Ireland will be looking to continue their dominance in the Cross Country Chase this year at the Cheltenham Festival in the most unique contest of the four days.
The Irish have won seven of the eight runnings of this race and did actually have a 100% record until Balthazar King broke that trend for trainer Philip Hobbs 12 months ago.
Enda Bolger will be hoping for his first win in the Cross Country since 2009. He prevailed as a trainer in four of the first five running since the inauguration in 2005. This year he has four entries in the race with the market suggesting Arabella Boy is his best chance of success. He currently heads the betting in the 3m7f contest where 32 varying obstacles have to be cleared.
The eight-year old has won twice at Punchestown this season. In November he scored by just under a length in a 3m chase on heavy ground.
Then a couple of months later, he returned to the same racecourse to prevail in a Cross Country Chase where Nina Carberry guided him home ahead of Big Shu and Long Strand. He did though take part in the Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in December where he unseated Carberry during the International Meeting.
Joining Arabella Boy at the top end of the market is Outlaw Pete who is also trained in Ireland by John Halley and runs in the colours of John McManus. He won the race at Prestbury Park earlier this season over the cross country course and will be looking to complete the double there when he returns next month.
The seven-year old came home seven lengths clear of Bostons Angel who is also likely to be back on day one of the Festival looking to go one better than his run in December.