THE Triumph Hurdle is the ultimate test for four-year-old at the Cheltenham Festival, run over an extended two miles and a furlong on the New Course. With this race being for novices only, it has often pointed to inexperience to being a problem in the past.
Irish gelding Our Conor is the bookies’ favourite at this stage. He has made an impression by winning his three hurdles to date, most notably last time out when he triumphed in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, beating two from the Willie Mullins yard who had won both their starts over hurdles previously.
Rolling Star was last seen landing the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial over C&D in late-January beating a good horse like Irish Saint over 2l. He has it to prove on better ground (1l second of three runners on the Flat on good to soft), but the fact Henderson won this twice in the last four years bodes well for his followers.
Far West is three from three since coming over from France for Paul Nicholls and showing he has a top class engine inside. He has won two Triumph Hurdle Trials over C&D back in November and December by wide margins
Kashmir Peak he is sure to improve on better ground following wins at Market Rasen, Doncaster and Musselburgh. He shows an admirable attitude and there is surely further progress left in his jumping locker.
Diakali, probably Willie Mullins' best juvenile, has been most impressive in winning twice since his arrival from France.
Swnymore, an easy winner over his debut over hurdles, was travelling best of all when seemingly having the race at his mercy at Chepstow in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle when falling at the last. Hasn’t been seen since that and hopefully the heavy fall suffered hasn’t left its mark on this bright young hurdling prospect.
Vasco Du Ronceray has twice disappointed at Cheltenham and then up at Doncaster before a better run in the Adonis at Kempton.
Lac Fontana clearly has a big reputation back home at Ditcheat and was well supported to make a winning UK debut at Newbury the weekend but his ability to jump hurdles fluently has to be questioned on that performance.
Somemothersdohavem and Masters Blazing could represent good options at bigger prices. Both horses earned their stripes last week, with Somemothersdohavem winning a competitive heat at Doncaster and Masters Blazing scoring on his jumps debut at Ludlow.
Chris Pea Green has looked good on his two hurdling starts to date and showed a good turn of foot to settle things last time out in a decent race. He is an outsider with a chance of making the frame.
Hidden Justice, representing last year's winning trainer John Quinn, looks easily the best of the outsiders.
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