RACING : Arkle rumours rife

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The bookmakers' normally impeccable information network may have got its grapevines crossed yesterday when the two largest firms, William Hill and Ladbrokes, temporarily removed the Martin Pipe-trained Valfinet from their betting on Cheltenham's A rkle Chase.

David Hood, of William Hill, said: "We have heard rumours that Valfinet is a doubtful runner and have taken him out of the lists so as not to mislead punters."

Later, however, once a spokeswoman for Pipe's stable had reported that: "Mr Pipe is out today but everything is okay with the horse as far as we know," both firms reinstated Valfinet, who has been a wide-margin winner of each of his three starts over fences.

"As always, it's the money that talks first and today it was shouting out for Barna Boy and Klairon Davis while Valfinet couldn't be given away," Hood said. "However, the Pipe stable maintain the horse is okay so we will continue to quote him, but have eased him out to 6-1."

ARKLE TROPHY: (Cheltenham, 14 March) William Hill: 4-1 Gales Cavalier, 9-2 Morceli, 5-1 Klairon Davis (from 6-1), 8-1 Barna Boy (from 14-1), 10-1 High Baron & Idiot's Venture, 11-1 others.