Countrywide Flame Triumph Hurdle 2013The Triumph Hurdle is a Grade One hurdles race for horses aged four, that takes place on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. The race was won last year by John Quinn’s Countrywide Flame (pictured), but who will follow in those hoof prints at the 2013 Festival? We’ve picked out the likely winner at a current best price of 9/2 (5.50), but we’ve also identified a value outsider at odds of 25/1 (26.00) with Totesport. Check out our full preview of of the 2013 JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Key Trends

Past Form

  • All of the last 14 Triumph Hurdle winners had tried 1m 2f on the flat
  • 14 of the last 15 winners were rated 80 or better on the level
  • None of the last 12 winners had run in more than 6 hurdles races

These Triumph Hurdle trends clearly show that we ought to be looking for a lightly raced hurdler with a certain flat racing pedigree.

Recent Form

  • All of the last 14 Triumph Hurdle winners had their final preparation race 19 to 55 days before the Festival
  • 16 of the last 19 Triumph Hurdle winners won last time out

When picking a Triumph Hurdle horse to bet on, we should be looking for a selection that is in form and that isn’t too rusty. Recent runs should also be avoided, as the horse is likely to be too tired.

Ability

  • All of the last 12 Triumph Hurdle winners had won a Class 3 race (or better)
  • All of the last 13 winners had won at 16f or 17f

Our Triumph Hurdle selection needs to have shown its ability by winning a Class 3 race (at least), but interestingly, the trends also suggest that we should be looking for an out-and-out speedster rather than a stayer. The last 13 Triumph Hurdle winners had landed a race at 16 or 17f, but none of those same 13 horses had won at 19f or further (and just one had won at 18f).

Summary

Having looked at the important trends, there is just one horse amongst the 2013 Triumph Hurdle field that ticks all of our boxes; the Dessie Hughes trained Our Conor.

He may be the antepost Triumph Hurdle favourite at a best price of 9/2 (5.50) with Coral, but that’s for a good reason. Not only does he meet all of the trends, but he improved from winning a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse to land a Grade 1 in impressive fashion at Leopardstown at the beginning of February, despatching the Willie Mullins trained favourite Diakali with ease.

As surprised as I will be if Our Conor doesn’t land the race, you can never be too careful in horse racing, especially at the Cheltenham Festival. There’s one horse amongst the 2013 Triumph Hurdle field that only just missed out on ticking all of the trends boxes, that’s currently priced at 25/1 (26.00) with Totesport. That price looks generous.

Stocktons Wing was rated 79 on the level before switching to National Hunt racing, meaning that he just fails on the 80+ flat rating trend. But to completely write the gelding off based on that minor failure when he ticks so many other boxes would be churlish. He finished behind Our Conor in that Fairyhouse Grade 3 but has since improved to take a Grade 2 at the same venue and if he improves even more for that, he could well be on the premises at a huge price. I recommend a small Each-Way saver.

Advice

The Triumph Hurdle

Friday 15th March 2013, 13:30
Our Conor @ 9/2 (5.50) with Coral
Stocktons Wing (Each-Way) @ 25/1 (26.00) with Totesport.

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