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Captain takes command in Arkle

Captain Chris collared long-time leader Finian's Rainbow at the last to land a fast and furious race for the Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham.

Barry Geraghty had nearly all his rivals under pressure as Finian's Rainbow jumped boldly and cleanly throughout.

Richard Johnson produced Captain Chris (6-1) to challenge in the straight and Philip Hobbs' charge joined Finian's Rainbow at the last and galloped on strongly up the hill to win by two and three-quarter lengths, with Realt Dubh six lengths away in third.

"He's quite inexperienced and the first run of his life was only just over a year ago, but he's improved all the time and this better ground was definitely a big help," said Johnson.

"He's such a trier as well and it was great of the owners to run him in this as they could have gone for the easier race (Jewson Novices' Chase).

"He'd done nothing wrong and every race he's run in has been a high-class race. It's beautiful ground out there and they've done a great job."

Hobbs added: "We've got it right now anyway! We've always thought he wanted two and a half miles and, to be fair, I still think he does. He won despite the trip, really, but he did have enough pace for it

"He was at work quite a long way from home but his jumping was mustard. He's a gorgeous horse and people forget that he only had his first run just over a year ago.

""My first thought for next year is the King George VI Chase. He loves Kempton and he loves better ground."

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