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Kalkir clear favourite for Triumph Hurdle glory at Cheltenham after Fairyhouse win

Kalkir and Ruby Walsh come home clear of the chasing pack at Fairyhouse

Kalkir established himself as an early market leader for Triumph Hurdle joy at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival when making a successful debut for Willie Mullins at Fairyhouse.

The French import was a promising fourth on his sole start for Guillaume Macaire at Auteuil in April, when travelling smoothly until showing signs of greenness in the latter stages.

Mullins' charge may still not be the finished article but he again moved sweetly in the Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle and put in a couple of superb jumps for Ruby Walsh down the home straight to stretch eight lengths clear of Dai Bando.

With the runner-up having previously scored at Punchestown and third-placed Verawal being a Down Royal victor, the form of this win looks solid enough and there could still be scope for more improvement before next March.

"He's shown he is a good jumper at home and works nicely without really setting the gallops on fire," commented Mullins, who revealed Kalkir's next run is expected to be over the Christmas period.

Mullins trained Scolardy to land the 2002 Triumph, while Walsh also knows what it takes to claim that prize, having partnered Celestial Halo to victory for Paul Nicholls in 2008.

"He jumped really well and seemed to appreciate a bit of ease in the ground," added the jockey. "He was a maiden and he beat some decent past winners pretty convincingly."

All of the leading yards will be looking to unveil more potential Triumph contenders in the next couple of months, but the Rich Ricci-owned Kalkir certainly laid down a strong marker with this strike.


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Kalkir clear favourite for Triumph Hurdle glory at Cheltenham after Fairyhouse win

Kalkir established himself as an early market leader for Triumph Hurdle joy at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival when making a successful debut for Willie Mullins at Fairyhouse.

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