Arkle next for D'Estruval


Gris D'Estruval has been given the go-ahead to line up for the Guinness Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival by owner David Johnson. The ex-French five-year-old, who scored six times in his native country, is now a general 10 to 1 chance for the two-mile contest after landing the Jack O'Newbury Novices' Chase under Tony McCoy on Saturday.

Johnson said: "He's come out of the Newbury race in fine form, I couldn't have been more pleased with him and I think the Arkle is the logical choice for him at the Festival."

Johnson also stated that Rash Remark (also partnered by McCoy), who won his second race in seven days since arriving from Ireland on the same card, would now be targeted at the Royal and SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle.

McCoy went on to notch up a hat-trick on Careysville and move onto the 131 mark for the season.

Jenny Pitman nominated Cheltenham's Supreme Novices' Hurdle for Ricardo after the five-year-old showed a handy turn of foot to finish five lengths ahead of Perfect Venue in the Eleanor Harris Hen Party Handicap Hurdle.

Pitman said: "Two miles is just far enough for him. On this ground I'm racing horses over shorter than they would need and if there's one horse I'm taking to Cheltenham who wants it soft then it's him."

Richard Dunwoody, who partnered Ricardo, followed up on Ashwell Boy in the handicap chase. The winner had the race in the bag when he appeared to lose concentration half way up the run-in, but he recovered to hold the renewed effort of Elouis by two lengths. Dunwoody completed his treble, and a double for Pitman, aboard Queens Harbour in the Thatcham Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.