Cheltenham - At The Races

13:30 Cheltenham 15 Mar 2019

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

Winner £70,338 - 14 ran

1

2m 179y

Good to Soft

View Course Guide

Weighed In

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.

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

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2018 Soft 9 Farclas 4 11 0 - 4-44122 40 days G Elliott J W Kennedy 9/1 4:17.00
2017 Good 15 Defi Du Seuil 4 11 0 - 111111 48 days P Hobbs (90 miles) R Johnson 5/2 4:00.20
2016 Good 15 Ivanovich Gorbatov 4 11 0 - 3-1114 41 days A P O'Brien B J Geraghty 9/2 3:55.10
2015 Soft 16 Peace And Co 4 11 0 - 111 48 days N Henderson (51 miles) B J Geraghty 2/1 4:40.40
2014 Good 15 Tiger Roll 4 11 0 - 12 33 days G Elliott D N Russell 10/1 4:01.10
2013 Good to Soft 17 Our Conor 4 11 0 - 323111 34 days D T Hughes B J Cooper 4/1 4:11.10
2012 Good 20 Countrywide Flame 4 11 0 - 112123 33 days J J Quinn (194 miles) D Costello 33/1 3:58.80
2011 Good 23 Zarkandar 4 11 0 - 1231 20 days P Nicholls (69 miles) D Jacob 13/2 3:54.20
2010 Good 19 Soldatino 4 11 0 - 11 20 days N Henderson (51 miles) B J Geraghty 6/1 4:04.90
2009 Good to Soft 18 Zaynar 4 11 0 - 92211 55 days N Henderson (51 miles) B J Geraghty 11/2 4:03.90