Star heads Arkle field

Ante-post favourite Kauto Star heads a total of 48 entries revealed today for the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham on March 15.

Ante-post favourite Kauto Star heads a total of 48 entries revealed today for the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham on March 15.

The ex-French five-year-old was described as a “machine” by jockey Ruby Walsh after winning on his debut for Paul Nicholls at Newbury last month.

He is one of four possibles for the Ditcheat handler.

Nicholls and Martin Pipe have dominated the race in recent years and the latter has assembled a team of six, led by Contraband, for this year’s renewal.

Ulaan Baatar and Foreman, first and second in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown yesterday, also feature.

The former is part of a 17-strong entry from the Emerald Isle, although the Willie Mullins-trained Royal Alphabet, who had been third favourite at 12-1 with Ladbrokes, misses out.

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