Last year’s race
- Winner: Defi Du Seuil
- Jockey: R Johnson
- Trainer: P J Hobbs
- Owner: Mr John P McManus
- Age: 4 Weight: 11st 0lb
- Starting Price: 5/2f
- Season Form Figures: 11
- Previous Best: 1st - Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1), Chepstow (Dec 2016)
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, 11 of the 13 Triumph winners could be found in the first four in the betting. 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 five of the last nine runnings.
The Adonis Hurdle and the Spring Juvenile Hurdle have provided the Triumph Hurdle winner between them on ten occasions in the last 18 years. Mr Adjudicator beat Farclas into second in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, a race that has featured four of the last six Triumph winners. Supporters of the runner-up should not give up hope however as three of those four winners were beaten in this trial and Farclas may be the stronger stayer of the pair, and the Triumph is run over 1f further and over a stiffer track. Five of the last 18 Adonis winners then added the Triumph.
Since the Fred Winter became part of the Festival, 11 of the 13 Triumph winners could be found in the first four in the betting.
The Finesse Hurdle at Cheltenham on Trials Day, won this season by Apple’s Shakira, struggled for a long time but Katchit, Peace And Co and Defi Du Seuil added the Triumph after proving successful there in more recent years. Three winners secured a Newbury victory earlier in the season going back to 2006. Alongside the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle winner, We Have A Dream, she will be bidding to give Nicky Henderson a seventh Triumph winner. Paul Nicholls has won the Triumph twice, both with Flat breds. Alan King has saddled two winners, two seconds and two thirds in the last 11 runnings.
Five of the last 11 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 five years ago, the previous 14 winners that had raced on the Flat had all run over at least 1m4f.
The Irish were dominant two years ago posting a 1-2-3-4 continuing their good recent run following wins for Our Conor and Tiger Roll in two of the previous three seasons that followed an 11-year drought. They also supplied the second, third, fourth and fifth last season.
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.
At a glance summary
- First four in the betting
- The Adonis Juvenile Hurdle winner
- Contested the Spring Juvenile Hurdle
- Trained in Ireland, 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
- Rated below 140 on BHA hurdling figures