Last year’s race
- Winner: Farclas
- Jockey: J W Kennedy
- Trainer: G Elliott
- Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
- Age: 4 Weight: 11st 0lb
- Starting Price: 9/1
- Season Form Figures: 22
- Previous Best: 2nd - Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1), Leopardstown (Feb 2018)
There can be no question that this is a different race now than before the introduction of the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in 2005 so it is a case of concentrating on the stronger patterns since that handicap’s inception. Since the Fred Winter became part of the Festival, 12 of the 14 Triumph winners could be found in the first four in the betting.
The Adonis Hurdle and the Spring Juvenile Hurdle have provided the Triumph Hurdle winner between them on 11 occasions in the last 19 years. Mr Adjudicator beat Farclas into second in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle last season and they went on to fight out the Triumph finish with the runner-up at Leopardstown reversing places for the stiffer test. Five of the last seven winners contested that Grade 1 from last month won easily this season by Sir Erec but four of those were beaten in that trial so supporters of Gardens Of Babylon, Surin and Tiger Tap Tap can take some hope from that.
Five of the last 19 Adonis Hurdle winners at Kempton then added the Triumph but the stronger British guide of late has been the Finesse Hurdle at Cheltenham on Trials Day won by a wide margin by Fakir D’Oudaries. After struggling for a long time as a guide, in more recent years Katchit, Peace And Co and Defi Du Seuil added the Triumph to their Finesse success. Three winners secured a Newbury victory earlier in the season going back to 2006.
Nicky Henderson is chasing a seventh Triumph winner and had the 1-2-3 in 2015, Paul Nicholls has won the Triumph twice, both with Flat breds and Alan King has saddled two winners, two seconds and two thirds in the last 12 runnings.
Since the Fred Winter became part of the Festival, 12 of the 14 Triumph winners could be found in the first four in the betting.
However, the Irish have won four of the last six runnings including a 1-2-3-4 last year and in 2016. They also supplied the second, third, fourth and fifth in between. Gordon Elliott has a superb record with his 4yos at the Festival having won both the Triumph and Fred Winter twice in recent years and also supplied a Triumph runner-up.
Five of the last 12 winners were officially top rated by the BHA of which three were not sent off favourite. An official rating of 140 is a pretty good cut off point. Regards ratings from the Flat, only the 67-Flat rated Spectroscope has won for horses rated lower than 80 in Britain or Ireland since 1996. Not all winners have run on the Flat as Katarino, Upgrade and Tiger Roll were sent straight over hurdles (the former had even run in a chase) and Soldatino and Defi Du Seuil started their careers in French bumpers, but if you fancy an ex-Flat horse, then make sure it has the right stamina credentials. Prior to Our Conor’s demolition job six years ago, the previous 14 winners that had raced on the Flat had all run over at least 1m4f.
If you had told me back before the 2008 running that four of the next eight winners would have won just once over timber beforehand then I would have struggled to take you seriously. Between 1993-2007 only one of the 14 winners had not won at least twice earlier in the season. With Triumph winners embarking on their hurdling debut later in the season these days, this places a restriction on the amount of hurdling experience they are likely to amass meaning that more lightly-raced types over timber are winning on a regular basis.
A fairly recent run is of importance as Zaynar’s absence of 55 days is the longest a Triumph winner has been off the course since Duke Of Monmouth defied a 78-day absence in 1992. French imports have won six of the last ten runnings.
French-breds have won five of the last ten runnings and have also supplied nine of the last 12 win-and-placed horses in the last four years.
At a glance summary
- First four in the betting
- Contested the Spring Juvenile Hurdle
- The Adonis Juvenile Hurdle winner
- Trained in Ireland (notably Gordon Elliott)
- Trained by Nicky Henderson or Alan King
- Officially rated below 80 on the Flat
- Not raced at over at least 12f if ran on the Flat
- Off the track for over eight weeks