Our Conor and Rolling Aces must overcome their breeding in Triumph
The Triumph Hurdle has increasingly become a race associated with ex-flat racing recruits in recent years with nine of the last 10 winners having competed on the level earlier in their careers.
As a result nine of the last 10 Triumph winners were sired by flat sires and the relative racing ability of those sires has been a good predictor of success in the Festival’s hurdle for four-year-olds, with all nine of those flat-bred winners being sired by a Group 1 winning flat horse.
Surprisingly this is a trend which counts against two of those in the top three in the betting this time around with neither Our Conor or Rolling Aces sufficiently blue blooded.
Course and distance winner Far West is sired by Group 1 winning miler Poliglote, however he has never had a competitive outing on the flat.
There are others in the market sired not just by G1 winners, but by the princes of the flat game. Diakali and Swynymor are sired by Sinndar and Dylan Thomas respectively, both victors in flat racing’s most prestigious prize – the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.
When it comes to flat form Swynymor along with Ruacana top the pile among those raced in Britain, rated 87 and 88 in that sphere respectively and whilst neither boast the hurdles form to divert punters from Our Conor in their droves, their flat speed could come into play on the long run to the line after the last which is particularly lengthy in this race.
Unfortunately for the pair, eight of the last 10 winners were also victorious in their previous race, although Countrywide Flame proved this was far from essential last year, when an unfancied 33/1 winner.
As we run the rule over the betting the first horse that appears to satisfy both the trends for winning hurdles form and G1 breeding is John Quinn’s Hidden Justice.
Sired by Lawman – a dual G1-winning miler – he smashed next time out winner Only Orsenfoolsies by 15 lengths on his hurdles bow.
The fact that that win came in a field of 13 a boon to his chances in the Triumph, which has seen at least 17 runners in the last three renewals.