Making his debut in Britain after three runs in France , Sam Winner proved far too good for his rivals in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial. Jockey Noel Fehily barely had to move as the French-bred gelding carried Angela Yeoman’s colours to victory by 15 lengths, and trainer Paul Nicholls said: “He’s been really good at home and we’ve liked him from day one and it was just a matter of getting him strong enough and forward enough to run today.
“He’s having a good blow, which is a good sign, but he’s been an awesome jumper since he first came in. He had three runs at Auteuil and if they can jump round there it’s good form.
“The best thing is he finished racing over there in April and had a good summer break at grass. Until you run them, you don’t know how good they are, but we’ve got a better idea now. The hurly-burly of the JCB Triumph Hurdle isn’t going to worry him because he’s a big horse and he jumps well. What I wouldn’t do is risk him on fast ground, but we’ll run him while we can.
Noel Fehily added: “He feels like a very nice horse. They went a very strong gallop early doors and I let him take his time early. He has made up the ground so easily and galloped all the way to the line. He’s entitled to be favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle after that.”
Sam Winner is the 7/1 ante-post favourite with Paddy Power for the JCB Triumph Hurdle Odds for the Festival in March.