pad to sail in arkle.
Byline: PETER O'HEHIR
THE Willie Mullins-trained Footpad should retain his unbeaten record over fences in today's Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase.
An accomplished hurdler last season, when he finished second to Petit Mouchoir in the Irish Champion Hurdle and fourth to Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, he has been hugely impressive in two outings over fences this season.
A fast, slick jumper, he impressed on his fencing bow in Navan and then bolted-up in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase over today's course and distance at Christmas, slamming Any Second Now by 11 lengths.
Rated 160 in this discipline, Footpad was inferior to chief rival Petit Mouchoir over hurdles - he finished behind the grey in both the Ryanair Hurdle and Irish Champion Hurdle on this track.
Petit Mouchoir produced a flawless display when scoring on his chasing debut at Punchestown in October before suffering a setback. And he hasn't been seen since.
Returning from a break, Petit Mouchoir faces a tough task against Footpad in a fascinating five-horse race, in which both Gigginstown House Stud (Petit Mouchoir and Tycoon Prince) and J P McManus (Demi Sang and Any Second Now) will be doubly-represented.
FESTIVAL FANCY Footpad should retain his unbeaten record in today's 2.20