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King Can Claim Triumph Hurdle Crown With Game Sceau Royal

Tuesday 16th February 2016

The Triumph Hurdle is a long standing race at the Cheltenham Festival and it gives punters a chance to kick off the final day of the meeting in a positive fashion. Picking the winner of the Triumph has been a tough past time though with just two winning favourites for the last 18 renewals as these young horses often head to Cheltenham for the first time in their careers.

This year's race is looking particularly wide open at this stage with no short priced favourite and a whole host of potentially excellent horses in with a chance if you take a look at the ante-post market. We have of course taken a closer look at the big juvenile hurdle of the week at Cheltenham with the hope of unearthing the value to add to our ever expanding ante-post portfolio.

Leading Triumph Contenders This Season

One stat that has emerged over the past few years when it comes to the Triumph Hurdle is that there has only been three Irish trained winners of the race in the last 14 years. The British juveniles have tended to be stronger during that time but as we look at the 2016 ante-post market we find an Irish trained favourite. What are the chances?

That favourite is the hard to gauge Ivanovich Gorbatov who goes in the JP McManus silks for Aidan O'Brien (Joseph O'Brien is the trainer but is yet to receive his full licence). Those connections are enough on their own to see this horse taken seriously with the O'Brien/JP axis along bringing back memories of the great Istabraq but is this horse the real deal or just a hype horse?

Ivanovich Gorbatov hosed up on hurdling debut at Leopardstown over Christmas to mark himself out as one to watch only to flop badly on his second start when only 4th in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle and that has left punters scratching their heads. He made an early mistake at Leopardstown and failed to and a blow when asked to pick up and how you read that form is key when looking at the Triumph.

There is no doubt that it was poor run from Ivanovich Gorbatov and it is a big ask for him to bounce back next time in the Triumph at 5/1 with Paddy Power on just his third start but he is clearly talented and should be better on decent ground given his flat form, which means we cannot rule him out despite his poor run last time.

The winner of the Spring Juvenile Hurdle ahead of Ivanovich Gorbatov last time was the Willie Mullins trained Footpad (12/1) who has to be a contender in March based on that run. He picked up very well that day to win at a big price but he wasn't particularly well fancied for that Spring Juvenile Hurdle which would be a worry and add to that the poor recent record of Irish horses in this race and you have reason enough to avoid Footpad.

The same owner of Footpad, Simon Munir, also as Sceau Royal for the Triumph Hurdle this season and he is a major threat based on his three wins already this season. Trained by Alan King, who has already won the Triumph twice, Sceau Royal has shown both heart, in beating Adrien Du Pont at Cheltenham in December, and class when winning a low level race at Huntingdon back in January which is an inviting combination.

Sceau Royal is a terrific jumper as he showed at Huntingdon last time out with his speed through the air particularly impressive. He will need more to win a Triumph of course but he has course form to go with his talent and heart which means that Sceau Royal does appeal in the Triumph market at 8/1 with Bet 365.

Sceau Royal is not the only classy juvenile in the Alan King yard this season with Gibralfaro and Who Dares Wins (14/1) also set to take their chance for the in-form handler. Who Dares Wins was super impressive when winning at Doncaster before Christmas to mark himself out as a future star but he did disappoint at Cheltenham on Trials Day when only 4th. That was a poor run but it was a messy race that day although he wasn't beaten far on very heavy ground and he deserves his place in the field on that basis.

Gibralfaro (10/1) is another French import who has won both of his starts so far including last time out when he beat Connetable (16/1) at Ascot and that form has been franked with the 2nd that day since coming out to win the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown which makes him a live contender.

Nicky Henderson has trained the Triumph winner a record six times which means his juveniles always have to be considered very closely indeed. The leading contender from Seven Barrows this season looks like being Fixe Le Cap (8/1) who is another French import who has gone unbeaten since arriving from France.

His debut win at Newbury just after Christmas looks even better now thanks to the 2nd that day, Tommy Silver (22/1), franking that form since whilst his 28 length win at Warwick last time out was equally impressive and he is another one for owner Simon Munir to go to war with next month who could be anything.

The unexposed Protek Des Flos (20/1) is another potential Seven Barrows runner in the Triumph this season and he is a fascinating contender. He won the Juvenile Race on Trials Day at Cheltenham on his first start in Britain for Henderson and is clearly a talented horse although as we mentioned before, that was a messy race and the form of that contest is hard to judge with any sort of certainty given the testing conditions that day.

Sceau Royal Looks the Bet In Open Race

Juvenile horses are by their very nature inexperienced over hurdles in the UK and that does make the Triumph Hurdle a difficult betting race. Not too many favourites win this race with a whole host of bigger priced horses open to masses of improvement on better ground in the spring. French imports are the ones to follow here with four of the last six winners coming across the channel having previously run in France and we will be sticking with the French horses.

Ivanovich Gorbatov could be the classy animal of this field and should be better on decent ground but his run last time was a poor one and taking a shortish price about him next month is not something I am prepared to do. It is the two Alan King horses that make most appeal with Gibralfaro and Sceau Royal the two who could be fighting out the finish at the prices.

On balance it is Sceau Royal who has impressed most of all with the fact he has shown plenty of heart and bravery already during his career perhaps most telling. He certainly won't be stopping up the Cheltenham hill and with his jumping hugely impressive last time out at Huntingdon, it is Sceau Royal who carries our Triumph money this season.

Tip - Sceau Royal to win the Triumph Hurdle @ 8/1 with Bet 365 or Hills

Triumph Hurdle Betting - Click To Bet

Coeur Sublime D N Russell / G Elliott 16/1 14/1
Never Adapt 20/1 16/1
Quel Destin Harry Cobden / P F Nicholls 25/1 -
Fructine 25/1 -
Adjali D A Jacob / N J Henderson 25/1 33/1
Montestrel 33/1 25/1
Lethal Steps 33/1 33/1
Style De Vole 33/1 -
Elysees 33/1 -
Manor Park 33/1 -
Black Noah 33/1 -
Jon Snow 33/1 -
Cracker Factory 33/1 -
Fugitives Drift 33/1 -
Runrized D J Mullins / W P Mullins 50/1 -
Flat To The Max - 40/1
Lisheen Castle 40/1 -
Chief Justice 50/1 33/1
Giving Glances 50/1 -
Jack Regan 50/1 -
Please God 50/1 -
Tiger Voice 66/1 -
Pilgrim Soul 66/1 -
Chica Buena 100/1 -
Nebuchadnezzar 100/1 -
Each Way Terms 3

1. Coeur Sublime D N Russell / G Elliott
3. Quel Destin Harry Cobden / P F Nicholls
5. Adjali D A Jacob / N J Henderson
15. Runrized D J Mullins / W P Mullins
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 01:43 . Odds are subject to change.
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