2018 Triumph Hurdle Preview & Tips - 1.30pm Cheltenham

Leading Contenders

Our Triumph Hurdle tips reveal that the favourite has won the opening race on the final day for the last three years and despite the size of the field we have only had one surprise victory (Countrywide Flame 33/1) in the last dozen renewals.

Trainer Nicky Henderson, who will be going for his seventh victory in the Triumph Hurdle, has dominated the ante-post market. Both Apple’s Shakira and We Have A Dream have won their last four starts and there is only a pound between them on official ratings.

Lets start with Apple’s Shakira who actually opened her account at Vichy in her native France back in May. She was quickly snapped up by JP McManus and has since won three races, all at Cheltenham. The first victory was in November when she won a Grade 2 contest by 17 lengths, to be fair that form hasn’t really worked out.

Next time out she faced slightly better opposition and won by 3 ½ lengths on the bridle. Her third victory was in a so-called trial race here but she was a 1/7 favourite and was never in danger. It’s hard to judge how good she actually is and also all of her races have been in very soft ground so who knows what she will make of a sounder surface.

We Have A Dream is also originally from France and had been out three times as a 3yo before joining Henderson. He kicked off with an impressive display at Warwick where he beat 14 rivals with the minimum of fuss. He then went to Doncaster and bagged a Grade 2 prize before winning the Finale hurdle at the rearranged Chepstow meeting in January. That last win was in heavy ground and showed how versatile he is.

Last time out he travelled up to Musselburgh and won a Listed contest from Act Of Valour, he did it very easily and of the two Henderson horses he probably looks the more finished article at the moment.

Alan King has won this race a coupe of times and he has another live contender in Redicean who was a winner on the flat back in October. He made his hurdles debut at Kempton at the Christmas meeting and was quite impressive when winning by ten lengths from Haulani.

He went back to the same venue a couple of weeks later and did a similar job and has yet to be extended. On ratings alone he has to improve again to trouble the main contenders but he stays well and goes on any ground and I’m sure the trainer has left something to work on.

Sussex Ranger has done well since switching to hurdles for trainer Gary Moore, he was a 76 rated flat horse who stayed two miles so ultimately he may want further than this trip to show his best.

He won his first two starts at Fontwell and Sandown and then bumped into We Have A Dream at Chepstow. He only went down by a length and a half and probably wouldn’t have liked the sticky ground that day. He deserves to take his chance but might find one or two of these a bit speedy on decent ground.

In his Sandown race, the fifth horse that day was Esprit De Somoza trained by Nick Williams, he was bang there two out but faded late on. He then went on to beat the highly rated Gumball at Huntingdon showing much improved form and could still yet have more to offer. The yard has a good record with young French hurdlers.

The Irish have won the Triumph three times in the last five years so need to be taken seriously. Willie Mullins last won it back in 2002 so is due a bit of luck and he has several options. At the moment is best hope lies with Mr Adjudicator who bolted up on his hurdles debut and then followed up in the Grade 1 juvenile race at Leopardstown in February.

He beat Farclas in a tight finish but the pair pulled well clear of the others and both horses came out of the race with plenty of credit.

The big disappointment in that contest was Espoir D’Allen trained by Gavin Cromwell and owned by JP McManus. He was made the odds on favourite after turning up unbeaten in four starts. He pulled far too much for his own good and could easily bounce back at Cheltenham with a stronger pace to help him settle.

He has previously finished in front of Farclas in a Grade 2 event at Leopardstown at the Christmas meeting, he won that comfortably so it’s hard to fathom out his poor effort last time. Farclas has now finished second in two top juvenile races and is obviously a smart horse. He will be the leading hope of Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown who won this with Tiger Roll back in 2014.

Another decent juvenile to look at is Stormy Ireland, he is owned by Jared Sullivan and has only had one run since coming over from France. He came with hurdling experience and put that to good use when running out an emphatic winner by an amazing 58 lengths at Fairyhouse. He could be absolutely anything and has to come into calculations.



Triumph Hurdle Runners

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Triumph Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Jockey Trainer SP
2017 Defi Du Seuil Ricahrd Johnson Philip Hobbs 5/2
2016 Ivanovich Gorbatov Barry Geraghty Aidan O'Brien 9/2
2015 Peace And Co Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 2/1
2014 Tiger Roll Davy Russell Gordon Elliott 10/1
2013 Our Conor Bryan Cooper Dessie Hughes 4/1
2012 Countrywide Flame Dougie Costello John Quinn 33/1
2011 Zarkandar Daryl Jacob Paul Nicholls 13/2
2010 Soldatino Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 6/1
2009 Zaynar Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 11/2
2008 Celestial Halo Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls 5/1

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