Differing fortunes for Irish Arkle Chase hopes

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There were vastly differing fortunes for the three Cheltenham Festival Arkle Chase hopes who faced the starter at Leopardstown on Sunday for the Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novices' Chase, writes Elliot Slater. 

Flat Out, Realt Dubh and Noble Prince were all carrying the hopes of their respective connections, with a place in the big event at Cheltenham being a realistic option, and coming down to the second last all three were in with a chance. It was at that penultimate fence that the Willie Mullins-trained Flat Out nosed marginally ahead, only to go crashing to the ground and leave Noel Meade's Realt Dubh and Paul Nolan's Noble Prince to fight it out, with the former eventually prevailing by a short-head in a thrilling finish. 

It's hard to know if Flat Out would have gone on to win as Realt Dub hadn't yet been asked the question, and as things turned out Noble Prince rallied strongly as well, but bookmakers reacted by pushing Flat Out to 16/1 for the Cheltenham feature, while both Realt Dubh, and Noble Prince had their odds significantly reduced. Anyone thinking about putting a horse racing bet on the event should bear this in mind.

Paul Carberry, rider of the winner, was seriously impressed with the performance, in particular Realt Dubh's jumping, and winning trainer Noel Meade observed that the horse seems to be only now coming to hand after failing to sparkle in his homework over the Christmas period. 

Paul Nolan made it clear that his horse will not run again before Cheltenham. His mind has not yet been made up as to whether Noble Prince should go for the 'Arkle' or tackle the half-mile further trip of the Jewson Novices' Chase, for which he is a best priced 16/1 shot. 

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