Footpad – Irish Arkle (Dublin Racing Festival)

A huge talent – Footpad runs out an ultimately impressive winner at Leopardstown to make it three from three over fences and two successive Grade 1 victories over the larger obstacles in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase – otherwise known as the Irish Arkle – at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival under jockey Paul Townend for trainer Willie Mullins and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

What’s going to beat this horse at the Cheltenham Festival in March? Nothing according to the bookmakers, as the six-year-old is odds-on in some lists to land the Arkle Chase on the opening day of the meeting and will surely go down as one of the ‘banker’ bets of the meeting for thousands of hopeful punters.

Mullins said: “He did it the hard way and jumped well in front. I think he pecked a bit at the last, but it was a very good performance.

“We didn’t set out to make it, but Paul wasn’t happy there was enough pace so he went on.

“Footpad was fourth in a Champion Hurdle, but we thought he would be going two and a half miles or more over fences. The first day he jumped he was very good and when you can jump, you can go any trip.”

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