This year’s Arkle Trophy looks one of the most competitive races at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2012.

At this early stage of the new campaign, Peddlers Cross heads the betting for the race for novice chasers over two miles on the opening day of the festival.

The Donald McCain-trained runner finished second in last season’s Champion Hurdle, but is now expected to be set for a career as a chaser with the Arkle the target in mind in March, if his preparation runs go to plan. People looking for tips for Cheltenham betting should remember this.

Before his defeat at the festival last season, Peddlers Cross was unbeaten in his opening six runs, which included victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle in 2010.

Menorah is another horse who is expected to begin a chase career this time around. He was a disappointing fifth in the Champion Hurdle earlier in March. Those looking at the Cheltenham betting tips will remember this.

The six-year old looked a prime contender for the big race at the festival after winning the Grade Two International Hurdle and the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, both at Prestbury Park, before the Cheltenham Festival arrived.

Nicky Henderson may look to the Arkle as a potential target for Sprinter Sacre, following a third place finish in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last time out. With the Champion Hurdle set to be dominated by Hurricane Fly, they may see the novice chase race as a more favourable option.

Cue Card went off short-priced favourite for the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year, and is also a likely candidate for the Arkle next time around. Colin Tizzard’s five-year old won on his chase debut at Chepstow on October 8, and looked to take to fences quite easily, in a sound round of jumping.

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