The Inside Track on the Triumph Hurdle
The Triumph Hurdle like so many races at this year’s Cheltenham Festival is a challenging conundrum. There appears a strong likelihood that the ground by Friday is going to be extremely good, and possibly even after watering has taken place. It will be a world apart from nearly every bit of form on the table.
Suddenly we all have to become breeding experts desperately making assumptions about which horse will love the ground and which horse won’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 25 years of punting, it’s that trying to second guess a horse’s propensity to act or not act on the Cheltenham sod will usually end up with you getting it horribly wrong.
So I now take a far more simplistic approach. If I’m not sure then I will assume it will. Having established that policy I will now confidently select LE ROCHER to win the Triumph. He has by far the best form in the book. He won the Coral.co.uk Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in fantastic fashion and then took the JCB Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham in January.
He is tough and classy and should prove too good for a fairly average juvenile crop. I might also point out, in the interests of second-guessing his propensity to act on the ground, that the progeny of his brilliant sire have an excellent strike rate on good ground of 19 per cent.
For a value alternative that certainly will relish the underfoot conditions look no further than Broughton. He was rated in the 90s on the flat and followed up an encouraging debut with an impressive win at Musselburgh last time out. It’s only a matter of time before John Ferguson has a Festival winner and this could be the one.
Selection: Le Rocher