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2015 Triumph Hurdle tips - Hargam to prove best of Henderson trio in Cheltenham Festival's final day opening race

  • Brian assesses the Triumph Hurdle contenders in Friday's Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser.
Hargam can win the Triumph Hurdle for Nicky Henderson, AP McCoy and JP McManus.

Brian Healy looks ahead to the first race on the final day of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival - the Triumph Hurdle.


Opening the day’s action on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival is the JCB Triumph Hurdle, which is a cracking juvenile novices’ event over two miles of the New Course.

The race can often be a pointer to the Champion Hurdle in subsequent seasons, however runners from this race that go on to compete in the Champion tend to have a poor record, with only four dual winners in the event’s history; the last being Katchit back in 2007/2008.

The day’s opening race, which is scheduled to get underway from 1.30pm has attracted a big field of 17 runners, and Seven Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson boasts a particularly strong hand in the race with three of the first four in the betting.

Henderson’s strongest challenger is the race-favourite Peace And Co (5/2, Bet365) who is unbeaten in two outings for the yard since arriving from France; making the perfect introduction when routing opposition at Doncaster on his debut, and then getting the better of Karezak in the Finesse Hurdle over course and distance last time.

The Falco gelding looks to possess a huge engine, and he might have been even more impressive but for showing signs of inexperence. The likely frenetic pace of this race should suit, and he is open to plenty of further improvement.


Peace And Co is favourite for Friday's Triumph Hurdle and one of a powerful Nicky Henderson trio of runners.

Top Notch (9/1, Bet365) also comes into the race unbeaten for the Seven Barrows maestro, showing plenty when impressively winning at Haydock on his last outing. 

Like his stablemates, he has form with Golden Doyen (beat him at Ascot) and is worth his place in this line-up. He is also likely to enjoy a strong pace and the slick hurdler is sure to go well although form perhaps not as strong as that of his stablemates.

It could be then that HARGAM (6/1, William HIll) is the one who comes out on top of Henderson’s trio, and the Sinndar grey has also arrived from France; however, unlike his stablemates he didn’t win on debut, going down by less than one length to Golden Doyen in the Grade Two Prestbury Novice Hurdle, perhaps unsuited by the soft ground.

That proved to be the case when he encountered quicker ground on his next two outings, beating Karezak at this venue, and then Starchitect at Musselburgh in a Listed race.

He didn’t beat a whole lot else that day, but he couldn’t have done it any easier, and the fast pace on these conditions will help, and no surprise to see him in the firing line and he can lower the colours of his more fancied stablemate.


Hargam can go close in the Triumph Hurdle to give AP McCoy a last-day winner on his final Festival.

David Pipe’s Stars Over The Seas (50/1, Ladbrokes) was beaten behind Hargam when last seen, but may not have been at home in the conditions and could do better now. 

His two wins have come on quicker ground, and the useful ex-flat performer could improve again for the first time tongue-tie and hood, although he’ll have to if he’s to take a hand in the finish.

Beltor (13/2, Paddy Power) has looked hugely impressive for his small yard, winning both starts in facile fashion at Ludlow and latterly at Kempton in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.

Robert Stephen’s Authorized gelding was always travelling well in that race and quickened impressively when sent for home; that form is as good as anything in the race, and open to plenty of improvement he likely won’t be far away.


Beltor has been an impressive winner of both hurdling starts.

Willie Mullins boasts a strong entry with Dicosimo (14/1, Bet365), Kalkir (20/1, Coral) and Petite Parisienne (9/1, Bet365) all possible to line up.

The last-named looks to be the County Carlow trainer’s main hope of success, and she stepped up on his debut runner-up behind Chatam House Roule at Punchestown to defeat stablemate Kalkir at Leopardstown next time in a Grade One contest and the filly can confirm that form, although faces a tough ask in becoming the first filly to win the race since Snow Drop back in 2000.

Kalkir had no excuses behind the Montmartre filly last time, while Dicosimo has had just the one run for Mullins to date when showing plenty in running away with a Gowran Park contest.

The Laveron gelding has proven stamina for further from his days in France, and is another likely to benefit from a fast pace, and he could outstay most of these if they go off too fast.


Willie Mullins saddles three in Friday's Triumph Hurdle.

John Ferguson saddles another potentially interesting runner in Devilment (20/1, Paddy Power) who has won two of his three hurdling starts, although finished behind the reopposing Pain Au Chocolat (20/1, Ladbrokes) on his hurdling debut at Plumpton.

The Cape Cross gelding stepped up on that effort to win at Wetherby, and followed up at Doncaster last month, although needs to take another forward step now.

Pain Au Chocolat has also beaten Paul Nicholls’ Old Guard at Sandown, and Alan King’s charge looks to have the beating of both once more.

The Enrique gelding took until the third attempt to get off the mark when beating Devilment, and he followed up in grand style with that Sandown run.

Alan King’s yard have won this event twice in the past, and he could go well at a decent price to make the frame.

King also saddles Karezak (20/1, William Hill) who won on his debut and looked a smart prospect, and he’s lost little in defeat since in four subsequent outings against smart opposition; most recently when chasing home Peace And Co.

Tough and game, he is likely to be in the firing line again, but looks vulnerable against a few of these.

The remainder look tough to recommend in this race, and are likely to struggle.

VERDICT

Beltor is open to untold improvement, and he stamped his class with an impressive and autoritative win in the Adonis Hurdle. He looks sure to go well, but he might struggle against the formidable Nicky Henderson trio of Peace And Co, Top Notch and HARGAM (6/1, William HIll).

The selection has won his last two outings, appreciating the better ground after finishing runner-up to Golden Doyen in soft ground on his debut when routing his field at Musselburgh on his last start. Although he didn’t beat anything of note, he couldn’t have done it any easier, and the grey possesses a swift turn of foot that could prove crucial in the closing stages. 

The fast pace will also suit, and he can get the better of stablemate Peace And  Co, who has impressed in both his wins, but looks immature and could find the occasion too much.

Pain Au Chocolat could run a big race for a yard who have won this twice in the past, while proven stamina for further could also see Dicosimo in the mix.

TRIUMPH HURDLE SELECTION – HARGAM (6/1, William HIll), Pain Au Chocolat (20/1, Ladbrokes, each-way)


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2015 Triumph Hurdle tips - Hargam to prove best of Henderson trio in Cheltenham Festival's final day opening race

Nicky Henderson boasts a powerful hand in Friday's Triumph Hurdle, and tipster Brian Healy fancies one from Nicky Henderson's Seven Barrows yard. Find out which of the Henderson runners will be carrying Brian's cash in the final day's opening race with his Triumph Hurdle tips and preview.

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