Kalkir Triumph Hurdle

Cheltenham ’15 – Triumph Hurdle

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Kalkir Triumph Hurdle
Keep the faith with Kalkir says Jamie Taylor.

The Triumph Hurdle is a race run for four-year-old novices run over a total distance of two miles and one furlong. The race is run on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival and opens the card for what is known as ‘Gold Cup Day.’

2007 victor, Katchit, was the first winner of this race since Kribensis in 1988 to go on to win the Champion Hurdle. On the whole, most winners tend to need much longer trips as their careers progress. Paddy’s Return for example became a top class staying hurdler, as has Zarkandar in the last couple of seasons and Katarino won the Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree over 2m 5½f two years in a row and, most notably of all, Commanche Court won the Irish National and was placed in a Gold Cup.

In the last 15 years, only one filly has been successful in landing the Triumph Hurdle and that was as far back as Francois Doumen’s Snow Drop in 2000, although Unaccompanied came 2nd to Zarkandar in 2011 so it has been proven if you are a high-class filly you can play a hand in this race so they can’t be completely discounted.

  • All 15 of recent Triumph Hurdle winners had their most recent run between 19 and 55 days prior to the Triumph Hurdle.
  • There has only been one once-raced hurdler to win the Triumph Hurdle in the last 28 years; that was Zarkandar in 2011.
  • 16 of the last 20 Triumph Hurdle winners won their last start prior to the Triumph Hurdle.

PEACE AND CO
Falco (USA) (8.6f) — Peace Lina (FR) (Linamix (FR ) (11.2f))
Notes: Is the class act in the race based on all form we have seen so far. Making his debut in the Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster he sauntered to a 19 length success virtually head in chest over admittedly not the greatest of opposition. His next outing came at Cheltenham where he ran right up to a mark in the mid-140’s to score with a degree of comfort in the closing stages in a race which wasn’t run to suit. He looks sure to benefit from the quicker pace on offer in the Triumph and his action also suggests he’ll have no problem with quicker ground – the one to beat.

KALKIR
Montmartre (FR) — Kakira (FR) (Cadoudal (FR ) (18.0f))
Notes: Was regarded as a real potential star at the start of the season and made light work of his opposition when streaking away with a Grade 3 on debut at Fairyhouse. He then failed to settle in the opening part of the race and left his hind-legs in the second last which would have hampered his chances significantly on ground almost certainly softer than ideal at Leopardstown I think you can forgive him that. His most recent effort came when second to stable companion Petite Parisienne in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle showing a return to form expected, whilst he has a few questions to answer at this stage it would be foolish to write him off completely.

HARGAM
Sinndar (IRE) (12.4f) — Horasana (FR) (Galileo (IRE) (11.2f))
Notes: Another representative of the Nicky Henderson yard who appears to have a superb hand in terms of juvenile hurdling talent this season, and he has done little wrong so far. Travelling through the race extremely well at Cheltenham on his UK debut, he blew up inside the final furlong with the lack of a recent outing which enabled Golden Doyen to get back at home at the finish. He followed that effort up with a gutsy win at Cheltenham beating Karezak in what rates a good performance on the clock, before winning an egg-and-spoon race at Musselburgh on the first day of February. Whilst it is hard to see him being as good as either Peace And Co and/or Top Notch he commands respect and heads into the race with a real chance.

TOP NOTCH
Poliglote (10.6f) — Topira (FR) (Pistolet Bleu (IRE) (11.2f))
Notes: Has looked every inch his namesake in three really impressive victories to date and could again line up this weekend at Kempton in the Adonis. Although a few pounds behind stable-mate Peace And Co on form shown so far there isn’t anything to suggest he couldn’t improve further and it is hard not to think he is currently overpriced at generally 12/1. Isaac Souede and Simon Munir really have appreciable talent this season in this division and both horses in their ownership have to be massively respected.

PETITE PARISIENNE
Montmartre (FR) — Ejina (FR) (Highest Honor (FR) (10.4f))
Notes: Should really have won her maiden when beaten by a horse in the same ownership at a larger price (something which has happened many times this season). Willie Mullins pitched her straight into the Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) on her next outing, not bothering to persist down the maiden hurdle route and she rewarded his faith with an excellent victory. Certainly a cut above average but she’ll need to be something to win this given how hard it has proven for fillies to land this contest over the years.

DICOSIMO
Laveron — Coralisse Royale (FR) (Tip Moss (FR) (12.0f))
Notes: Couldn’t have been more impressive when winning on his first start for Willie Mullins although his jumping left plenty of room for improvement. He is a big stamp of a horse and likely to improve with age so this race may not come at the right time for him. He is still very much an unknown quantity and there are a couple of rumours I’ve heard suggesting he could well end up being the Mullins first string on the day, and as such the current 16/1 on offer would be very big. If you like him I’d advise to get on him now, probably taking a couple points shorter for security and utilising the 14/1 NRNB concession with Boylesports again.

OTHERS
Golden Doyen has shown smart form so far over hurdles and put behind him a disappointing effort at Chepstow over the Christmas period with a return to form at Ascot in January. Whilst he doesn’t look good enough to win this he will appreciate a return to Cheltenham and continues to impress with his willing attitude.

Karezak hails from a stable who often do well in this race and wouldn’t be miles behind the top juveniles we have this season, along with Golden Doyen above. However although consistency is his strong point it would be hard to imagine him being good enough to win this prize against horses who have already got the better of him to date.

Bivouac was no match for Peace And Co when the pair last met at Cheltenham at the end of January. He is a lovely strapping horse who will come into his own over time and doesn’t physically look ready for this test. Whilst he has shown decent form he takes a while to wind up in his races and is a few pounds behind the main protagonists in this race, likeable but another expected to come up short.

Vercingetorix looked a potential star when bolting up on his hurdles debut but well and truly bombed out when sixth behind Petite Parisienne in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle last time. Connections have since suggested that run is too bad to be true but it could be that the ground was too lively for him last time up.

Pain Au Chocolat is another potential runner for the Alan King yard and cut a favourable impression when running away with a Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown at the end of January. His trainer had initially suggested his horse required plenty of ease in the ground to be at his best but since seems to be more open to trying him on quicker ground. It still remains unclear exactly what he has achieved but it is possible we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

Beltor was a fair horse on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott and readily accounted for Arabian Revolution on his hurdling debut. Whilst that horse wouldn’t be anything special in terms of this race the manner of victory impressed. The latter has since won again and Noel Fehily thought worthy of pointing him towards the Triumph so the expected improvement (which is certainly needed) could make the current 50/1 on offer look rather large for the Robert Stephens trained gelding.

VERDICT:
A very open renewal to the Triumph Hurdle once again this season, although Peace And Co has looked every inch a potential star with his two victories on soft ground since switching to Nicky Henderson. Favourites do have a poor record in this race however with just 1 victory in the last 10 years (3102244364) and the current price just doesn’t enthuse as any sort of betting option as a lot can go wrong between now and then, and during the race itself.

Top Notch is a horse I really like and has done nothing wrong in his three wins so far. His hurdling has been a real delight and will stand him in good stead in a race such as the Triumph, and currently makes appeal at around the 12/1 mark.

Petite Parisienne won the Spring Juvenile Hurdle which in recent seasons has proven a really good trial for this race, but it is a hard race for fillies to win as history has dictated and at the current prices I’m willing to take her on.

Dicosimo was impressive when winning the last day and gathers plenty of respect from me, but I couldn’t be persuaded into betting him with a lack of race experience likely to count against him, especially as he looks the type to get better with age.

At this stage I like the look of two in the race and the first of those is KALKIR for the Willie Mullins team. I think he has valid excuses for his two defeats thus far and looks overpriced in the market just because he has a couple of seconds to his name instead of victories. Kalkir is a horse who will always find it hard to quicken off the crawl-sprint gallops you will often find over in Ireland, and the combination of a strong pace and better ground will be right up the street of this gelded son of Montmartre, who is bred to appreciate much further than this in time.

The second selection is a bit of a flyer in the shape of BELTOR for the Robert Stephens yard who is likely to line up in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton this weekend. Beltor was a very fair handicapper on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott last term, and the manner in which he disposed of Arabian Revolution (albeit in receipt of 7lbs) was quite impressive on his hurdling debut. He was merely nudged out to score by Tom O’Brien and had plenty in hand on the day – the second Arabian Revolution has won again since, and the third Sebastian Beach has also franked the form with an easy win at Chepstow last week.

That victory came on soft ground at Ludlow, and although it isn’t the softest when the mud is flying at Ludlow it has to be respected given all his best flat form was on better ground and given his flat pedigree by Epsom Derby winner Authorized out of a Danehill mare you’d hope he would show further improvement when back on quicker ground in three week’s time.

I respect it has an air of tilting at windmills with this one, but should he go close at Kempton at the weekend then the 50/1 will be long gone after the weekend so now is the time to take a chance and hope for the best – if he happens to bomb out on Saturday you’d have to think that Robert Stephens would probably draw stumps in regards a run in this race so the NRNB with Boylesports is clearly the way to go with this one.

1.5pt win Kalkir @ 16-1 with Paddy Power, Coral, Stan James
0.25pt each-way Beltor @ 50-1 with Boylesports (NRNB)

One of many racing enthusiasts around the globe, love both flat and national hunt racing. Part-own a racehorse, and used to be involved in a couple of slow greyhounds around the Romford circuit. Favourite NH horses would be; Kauto Star, Denman, Challenger Du Luc, Monsignor, Guitar Pete, Harchibald, Istabraq - the list is effectively endless.... @OHRacing Google+

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