Racing Post Arkle Trial
(Registered As The November Novices' Chase)
Grade 2, Cheltenham
£32,000 added,
4yo plus, 2m, Class 1
Sunday 17th November 2013


1 Dodging Bullets 2/1
2 Raya Star 15/8F
3 Ted Veale 2/1
5 ran Distances: 5l, 3¼l, ½l
TIME 4m 0.81s (slow by 8.81s)

Trainer Paul Nicholls admits some of his horses have run disappointingly this season for no apparent reason, but his Dodging Bullets did not let the stable down today.

Dodging Bullets
© Racehorse Photos

Dodging Bullets

The five-year-old son of top Flat stallion Dubawi jumped smartly and proved too good for four rivals in the Racing Post’s Arkle Trophy Trial – the Arkle itself, run at the Cheltenham Festival in March, is now top of the agenda for Dodging Bullets.

Nicholls said: “It frustrates me that some of the horses have not run as well as I expected them to, and some have run dire races for absolutely no reason. You can do all the tests you like but nothing shows up, so you are always a little nervous, but this horse has run as he looked at home.

“He’s been in good form and the best thing we have done with him is go chasing. He’s in the Arkle picture on that run, but we won’t be in a hurry with him this season. The Henry VIII Chase at Sandown is a possibility, but I might run Hinterland in that race.

“A race at Newbury over Christmas might suit, but I won’t run him in bad ground.

“He’s come from being what I would call a wound-up Flat horse to a more relaxed jumper – there’s always been a bit of an issue with him mentally, but physically he’s grown up a lot. I had to persuade the owners to let me go chasing with him, but he’s very sure-footed and good over a fence.

“He’s come on a lot since Kempton and learned a lot. He’s galloped up the hill properly today and is a proper horse.”


Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase
£32,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m, Class 1
5 ran
Going: Good (Good to Soft in places)

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Dodging Bullets
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 2lbs
2 - 1
Raya Star
A King
R Thornton
11st 2lbs
15 - 8
5 lengths
Ted Veale
A J Martin
B J Geraghty
11st 2lbs
2 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
The Cockney Mackem
N A Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies
11st 2lbs
28 - 1
1/2 length
My Brother Sylvest
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 8lbs
20 - 1
16 lengths

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Daryl Jacob, the winning jockey, commented about the five-length scorer: “We went a decent gallop all the way and he jumped well underneath me from the third fence.

“He was a little bit novicey early doors. It was the first time that he has raced at that speed early on.

“He has good pace and class so the options are open but hopefully he will be an Arkle horse.”

Raya Star
© Racehorse Photos

Raya Star
Connections were happy with Raya Star despite the 15/8 favourite suffering a five length defeat this afternoon.

Trainer Alan King offered no excuses for the defeat and admitted that his seven-year-old would learn a lot from the experience.

“We’re very happy with him after that,” said King.

“He’ll learn a lot and was beaten by a better horse on the day. It’s all a learning experience with him at the moment and I’m sure he’ll be better for it. He hit one early on which is the first mistake he’s ever made but he recovered well and we’re happy with his performance.

Jockey Robert Thornton shared the same view as the trainer.

“He’s been beaten by a better horse on the day – I’ve no excuses.”

Tony Martin, trainer of Ted Veale, was also delighted with the performance of his gelding, who finished a further three and a quarter lengths behind Raya Star.

“You’ve got to be delighted with that run,” said Martin.

“He wouldn’t be rated as high as Dodging Bullets and Raya Star over hurdles and therefore wasn’t really entitled to win the race.

“He’s run a grand race though and it’s a learning curve with him. We’ll try and pick up a small race with him somewhere and take it from there.”

Ted Veale’s jockey Barry Geraghty was also sure that the experience would stand his mount in good stead.

“He ran a very good race and he’ll learn from the experience,” said Geraghty.

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