Cheltenham - At The Races

13:30 Cheltenham 15 Mar 2019

JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO only)

Winner £70,338 - 40 entered to run

1

Gary Nutting
by Gary Nutting

Published 10th February

There are similarities between JCB Triumph Hurdle hotpot Sir Erec and fellow Irish-trained contender CARLO BIRAGHI whose much bigger odds make him a sporting selection in the juvenile feature.

Joseph O’Brien’s market leader is prohibitively short at a general 6-4 even accounting for his impressive Grade 1 success at the Dublin Racing Festival, which followed a narrow victory over Tiger Tap Tap on his jumping debut, also at Leopardstown.

The Willie Mullins-trained gelding was comfortably held in fourth in the ‘rematch’ so either Sir Erec has taken a marked step forward or his rival is another from his stable to have performed below par in recent weeks.

As a 109-rated stayer on the Flat, who was having only his fifth career start when third to Stradivarius on Champions’ Day in the autumn, the Camelot colt could well prove different gravy in his new discipline.

Then again Carlo Biraghi was no slouch on the level himself, decisively beating a classy field of maidens on his debut at the Curragh - including Giuseppe Garibaldi and Astronomer, who ended up with strikingly similar ratings to Sir Erec’s.

The placed horses that day had previously shaped well behind Sir Erec over Christmas, so the form is not a million miles apart and Carlo Biraghi remains open to plenty more improvement given his lightly-raced profile.

Fozzy Stack’s son of Galileo found the immediate switch to a Classic campaign coming too soon for him - he ran too free in a Listed trial at Leopardstown next time and beat only two home in the Irish Derby - but was gelded and given plenty of time before reappearing over hurdles.

That was at Punchestown a month ago and as debuts go it couldn’t have been much more impressive, travelling strongly throughout and surging clear on the run-in despite swerving left at the last flight.

The placed horses that day had previously shaped well behind Sir Erec over Christmas, so the form is not a million miles apart and Carlo Biraghi remains open to plenty more improvement given his lightly-raced profile.

There is still time for another run before Cheltenham and if the gelding does make the anticipated progress, he will go there with a live chance.

ATR Exclusive Smart Boost: Get Carlo Biraghi at 18/1 to win the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Coral (was 16/1).

18+. Max bet varies. Win Only. Price subject to fluctuation. Singles only. Restrictions may apply. Limited time only.

Gary's Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):

JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE (Friday 15th March)

1pt win CARLO BIRAGHI (16-1 general)

Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo