The names of Azertyuiop and Best Mate are among those engraved upon the roll of honour for the Independent Newspaper Novices' Chase, but bookmakers yesterday could not decide whether Moon Over Miami reflected something of their glory, or was merely cast in their shadow.
At least his trainer is prey to no such doubt. After watching his decisive defeat of Predateur, Charlie Mann sounded certain that this is a young steeplechaser whose career is very much on the wax.
A winner over hurdles at this meeting last year, Moon Over Miami had disappointed on his chasing debut at Kempton last month. But that was his first start in 10 months and, having always been a restless type, he burned himself up off a slow pace. Though "gutted", Mann remained convinced that he would still hold his own against the best.
"He has now come here twice and won twice, and the Arkle is the obvious target," Mann said. "I've been thinking that way since the summer. So let's hope we get some of this rain here in March as well. A lot of thanks has to go to my assistant, Jeremy Young, who rides him every day and has been the making of this horse."
It must be said that Moon Over Miami's task was greatly simplified by the falls of Leslingtaylor, Tramantano and Papini, but his own jumping was certainly stylish under Noel Fehily. His love of a fierce gallop will him make a legitimate contender for the Arkle even if he happens to be caught out in small fields before then. "Hopefully he can go to the top," Fehily said.
For now, Stan James seem a little reckless in offering 33-1. Coral make Moon Over Miami 16-1, behind their 12-1 favourite, Tidal Bay, who made a couple of mistakes before outclassing his rivals at Carlisle earlier in the afternoon.
Arkle Trophy Chase (2 miles, Cheltenham Festival, 12 March 2008): Ladbrokes ante-post odds: 10-1 Tidal Bay, 16-1 Big Buck's, French Accordion, Moon Over Miami & Osana, 20-1 Leslingtaylor, Noland, Predateur & Wins Now, 25-1 othersReuse content