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13:30 Cheltenham – Pearl Swan to be the latest French success

| 16.03.2012

With five horses so tightly packed at the head of the Cheltenham odds, cases can be made for most of the leading protagonists in the Triumph Hurdle, but at 13/2, Pearl Swan is slightly favoured to shade victory.

French imports have held the aces in the Triumph Hurdle in recent years, winning the last three renewals and this bodes well for Pearl Swan as he has done little wrong since transferring to the Paul Nicholls yard.

Pearl Swan should hold a 100 per cent record from two runs in England, but was disqualified when edging out fellow Triumph Hurdle contender Grumeti at Cheltenham in January when leaning into his rival in the closing stages.

This performance shows he should have no troubles coping with the demands of Cheltenham, while he was also giving up experience and 3lb in weight to Grumeti in this race.

He will have the advantage of competing on level terms in the Triumph Hurdle and his proven stamina could be his most valuable asset, as was the case with Zarkandar, who Nicholls saddled to success in the race last year.

Grumeti is 6/1 to win the Triumph Hurdle and although he should be there or thereabouts, he may find at least one too good.

Therefore, preference is for the other Alan King entrant Balder Succes, who has hardly been tested in winning his three English starts by a combined 26 lengths.

He could still theoretically be anything and is worthy of consideration at 7/1.

Baby Mix is also 6/1 and will eat up the ground with his big stride if in contention, but given that his future looks to be in the chase ranks, this sort of profile is not overly common among Triumph Hurdle winners.

Sadler’s Risk was a held second to Baby Mix last time out, but should not be discounted at 6/1 as the Phillip Hobbs stable was out of form at the time.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.