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3 Mar 2014

1:30 Cheltenham (14th March) JCB Triumph Hurdle (Race Trends)

This Grade 1 National Hunt race is open to colts & fillies aged four years. It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 2m 1f. This race is open to novice hurdlers and run on the last day of the Cheltenham festival - Gold Cup Day. It was established in 1939, won by Grey Talk, trained by George Batchelor. In those early days it was held at Park Hurst, Surrey. Surprisingly it was contested by a number of horses trained in France. In fact six of the first seven winners were French-based. Even Letser Piggott won this race in 1954. The Triumph Hurdle moved to Cheltenham in 1965 and became part of the Festival in 1968. Most notable winner include Clair Soleil (1953), Persian War (1967), Kribensis (1988) and Katchit (2007). All these juveniles went on to win the Champion Hurdle.  Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer with five wins. Last year's race was won in fantastic style by the Dessie Hughes-trained Our Conor at odds of 4/1. 

What about the Triumph Hurdle trends? Here are some pointers. 

The vast majority of recent winners have won on their last start before the festival. Generally they have an official rating over 80 on the Flat and raced over one and a half miles. Our Conor was the first Irish horse to win in the last twelve years, so English-trained horses often hold the aces.  A preparatory race in the month before the festival is another key factor to finding a winner and most have at least three runs over hurdles. Fancied horse often go best - so outsiders are best watched. 

Paul Nicholls' Calipto looks to hold solid each way claims.      

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