to the minimum trip for the time being after the race.

"I think a strongly run two miles will do for now," said the jockey.

"The race hasn't really suited him as he's had to do most of the work and there's always a danger that they won't quite pick up again on this sort of ground when they've done that. Better ground will suit him.

"Two miles is fine for him as he travels well and jumps well."

Vibrato Valtat
© Racehorse Photos
Vibrato Valtat

Paul Nicholls, trainer of runner-up Vibrato Valtat, is looking forward to a rematch with today's winner Dunraven Storm. The Nicholls-trained 13/8 favourite, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, came from off the pace and failed to catch his rival by a length and three-quarters.

Nicholls was fairly philosophical about the reverse, but said: "I don't know if maybe Sam thought the winner was going to come from behind but on this sort of ground you can't give away that sort of distance, you can't make up ground quickly.

"This horse has bags of toe and ideal for him would be a strong pace where he can sit and travel. A track like Kempton would suit and I would think the two-miler there at Christmas [the Wayward Lad Chase] would be next. He's had a couple of races quickly so I think we'll freshen him up for that.

"And I'll take today's winner on again any day."

Coral Sports

Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase
(registered As The November Novices' Chase)
£32,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m, Class 1
4 ran
Going: Soft, Heavy in places

  Dist Horse / Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Dunraven Storm (IRE) 7/2
R Johnson
11-2 P J Hobbs 9
2nd Vibrato Valtat (FR) 13/8f
S Twiston-Davies
11-6 P F Nicholls 5
3rd Little Jon 7/1
J E Moore
11-6 N A Twiston-Davies 6
F Duke Of Navan (IRE) 2/1
Brian Harding
11-2 N G Richards 6
NR Court Minstrel (IRE)
Paul Moloney
11-8 Evan Williams 7
NR Sgt Reckless
B Hughes
11-2 M R Channon 7