Lack of chasing experience rules Starluck out of the Arkle

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Starluck was a high-class hurdler who was a regular contender in the top two-mile events. He managed to split Peddlers Cross and Binocular in the Fighting Fifth hurdle that was staged at Newbury earlier this season and that form marked him down as a lively outsider in the Champion Hurdle market, although never one with a serious chance of landing the spoils. He would have attracted some Cheltenham 2011 bets had he been allowed to take his chance, but they would have been speculative each-way punts.

So when you consider the consistent and high-class form he had shown in top-class hurdle races, it was no surprise to see the Alan Fleming trained gelding take a high rank in the ante-post market for the Arkle Novice Chase when connections opted to switch Starluck to fences at Huntingdon last month. When he won there with his head in his chest, all roads seemed to lead to Cheltenham and punters were beginning to get excited about a possible future star. The Cheltenham betting offers certainly suggested he was in with a chance.

However, in a somewhat surprising move connections have decided that the six-year-old will not being going to Cheltenham at all this year with a lack of experience in chasing being seen as the main reason he will not take his chance.

Instead the grey will take in a novice chase at Sandown before switching his attention to graded company at the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals. Fleming has put the gelding's Cheltenham absence down to a lack of experience over fences.

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