Horses To Follow » Arvika Ligeonniere

Arvika Ligeonniere

It was difficult not to be impressed with the authority with which Arvika Ligeonniere won the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday, and he looks like a horse who could go to the very top over fences.

He set a fierce pace and, in truth, it never looked like he would be caught, his rivals were never able to live with him and never seriously threatened to get him back. His jumping, while not quite as flawless as at Punchestown in May on his chasing bow, was nimble and efficient. He is a serious talent.

Willie Mullins’s gelding should be even better on better ground, the ground was probably soft enough for him here. On the only occasion in his career to date that he has encountered a genuinely sound surface, he was a really impressive winner of a novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in 2010 when he was dropping back to two miles, having failed to stay in the three-mile Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham on rain-softened ground, travelling best of all to the second last before wilting from the turn in.

The son of Arvico was off the track for two years after his Punchestown win, but he is still only seven-going-on-eight, he has had just eight races in his life now, and he has obviously come back better than ever from his time off. The Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase over two miles at Leopardstown over Christmas is the logical target for him now, he has the pace to drop back to two miles easily, and he will be a big player in the Arkle at Cheltenham if he is kept to two miles. He could easily step back up to two and a half or even three miles though, if not this season then perhaps next term. He is one of the most exciting novice chasers that we have seen this season.

2nd December 2012