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Triumph Hurdle preview

The final day of the Festival kicks off with the juvenile feature, the Triumph. In theory the raw, developing hurdlers should be prone to dealing a surprise or two but those at the pointy end of the market have a very good record in recent years.

After success with Moon Racer in the Champion Bumper, it's the return of Harriet Fuller, @HattieLFuller, to the tipping podium.

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Triumph Hurdle
2m 1f New Course
£120,000 Grade 1 for 4yos
1330 GMT


The Triumph Hurdle betting is dominated by Nicky Henderson with his three runners, Peace and Co (11/4), Hargam (11/2), and Top Notch (8/1). Of these three I would give the latter the best chance tomorrow, but not as good a chance as two of Alan King’s horses.

Peace and Co has done nothing wrong, since his impressive British debut at Doncaster he then went on to win a better race at Cheltenham, confirming his promise. Peace and Co looks every bit a chaser in the making, anything he does this year will be a bonus. Whether he deserves to be the favourite is slightly questionable, with others in the race coming in withhold form as well.

One of those is Hargam, another of Henderson’s. He was beaten on his first start, but since then has gone on to win both his starts since. McCoy has been very vocal about his chances, and has said that he could well be his best chance of a winner.

Top Notch is the last of the Henderson trio, and this is a horse that I am very interested in tomorrow. Mainly due to the rain that is forecast. It's difficult to know how much Cheltenham will get and how much it will change the ground, but if there is significant rainfall then I would want to be on him rather than the other two. On the topic of drying ground at the start of the week Henderson stated that Top Notch would be vulnerable on fast ground whereas the other two would appreciate it. The night before, and we are looking at a flip situation where Top Notch could have the advantage.

He has won all five of his races, two in France and three in Britain and he has looked impressive in doing so. If the rain comes, then I would be willing to back him.

At a bigger price are my two original selections for the race (before the mention of rain), and they represent the value. Both are trained by Alan King and both have caught my eye. Karezak is a solid selection. He will run his race every time and will be involved in the business end of the race. He has been beaten by the likes of Peace and Co and Hargam but he is battle-hardened so to speak and at 20/1 I'd be very interested in backing him.

Pain Au Chocolat is completely the opposite to Karezak in the sense that we don't know how good he actually is yet. After winning at Plumpton ahead of Devilment he went on to win at Sandown, and looked every bit a smart horse. Devilment has since gone and franked the form of his Plumpton win bolting up next time out. If we use this form line then perhaps Devilment should be a selection too, but I just think Pain Au Chocolat has more potential and could be anything at the moment. He could be one of the best value bets of the Festival at 18/1.

So, while Henderson may have the fire power, King has got a great duo of horses and both are worth each way bets, as Pain Au Chocolat especially should appreciate slightly better ground than he has raced on before. As a side note, if there is a lot of rain, then I would advise you to back Top Notch at a shorter price as he could be Henderson’s best hope.

BETS
Karezak and Pain Au Chocolat each-way
If significant rain, back Top Notch as well.

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