The Triumph Hurdle 2017 will be the opening race on the fourth and final day of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, by which point we will have seen some fantastic stories unfold.
Katchit became the first winner of the Triumph Hurdle since Kribensis in 1988 to go on and win the Champion Hurdle, when victorious in 2007 but generally speaking the Triumph Hurdle form doesn’t really work out how you’d expect, and most winners tend to end up over longer distances later in their careers.
The 2016 renewal saw Ivanovich Gorbatov beat Apples Jade with the pair pulling clear of the remainder. Apples Jade has gone on to be very useful and will line up against her own sex in the OLBG Mares Hurdle on the Tuesday, but the winner hasn’t quite made the grade in open company this season.
Triumph Hurdle 2017
Anabaa Blue x Ella Parcs (Nikos)
Notes: Really caught the attentions of the stopwatch when comprehensively outpointing his rivals on his british debut at Kempton, with Master Blueyes an 8-length second. He was still in contention when falling 2 out, a fall which ruled his rider Barry Geraghty out of the Cheltenham Festival. He clearly has plenty of ability, will love the strong pace on offer and will certainly stay – whilst this isn’t an ideal prep coming to Cheltenham off the back of a fall, he is one for the shortlist.
Defi Du Seuil
Voix Du Nord x Quarvine Du Seuil (Lavirco)
Notes: Has taken all before him in his age division this season, and is certainly the one they all have to beat. He travels so strongly during his races and has yet to be asked a serious question by any of the rivals he has faced. There was talk about him taking up an engagement in the Supreme Novices’ but that was eventually shelved, and you’d have to expect him to go very close here off the back of everything we know.
Soldier Of Fortune x Far Across (Common Grounds)
Notes: Very much a gradual improver over hurdles this term for the Gordon Elliott team and was a really impressive winner of the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown when last seen in February. The stronger pace of the Triumph Hurdle is sure to suit him also and he is very much a major player in this race.
Mastercraftsman x Miss Blueyes (Dushyantor)
Notes: A useful recruit off the flat has taken a couple of runs to get the hang of things over hurdles, but took a marked step forward when running out an impressive 11 length winner of the Adonis (Grade 2) at Kempton. Had Charli Parcs not fallen at a crucial stage the margin wouldn’t have been as wide (if you assume he would have beaten Charli Parcs) but you have to be impressed with the manner he kept going. Coming to hand at the right time and one who will run his race for trainer Alan King.
Turtle Bowl x Brouhaha (American Post)
Notes: Improving with experience for his new trainer Willie Mullins, he was given an excellent ride by Ruby Walsh when beating Landofhopeandglory in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown in December. He attempted to force a strong pace when run down by Mega Fortune in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) on his most recent effort, and you can expect him to be cherry ripe for his Cheltenham assignment where another bold sight can be expected.
Dinaria Des Obeaux
Saddler Maker x Indiana Jaune (Le Nain Jaune)
Notes: Will be ridden by Bryan Cooper and will the chief hope of Gigginstown in this renewal, she made a really good start when hacking up by 29 lengths over hurdles at Cork in December, before beaten on merit when third to Mega Fortune at Leopardstown in February. She improved on that effort to win a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse on her most recent start when awarded the race in the stewards’ room – and will need to improve again, that isn’t to say she won’t.
Ex Patriot is held in the highest regard by his trainer Ellmarie Holden but was beaten on merit behind a few of these at Leopardstown and was all out to beat (and subsequently reversed) Dinaria Des Obeaux at Fairyhouse the last day – form which looks like needed a deal of improvement.
Landofhopeandglory won his first three outings over hurdles but has been held on his last two outings, although you’d assume he wasn’t quite cherry ripe for that comeback at Fairyhouse. That said he will need to improve taking on a higher class of opposition here but the likely decent ground and strong gallop will suit.
Soldier In Action disappointed on his debut at Musselburgh when fading into fifth but put in an improved display when routing his field at Doncaster on his most recent outing. Needs to improve again but has plenty of upside, will stay and there’s every reason to suggest he could surprise a few.
Forth Bridge has done well for the switch to hurdles winning two from his three tries so far. Difficult to assess just how good he off what we’ve seen so far, but he’s a well-made sort and would be great if he could get competitive for Her Majesty.
Dandy Mag a dark horse from the Willie Mullins team who falls into the ‘could be anything category’. Worth keeping an eye out for any market support.
As with a large amount of the races at the Cheltenham Festival 2017, owner JP McManus seems to have a very strong hand in this renewal of the Triumph Hurdle.
He has a rock-solid favourite in the form of Defi Du Seuil, who has done everything asked of him with real style so far and it is difficult to imagine he won’t turn on the class again next week, where he will retain the services of champion jockey Richard Johnson.
Charli Parcs created a smart impression on his debut and was beginning to close when making a costly mistake, resulting in him falling at Kempton last time – he looks another strong contender for Camp McManus and will give Nicky Henderson every chance of adding another Triumph to his roll of honour.
Mega Fortune has already won a Grade 1 and will certainly be suited to the way this race will be run, and will be one of the ones pouring it on over the last and up the hill. He will get the services of Davy Russell and has to be respected.
Soldier In Action brings the unknown quantity into the race and has the best flat form of any of these prior to making the switch.
Looking at this race I feel that DEFI DU SEUIL is one of the strongest favourites of the week and will take either a below-par performance from him, or an outstanding performance by his rivals to see him met with defeat. Charli Parcs is one potential fly in the ointment as is Mega Fortune but I believe Defi will have too many guns for them on the day, and have enough in hand to win the Triumph Hurdle 2017.