This year’s renewal of the Arkle looks as open as any in the past decade and with four places on offer with most firms, I’m taking a chance on Gabynako.
A decent sort over fences, he has certainly improved for the switch to the larger obstacles and would’ve won what was admittedly a below-par renewal of the Grade 1 Drinmore at Fairyhouse in late November had he jumped the last two a bit better.
He can be forgiven his run in deep ground in the Grade 1 at Limerick over Christmas and the fact he has been off since is a positive, as he goes well fresh.
The fact he has been supplemented for this is a strong vote of confidence from his trainer, who has had winners at double-figure prices in both the Stayers’ Hurdle (Flooring Porter last year) and Champion Hurdle (the ill-fated Espoir D’Allen in 2019) in the past few years.
I think the ground is spot on for him and the drop back to two miles is a really interesting move and well worth a try. The first-time tongue-tie could bring about some improvement and he doesn’t have much to find on figures, so the 18-1 on offer is appealing.
2.10pm Cheltenham – 1pt each-way Gabynako @ 18-1 4 places (various)