L'ami Serge can topple Douvan to provide trainer Nicky Henderson with another winner of the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival
Douvan is long odds-on to land the Racing Post Arkle Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 15th, but L’ami Serge looks decent value at a standout 8/1 with Boylesports to lower the colours of the Willie Mullins-trained hot-pot.
The gelding had some smart for to his name when trained in France by Guillalme Macaire, and developed into a top class hurdler last season after joining trainer Nicky Henderson.
After cruising home by six lengths in a Listed handicap hurdle at Newbury on his first start for the Seven Barrows handler, L’Ami Serge registered a facile seven length success over Killutagh Vic in a Grade 2 contest at Ascot.
The six-year-old then took the step up into Grade 1 company in his stride when running out the 14 length winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown, and backed that up with a cracking fourth of 12 to Douvan (4/7 favourite with Sky Bet) in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival.
Nothing went right for L’Ami Sege in the latter, as he made a mistake when unsighted at the first before losing more valuable ground after getting badly hampered at the fourth.
It was to his credit that he managed to get back into the contest, but he was then hampered again when making headway two from home and eventually could only keep on at the once pace to be beaten 10 1/2 lengths.
Given how the race panned out it was a remarkable effort, as L’ami Serge would no doubt have given the winner plenty to think about granted an untroubled passage.
It’s clear that the strapping son of King’s Theatre has a huge engine and bags of talent, and he has made an impressive life to start over fences this season.
L’ami Serge jumped well and made all to slam Doctor Harper by 27 lengths on debut over the larger obstacles at Plumpton, and the runner-up is a highly regarded David Pipe inmate who has since gone on to be beaten just four lengths by the very useful Garde la Victoire before sauntering to success in a decent novice contest at Ludlow.
That give the form a strong look, and L’ami Serge barely had to break sweat to follow-up last time out by six lengths at Wetherby.
Judged on those performances L’ami Serge has the potential to go right to the very top as a chaser, and he is a strong travelling type who has a potent turn of pace.
He also stays further than the 2m Arkle trip, and that is another plus in a race that is usually run at a break-neck gallop.
Henderson also knows what is required to win the Arkle having saddled a record five winners in the Grade 1 contest, and L’ami Serge has all the right attributes to add to that tally.