High Expectations for Medermit

A great racehorse, foaled in April 1957 and passed away in May 1970, will be remembered as one of the most magnificent steeplechase horses of our life time. Arkle, who was owned by the Duchess of Westminister, Anne Grosvenor, left a huge legacy behind, and today his name is synonymous with one of the Cheltenham Festival’s toughest events. The first race was run in 1946 under the name the Cotswold Chase, but was changed to the Arkle Challenge Trophy in 1969 to pay tribute to the iconic horse. Trainer Alan King firmly believes that he has a horse that will be an ideal candidate to win the 2011 Arkle Challenge Trophy.

The Arkle Challenge Trophy is run over a distance of more than two miles, and is a race that is exclusively for novice horses that are five years and older. No matter the experience a horse has, the four and a half foot fences, of which there are twelve, are still a daunting. The race is run at the Old Cheltenham Course, Prestbury Park, and is a Grade 1 National Hunt Steeplechase event.

Most trainers take a few horses to the Cheltenham Festival to run in the various events, and some even enter more than one of their horses into the same event. When looking at his team, Alan King sees Medermit as his most likely candidate to win the Arkle Challenge Trophy. Jockey Choc Thornton seems to agree with King, as they teamed up to win the Arkle with Voy Por Ustedes in 2006 and with My Way de Solzen in 2007. According to King, Medermit is much faster than My Way de Solzen and his progress has been astounding. He has not won three of this five career starts, of which his latest was a Grade 1 event at Sandown. Thorton commented: “He wasn’t a natural to start with, but I always knew he’d progress. At Sandown he was foot-perfect and, despite refusing at Huntingdon on his second start, he’s turned out a very straightforward ride. Tactically he’s very versatile. He has won over two and a half miles, which is ideal because they’ve got to stay to win the Arkle.”

With so much expectation and confidence in Medermit, it will be interesting to see how well he performs in this massive event. And if all goes accord to plan, Medermit, Thornton and King will be standing in the winner’s circle holding the trophy for the 2011 Arkle Challenge.