The Triumph Hurdle

Look to key trials at Leopardstown & Kempton to narrow the field in Friday's opener

The Triumph Hurdle: 2m 1f, Friday, March 18, 1:30pm

Key Stat:  Only two winners have justified favouritism in the last 14 years

The juvenile contest has taken on a different complexion since the introduction of the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in 2005.

Back then, nine of the last 11 winners were found in the first four in the betting but only Detroit City and last season’s impressive victor Peace And Co have justified favouritism in the last 14 years.

The Adonis Hurdle at Kempton (won impressively by Zubayr) and Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown (in which Footpad led home a Willie Mullins 1-2-3), have provided the winner between them nine times in the last 16 years.

The stat that French imports have won four of the last seven contests also adds weight to the claims of these two leading contenders. With Irish-trained runners chasing a third win in four seasons, that Leopardstown form is well worth a second look.

Last season saw Nicky Henderson saddle a 1-2-3 led by Peace & Co to give him a sixth Triumph success and he’ll be represented by Fixe Le Kap in search of the Magnificent Seven.

A fairly recent run is of importance as 20 of the last 23 winners had their final prep race in February (two of those that didn’t were successful in the Finesse Hurdle on Cheltenham Trials Day right at the end of January won this season by Protek Des Flos).

Four of the last eight winners had won just once over timber beforehand. It used to be a case of the more experience the better now the opposite appears true.

What do you think?