Thornton choice could shake up Triumph Hurdle betting
Grumeti is the current favourite in the Cheltenham odds to win the Triumph Hurdle at 5/1, but there is a solid chance that that Robert Thornton will opt to ride fellow Alan King runner Balder Succes instead.
Although never officially making a final decision, the early comments indicated that Grumeti was the more likely option.
This was because Grumeti was considered the stronger and tougher of the pair, which are characteristics that are especially useful in the closing stages at Cheltenham.
Meanwhile, Balder Succes was a horse with no Flat form, who had less about him and had the scope to become a force over fences from next season.
However, two recent developments may have led Thornton to re-evaluate his options and Balder Succes can currently be backed at 8/1 to win the Triumph Hurdle.
Firstly, the recent rain would be more suited to Balder Succes and the fact that the Triumph Hurdle is run on the last of the four days of the Cheltenham Festival perhaps enhances the chances of the ground being cut up.
Grumeti would prefer a firmer surface, while Balder Succes should cope better with a softer surface.
Furthermore, Grumeti was reported to be lame by King recently and although he is making good progress, there must be doubts as to whether he will produce his absolute best at Cheltenham.
Either way Wayne Hutchinson will pick up a quality ride on whichever Thornton does not choose.
Selecting wisely will have a big impact on whether Thornton will be crowned top jockey at the Festival, for which he is available at 20/1.
Thornton scooped the honour with four winners in 2007 and this year can also count leading hopes Vendor in the Fred Winter, Batonnier in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle and Hold On Julio.