Past Winners » Arvika Ligeonniere


I think that they have the betting wrong here, I don’t think that Dedigout should be as far in front of Arvika Ligeonniere as he is, and Willie Mullins’s horse is well worth backing at 100/30 or 3/1.

Dedigout is obviously a really exciting young chaser, he won four of his five hurdle races last season, including the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, and he was impressive in winning his beginners’ chase back at Punchestown four weeks ago, with the horse that chased him home, Happy New Year, at a distance of 34 lengths, coming out and winning twice since.

He goes well right-handed, he loves soft ground, and he is built to be a better chaser than a hurdler. There is a lot to like.

However, there is a lot to like about Arvika Ligeonniere as well. Always highly-regarded (he was sent off at 2/5 to beat Al Ferof in a bumper on his debut in Ireland at this meeting three years ago), Willie Mullins’s horse was a progressive novice hurdler three seasons ago, he ran really well for a long way in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle in 2010 before his stamina for the trip on really testing ground just seemed to run out.

Impressive winner of a novices’ hurdle at Punchestown after that, he was off the track from then until last May, when he returned in a beginners’ chase and put up a really classy and accurate display of jumping to win easily. The runner-up hasn’t run since, but the third horse, Glibin, came out and won her beginners’ chase on her next outing.

It is significant that Mullins is pitching Arvika Ligeonniere into the Drinmore on just his second ever run over fences. He also had Mikaeal D’Haguenet entered in the race, but he goes in a beginners’ chase today instead. Very soft ground is a little bit of a concern, but only because it could reduce the potency of Arvika Ligeonniere’s jumping. He does go well on soft ground, he has won and run well on heavy and, as long as he settles early on for Ruby Walsh, he should go close. He is a really exciting prospect.