Should punters back Sceau Royal odds or Footpad bets in 2018 Arkle betting?
Hurdle Bet give their verdict on whether punters should get behind Sceau Royal odds or Footpad bets in the ante post 2018 Arkle betting?
Sceau Royal is 8/1 second-favourite with Paddy Power for the 2018 Arkle Challenge Trophy following am emphatic success in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
His owners also have the current market leader for that contest, however, in the shape of Footpad.
It will be interesting to see if Simon Munir and Isaac Souede allow them to lock horns, and they could well do so given that they hail from different yards.
Footpad is trained by Willie Mullins, a man who usually gets his way when it comes to which race to target at the Cheltenham Festival.
Barbary Castle handler Alan King will no doubt want Sceau Royal to take his chance, and who can blame him given the manner of his success on Saturday?
The five-year-old travelled ominously well throughout in the hands of Daryl Jacob and, after being produced to take up the running at the last, shot clear to emphatically beat North Hill Harvey by 11 lengths.
It was visually impressive, but I thought the race fell apart somewhat and into his lap.
Brain Power, who unseated his rider at the last, didn’t jump as fluently as when scoring on debut at Kempton and got locked in a duel for the lead up front with the eventual runner-up.
Race set up for closer
They went hard and set it up for a closer and Finian’s Oscar, who finished a further 50 lengths behind in third, could never go the pace and is a stayer who I was surprised to see in the line-up.
Sceau Royal was also entitled to turn the tables on North Hill Harvey, who had beaten him a neck at Cheltenham back in October, as he met that rival on 5lb better terms.
So, for all it was a good performance, I am still not convinced it is as good as it looked to the naked eye.
Having said that, Sceau Royal was rated just 3lb lower than Footpad over hurdles and is clearly going the right way.
Footpad sensational on chasing debut
However, Footpad has by far the stronger form over the smaller obstacles having finished fourth in this year’s Champion Hurdle.
He looked a natural over fences when making a winning chase debut at Navan last month where he made all and jumped for fun to slam Brelade by 11 lengths.
The runner-up had previously been beaten seven lengths by Petit Mouchoir, who is currently a 12/1 shot with Paddy Power in the 2018 Arkle betting.
It was one of the best rounds of jumping I have seen first time up for a novice and Footpad bets make him look a worthy 4/1 favourite with Betvictor for the Arkle.
Mullins has good record in race
His handler was very bullish about him after Navan, immediately earmarking the race as his Festival target.
Mullins has saddled two of the last three Arkle winners in Un De Sceaux (2015) and Douvan (2016).
There is little doubt in my mind that Footpad has every chance of following in their footsteps, and I much prefer his chances to that of Sceau Royal.
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