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NEWS: Seebald to go straight for Arkle; Pipe star 7-2 favourite for two-mile showpiece.


SEEBALD, installed as 7-2 favourite yesterday in Ladbrokes' first prices for the Arkle Trophy, is unlikely to race again before Cheltenham, writes Seb Vance.

The Martin Pipe-trained seven-year-old was one of 57 entries unveiled for the pounds 125,000 contest, sponsored by the Irish Independent, on March 12.

Seebald has an unblemished record over fences, recording seven successive victories for his owners Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler, whose racing interests are managed by former jockey Graham Bradley.

"I think the plan is to go straight for the Arkle," Bradley confirmed, despite the fact that the gelding holds an entry in the Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

"He's won twice round Cheltenham and he likes good ground. He's had seven runs and I think he's got the experience. He has the speed for two miles and the stamina for two and a half-he's going to take a lot of beating."

Seebald's main market rival Barton, the 1999 Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle winner and a 6-1 chance with Ladbrokes, was also confirmed in the entries.

Other possible contenders include the Nicky Henderson-trained pair Fondmort and Blue Royal, Armaturk and St Pirran, from the Paul Nicholls stable, and Truckers Tavern, an easy winner at Newcastle on Wednesday for Ferdy Murphy.

The seven-year-old also holds an entry in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase over an extended three miles the following day, although Murphy said the Arkle was a more likely target.

The rising star is set to have two runs prior to the two-mile contest, in the pounds 20,000 two-mile novice chase at Towcester before going to

Ireland for the (Dr PJ) Moriarty Novices' Chase on January 31 at Leopardstown.

Murphy said: "Even though he's in the SunAlliance, it's not a race I would really want to run him in. We'll see how it goes but I'd much prefer to run him in the Arkle, he's one of those horses who's learning all the time. In time, he's going to be a very good horse and that's why I don't want to go down the real tough route with him-he's still only young."

A strong overseas entry includes Guillaume Macaire's pair Imlight and Mont Misere from France, and a record batch of 15 from Ireland headed by Jessica Harrington's exciting Moscow Flyer, along with the JP McManus pair of Youlneverwalkalone and Grimes, both trained by Christy Roche.

nEntries, page 55


Seebald: yet to be beaten in seven outings over fences
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2002
Previous Article:Tote predicting Jackpot pool of up to pounds 300,000.
Next Article:NEWS: SunAlliance Chase next on agenda for Maximize.

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