Trust Arvico Bleu to put his experience to good use in the Templemore Beginners Chase, which opens today’s seven-race card in Thurles.
Although rated significantly inferior to chief rival Ex Patriot over hurdles, Henry de Bromhead’s charge has already produced some rock-solid efforts over fences and, in the frame in each of his five outings over the bigger obstacles, should be tough to beat.
A forward-going seven-year-old, he looked a winner on the run-in before being collared late by Punches Cross and Quamino in a Naas handicap last time, form boosted when the runner-up landed a Grade B pot at Leopardstown over the weekend.
Arvico Bleu had chased home Duca De Thaix in the €100,000 Dan Moore at Fairyhouse in his previous start while his form in beginners’ events included a creditable second to subsequent dual Grade 1 winner and Arkle favourite Le Richebourg at Listowel back in September.
Likely to make the running and a good jumper, Arvico Bleu and Rachael Blackmore should prove hard to catch. His experience might give him the edge over Ex Patriot, a good fourth to Cilaos Emery at Gowran Park on his second effort over fences, and Gordon Elliott’s chasing debutant Stooshie.
The Willie Mullins-trained Karl Der Grosse might prove the solution in the featured Horse & Jockey rated Novice Hurdle.
The French-bred, was placed in his only start for Emmanuel Clayeux in his native land and made a successful start for Closutton when coasting to victory in a maiden hurdle in Tramore last August, when sent off 8/15 favourite.
Significantly, the Jukebox Jury gelding started favourite for a rated novice, similar to today’s, at Galway in October but, having held every chance turning for home, he had to settle for third spot behind stable-companion Dorrells Pierji and Petit Tartare, which re-opposes today. Now a five-year-old, Karl Der Grosse is open to plenty of improvement and, having only his fourth start, might turn the tables on Petit Tartare and outpoint top-weight Getaway John, which must concede weight to his six rivals.