13.30 Cheltenham: Guitar Pete can call the tune in Triumph
Guitar Pete looks to hold outstanding claims of landing the Triumph Hurdle and providing trainer Dessie Hughes with back-to-back successes in the race.
The Irish handler sent out Our Conor to win the race in runaway style 12 months ago and Guitar Pete is a progressive type who has some rock-solid form to his name.
The gelding has won four of his six starts over hurdles and put in his most impressive performance last time out when destroying some highly-regarded types in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
He traveled strongly and jumped well throughout the Grade 1 contest and after taking up the running entering the straight, shot clear in the hands of Barry Geraghty to beat Tiger Roll with far more in hand than the 2 3/4 length winning margin suggests.
The pair finished 3 3/4 lengths clear of the rest to give the form a solid look and the race has provided major contenders for the Triumph Hurdle in recent years.
Our Conor won it last year before going on to land the Triumph and the two previous runnings of the race had been won by Unaccompanied and Hisaabaat, who both went on to finish runner-up in the race.
With Paul Carberry now taking over in the saddle, he looks the one they all have to beat.
The biggest danger could well be John Ferguson’s Broughton.
The son of Teofilo was a decent middle-distance performer on the flat when trained by Mark Johnston and put up a promising effort on his hurdling debut for Ferguson when finishing second at Doncaster in December.
He then ran out the impressive winner of the Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial at Musselburgh on his latest start, where he jumped particularly well and showed a smart turn of foot to beat Clarcam by five lengths.
The gelding will be well suited by a strong gallop, which can usually be guaranteed in this contest, and his turn of foot could be a potent weapon if he is in contention at the final flight.