Jonbon Warms Up for Cheltenham Festival with Kingmaker Success

Unbeaten chaser Jonbon landed the Grade Two Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick on his final start before the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. The success brought his record over fences to three wins from three appearances.

Nicky Henderson’s runner had just one rival to beat in the 2m contest, and he prevailed comfortably, finishing just over five lengths ahead of Calico. Under the hands of his regular rider Aidan Coleman, he was not fluent over all his fences, but he showed his class in the home straight.

Looking Ahed to Cheltenham

In the odds for Cheltenham Festival 2023, Jonbon is +150 to win the Arkle Trophy. That race has been the plan all season for him, especially after he impressed on his chase debut at Warwick, beating Monmiral by seven lengths. Nicky Henderson’s impressive novice chaser goes into the Arkle as a Grade One winner. As you can see in the latest racing result, he won the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown back in December. He dominated in that contest at the Esher-based racecourse, proving why he is considered one of the leading contenders for the day one contest at the Festival.

Henderson has won the Arkle a record seven times, so he knows exactly the type of horse required to come on top in the 2m race. His last victory came in 2021 when Shishkin prevailed. He will be hoping Jonbon goes on to have a similar career to his four-time Grade One winning chaser.

El Fabiolo Tops Arkle Betting

Despite Jonbon’s impressive performance at Warwick, it is El Fabiolo who tops the betting to win the Arkle this year. The Irish horse is also a Grade One winner as he landed the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival earlier in the campaign.

Willie Mullins’ runner has a 100% record over fences as he also scored on his chase debut at Fairyhouse. The margin of victory in that beginners’ chase was 19 lengths. That performance was enough to convince his connections that they should jump to the highest level with their horse.

El Fabiolo and Jonbon met last season at Aintree in the Grade One Top Novices’ Hurdle. They had a great battle in the closing stages of that race on Merseyside, with Jonbon prevailing by a neck.

Mullins’ chaser bypassed the Cheltenham Festival in 2022 due to a lack of experience. He arrived in Ireland from France earlier in that campaign. The six-year-old won a maiden hurdle at Tramore in January on his first outing for his new connections. The Irish Champion trainer then held him back for the Grand National Festival at Aintree.

With more experience on his side now, Mullins will be confident his novice chaser is ready for his first shot at the biggest meeting of the season in National Hunt racing. El Fabiolo will be bidding to give his trainer his fifth win in the race.

The 2023 Arkle Trophy takes place on March 14. It is one of four Grade One races on the opening day of the meeting


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