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Triumph Hurdle betting set for shake-up as big guns clash in key trial

The Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday has proved a key Triumph Hurdle trial in recent times, and this year’s renewal looks sure to have a major impact on the ante-post market.

Unaccompanied, Hisaabaat and Our Conor won the last three runnings respectively.
Both Unaccompanied and Hisaabaat went on to finish runner-up in the Triumph, whilst Our Conor ran out one of the most impressive winners in the history of the contest when scooting home by 15 lengths 12 months ago.

That suggests that whoever wins on Sunday is sure to be a major player and the likely new favourite come March, especially given the strength of this year’s race.
Unaccompanied is the current 8/1 favourite with Coral for the Triumph following an effortless victory at Naas last time out, where he beat Indian Icon by 12 lengths.

However, the runner-up has been well beaten since to give the form far from a solid look, and the four-year-old will have to improve again if he is to turn the tables with Plinth, who beat him by a head when they met on their hurdling debuts at Leopardstown back in December.

The winner, who is owned by JP McManus, showed a really likeable attitude to prevail that day having made a slight mistake at the last.

He will be O’Brien’s first Grade 1 hurdles starter since Istabraq was pulled up as favourite for the 2002 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and is currently 14/1 with Coral for the Triumph.
Away from the ‘big two’ there are several other useful types who add spice to the contest.

One of the most interesting has to be Dessie Hughes’ Guitar Pete, who has won three of his five runs over hurdles and finished runner-up on the other two occasions.

He looked to be going the right way when bearing Clarcam by seven lengths in the Grade 2 over course and distance in December and is 16/1 with Coral for the Triumph.

Ivan Grozny’s trainer Mullins is also likely to be represented by Gitane Du Berlais, who has won a listed contest at Aintree and a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse in good style since getting turned over at odds-on on her hurdling debut behind Guitar Pete. She is currently a 14/1 chance for the Triumph.