The opening race of the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Triumph Hurdle (also known as the JCB Triumph Hurdle) gets Day Four off to a flying start. It is considered to be the most important National Hunt event for juvenile participants only.
Last year’s renewal was won by Defi du Seuil under the guidance of Richard Johnson for trainer Philip Hobbs. The French-bred raider returned favouritism at 5/2 to land the prize by 5l from Mega Fortune.
The 2018 Triumph Hurdle is headed by Apple’s Shakira in the ante-post market. Nicky Henderson’s raider is unbeaten in his career so far, including a hat-trick of successes at Cheltenham. She will likely face competition from Stormy Ireland, We Have A Dream and Redicean amongst others.
The JCB Triumph Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt novice hurdle race for juvenile horses aged four years old and weighing 11st (with an allowance of 7lb for fillies).
It’s run on Cheltenham’s New Course, which is a left-handed track with a turf surface. With a course length of 2 miles, 1 furlong (3,420 metres), the race includes eight hurdle jumps, only two of which are placed in the final three-quarter-mile stretch, making it a perfect course for flat-bred horses.
It carries a purse of £125,000, with £71,187.50 of that going to the winner.
It was incorporated into the Cheltenham Festival in 1968 with sponsorship from the Daily Express. In 1997, the Elite Racing Club took over as sponsors and, in 2002, sponsorship passed to JCB.
In the early days, 28 horses lined up for the race, but recently the number of participants has been in the mid-teens. This means a higher-quality line-up and fewer surprises, though some interesting results are guaranteed!
Jockey and Trainer Statistics
This race is only open to four-year-olds. So it is down to the jockeys and the trainers to rack up multiple wins, rather than the horses. Barry Geraghty is the rider that stands out above the rest. The Irishman has won in this event five times with Spectroscope (2003), Zaynar (2009), Soldatino (2010), Peace and Co (2013 and Ivanovich Gorbatov (2016).
Where trainers are concerned, Nicky Henderson is leading the charge with six wins. His successful horses have been: First Bout (1985), Alone Success (1987), Katarino (1999), Zaynar (2009), Soldatino (2010) and Peace And Co (2015).
Race Records and Trends
- Only three fillies have ever won the Triumph Hurdle.
- No filly has won the race since Snow Drop in 2000.
- The last three renewals have all been won by the SP favourite.
- 11 of the last 13 winners came from the top four in the betting.
- 20 of the last 22 winners have got at least two previous wins under their belt before this race.
- 11 of the last 15 renewals have been won by British trainers.
Three of the last five renewals have been claimed by French-bred horses.
This is a fast-paced and highly competitive race in which speed is key to success. Most of the participating horses come from a background in flat racing, so their skills lie in being quick around the course. Those who lack stamina risk falling behind in the final uphill section, however.
If you want to improve your chances to pick out a winner, it’s a good idea to look at form early on in the National Hunt season. Plenty of top performers can be spotted during the Festival build up, such as at the Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle trial at the Festival Trials Day.
A fiercely contested hurdle race, this certainly gets Day Four started with a bang.
Triumph Hurdle Winners
- 2008: Celestial Halo – Ruby Walsh
- 2009: Zaynar – Barry Geraghty
- 2010: Soldatino – Barry Geraghty
- 2011: Zarkandar – Daryl Jacob
- 2012: Countrywide Flame – Dougie Costello
- 2013: Our Conor – Bryan Cooper
- 2014: Tiger Roll – Davy Russell
- 2015: Peace And Co – Barry Geraghty
- 2016: Ivanovich Gorbatov – Barry Geraghty
- 2017: Defi du Seuil – Richard Johnson
You can get all of the latest Cheltenham Festival odds and Triumph Hurdle odds here: https://sports.ladbrokes.com/en-gb/betting/horse-racing/horse-racing-live/cheltenham/triumph-hurdle/225909797/