Simonsig pulled out all the stops to win the 2013 Arkle Challenge Trophy as he was chased all the way to the line by a superb performance from Baily Green, who was just touched off by Nicky Henderson's 8/15 favourite in the 2m Grade One.
Overturn was sent to the front early and kept up a blistering gallop, but he was struggling turning from the top of the hill and his race was run and it was Baily Green who was the biggest danger to the market leader, as he was running a corker for Mouse Morris at 33/1.
However, Barry Geraghty managed to find a big leap at the last fence and he stayed on well to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths and keep the Arkle crown in the Seven Barrows stable.
2:40 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m
1. Simonsig - B J Geraghty - N J Henderson 8/15 Fav
2. Baily Green - D J Casey - M F Morris 33/1
3. His Excellency - T Scudamore - D Pipe 80/1
The Arkle Challenge Trophy is a Grade One chase run at the Cheltenham Festival over two miles for horses aged five years or older.
Named after arguably one of the best chasers to ever have graced the national hunt game, Arkle, who amassed three Cheltenham Gold Cup wins during the 1960's, the race sees the leading novice chasers go to post to contest the two-mile contest on the opening day of the Festival.
Having been introduced to replace the Cotswold Chase, the Arkle often sees runners who have contested the Champion Hurdle the following year stepping up to the chasing game and trying their hand at the larger obstacles.
Down the years there have been some top class winners of the race including the mighty Flyingbolt, who won the race in 1965 for trainer Tom Dreaper en route to become one of the greatest racehorses in recent memory.
More recently, Moscow Flyer won the 2002 renewal for trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Barry Geraghty and used it as a springboard to bigger and better things as he went on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase on two occasions in 2003 and 2005.
Azertyioup was another who emulated Moscow Flyer's feat by winning the Arkle before returning to the Cheltenham Festival to win the Champion Chase. Sizing Europe was the last to achieve the coveted double after bagging the 2009 Arkle for trainer Henry De Bromhead and no doubt many more will accomplish two-mile chasing dominance in both the novice and top class ranks.
No doubt certain horses will take to novice chasing from hurdling, whilst some will struggle to make the transition to the larger obstacles, but we will keep on top of the latest form for the two mile contest and closer to the meeting outline the runners.