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Guitar Pete in tune for Triumph Hurdle tilt at Cheltenham

Dessie Hughes has set his sights on following up Our Conor's success at last year's Cheltenham Festival with another JCB Triumph Hurdle win with Guitar Pete after his smooth victory in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Much-vaunted pair Ivan Grozny and Plinth went into the race as favourites to boost their Festival claims but Guitar Pete was a more proven and battle-hardened performer over obstacles and made his experience count to gain a convincing win.

After showing little promise on the Flat, the four-year-old has been a revelation at the jumping game, now securing four victories and two runner-up placings from six outings under National Hunt rules.

"He will go for the Triumph now, he's proved his worth," commented Hughes. "He's a very honest horse who just gallops and gallops and loves running over this trip. I couldn't ask for more from him.

"There were some good horses in there and it was a true-run race. The ground was the only worrying thing, but it didn't seem to bother him. Our Conor may have had a bit more speed than him, but this lad jumps well and grinds it out. He's done everything right since Christmas."

Winning jockey Barry Geraghty knows what it takes to land a Triumph Hurdle, having ridden Spectroscope, Zaynar and Soldatino to victory at past Festival, and he was also suitably impressed by this performance.

"You need a real stayer for the Triumph now and he's definitely that," said Geraghty. "Dessie does a good job with his juveniles and all of his hurdlers. He schools them well and Guitar Pete pinged the hurdles down the back and that's what won it for him in the end."

Tiger Roll was bought for £80,000 by Gigginstown House Stud after a slightly surprising success at Market Rasen in November but proved that was no fluke when plugging on gamely for second on his first outing for trainer Gordon Elliott.

"He's a nice horse and there's a fair bit of improvement left in him," beamed the handler. "I'm very happy with him. If he had jumped the last well, he'd have been bang on top of Guitar Pete, although he probably wouldn't have beaten the winner."


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Guitar Pete in tune for Triumph Hurdle tilt at Cheltenham

Dessie Hughes has set his sights on following up Our Conor's success at last year's Cheltenham Festival with another JCB Triumph Hurdle win with Guitar Pete after his smooth victory in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.

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