Ask any punter who wins the Triumph Hurdle and most will say either Lossiemouth, Blood Destiny or Gala Marceau – all of whom are trained by that man Willie Mullins.
The Closutton maestro has dominated the Cheltenham Festival in recent years, and this time is no different – particularly when it comes to the Triumph Hurdle, for which he holds all the aces.
Lossiemouth is the standard-bearer after following up an impressive win in Grade Three company on stable debut with a spectacular 7L triumph in the G2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. Her current odds of 5/4 are very fair.
Gala Marceau (10/1) was runner-up to her stablemate at Leopardstown, but that was only her first run for the yard and this highly-regarded filly is more than entitled to improve for it. Can she make up that much ground, though?
The biggest danger to the favourite at this stage is probably Blood Destiny, who was cut into 4/1 at Betfred after his 18L success at Fairyhouse the other day.
That form reads pretty favourably for the son of No Risk At All in comparison to Lossiemouth, and it will be very interesting to see which juvenile stable jockey Paul Townend decides to ride – be it at the Dublin Racing Festival or on that Friday in March.
Aside from that trio, potential winners are thin on the ground. Many have already been beaten a long way by all three of the aforementioned favourites, but that’s not to say there aren’t any of interest.
Gary Moore’s Jupiter Du Gite is the shortest-priced British contender at 12/1, and probably the most interesting rival to the three Irish horses.
He went off a whopping 66/1 when he absolutely trounced a well-touted field of novice hurdlers by 15L at Newbury on New Year’s Eve. That form is yet to be tested, but he certainly comes under the ‘could be anything’ bracket.
As does Scriptwriter (16/1) for Milton Harris, who’s had his fair share of exciting juveniles in recent years. He believes this is his best yet – and on both his hurdling efforts to date, plus the fact he managed to win a handicap on the level off a mark of 102 last time out, I’d be inclined to agree.
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