Guitar Pete hits the high notes in Triumph Hurdle trial
The progressive Guitar Pete left some lofty reputations in tatters when running out the ready winner of the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, a race which has provided major contenders for the Triumph Hurdle in recent years.
Dessie Hughes’ gelding is now 10/1 third favourite for the juvenile contest at the Festival, and will bid to follow in the footsteps of stable companion Our Conor, who landed the double 12 months ago.
Prior to Guitar Pete’s success, the two previous runnings of the race had been won by Unaccompanied and Hisaabaat who both went on to finish runner¬ up in the Triumph.
That suggests that Guitar Pete’s chances in the Triumph have to be taken very seriously indeed, and there was absolutely no fluke about his 2 3/4 length win over Tiger Roll.
He travelled 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 win with plenty in hand.
The front pair finished 3 3/4 lengths clear of the third home Plinth, who had been second favourite for the Triumph before the race, while Willie Mullins’ highly touted Ivan Grozny was a further 1 ½ lengths back in fourth.
The latter had been the 8/1 market leader for the Triumph, but is now out to 14/1 and is due to undergo tests according to owner Graham Wylie after reportedly finishing distressed.
However, nothing should be taken away from the success of Guitar Pete who has now won three of his six starts over hurdles and is clearly improving with every run.
He was officially rated 132 going into the Leopardstown contest, and that is just 5lb lower than Our Conor was at the same stage of his career 12 months ago before going on to romp home in the Triumph.
The son of Jeremy also raced on flat tracks prior to embarking on a hurdling career, and that is a criteria which has been met by 12 of the last 13 Triumph winners.
Geraghty, who was partnering him for the first time at Leopardstown, was certainly impressed.
He said: “He jumped exceptional and travelled strongly throughout. He also finds when you ask him and stays. He has all the right credentials needed in a Triumph Hurdle horse.”
Most pundits share this view and the 10/1 currently looks excellent value given his profile.