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Dessie Hughes tips Triumph Hurdle hope Guitar Pete to be in tune

Dessie Hughes secured his sixth Cheltenham Festival success when Our Conor romped home in last year's JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Irish handler is eyeing a repeat success in that race with Guitar Pete.

The four-year-old was a moderate performer on the Flat, with his best effort from six races being a third-place finish in a Ballinrobe handicap off a lowly mark of 60, but he has been a revelation since switching to the National Hunt game.

After winning a 16-runner contest at Listowel, the gelding went down narrowly at Gowran Park before really making an impression when giving Gerdago and Willie Mullins hotpot Gitane Du Berlais 7lb and an emphatic beating at Down Royal.

Hughes then stepped his charge up in class for a Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in November and he lost nothing in defeat when second to Nicky Henderson-trained favourite Royal Irish Hussar.

Guitar Pete continued on an upward curve when scoring decisively at the same level at Leopardstown and went even better when powering clear to claim the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile hurdle at that track, readily accounting for Tiger Roll, plus much-vaunted duo Plinth and Ivan Grozny.

"Since he started, he's been very good," beamed Hughes. "We brought him to Cheltenham in October and he finished second to Royal Irish Hussar, but I think he's improved since that.

"He came back and won well and then he went to Leopardstown again and he was quite impressive, so I think he's improving all the time - and if he is, he's got every chance of giving those English horses a good run."

Paul Nicholls has prevailed twice in this contest with Celestial Halo and Zarkandar and he trains the current favourite Calipto, while Welsh handler Nick Williams will not hear a bad word said about Le Rocher.


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Dessie Hughes tips Triumph Hurdle hope Guitar Pete to be in tune

Dessie Hughes secured his sixth Cheltenham Festival success when Our Conor romped home in last year's JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Irish handler is eyeing a repeat success in that race with Guitar Pete.

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