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Cheltenham: Swerve Peace and Co’s miserly price in Triumph

| 12.03.2015

Cheltenham Gold Cup day gets underway with Grade 1 action in the Triumph Hurdle and there are plenty of question marks surrounding the skinny price afforded to favourite Peace And Co, despite an unblemished record over hurdles early in his career.

Nicky Henderson may have taken this title on five different occasions, but after the conclusion of day three at the Cheltenham Festival, the Champion Trainer has only sent off one winner.

It’s not Henderson’s credentials which render Peace And Co way too short at 2/1 though.

For starters, his three career wins over the shorter obstacles have all arrived on soft ground and the four-year-old is on much firmer turf against a highly-competitive field at Prestbury Park.

Also going against the market leader is an extremely poor return for favourites in this 2ml 1f contest, where only eight of the last 49 have prevailed.

Keeping with trends, there is also a strong case for slicing off the contenders after the first four in the betting as only twice in the last 10 renewals has a horse come from further down to take the Triumph Hurdle.

In an acutely competitive field it’s unsurprising that Ladbrokes are finding it difficult to split Hargam (6/1), Beltor (6/1), Petite Parisienne (8/1) and Top Notch, also at 8s.

All four juveniles have plenty of ticks in their boxes, not least that they have all won on their last appearances and in a few cases, multiple times this season.

Placing Willie Mullins-trained Paris Parisienne slightly ahead of the pack are several factors, not least the Irish trainer’s stranglehold on the juvenile hurdling division and the Cheltenham Festival as a whole.

A 7lb filly’s allowance could make all the difference for the French raider, as it very nearly did for Ma Filleule in the Ryanair Chase, but the Gigginstown Stud horse also fits the bill in one other unique sense.

She’s the only one of the challengers to have had her last outing at Leapardstown, a prior excursion which all of the last three Triumph Hurdle winners had taken before success.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.