Triumph Hurdle Preview 2023: A Mullins Triumph awaits

Blood Destiny jumping a hurdle.
Daryl likes two horses to beat ante-post favourite Lossiemouth.

Daryl Carter is back with another ante-post preview, and this time he gets stuck into the Triumph Hurdle and wants to take on the red-hot favourite Lossiemouth...

  • Daryl is firmly against Lossiemouth

  • Blood Destiny is the bet of choice

  • Mullins holds all the aces

The Triumph Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race at the Cheltenham Festival open to four-year-old horses. It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 2 miles and 1 furlong, and during its running there are eight hurdles to be jumped.

Lossiemouth the one to beat

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Heading the market at the time of writing is the unbeaten filly Lossiemouth 11/8. Despite the widespread belief that fillies and mares have a terrible record, those priced under 14/1 actually have a good one.

Of the 22 priced 14/1 or shorter, eight have won, and stats are not a reason to knock an ante-post favourite.

She has done nothing wrong in two starts for trainer Willie Mullins scoring by four and seven lengths, latest at Leopardstown over Christmas in the Grade 2 Frank Knight Juvenile contest.

She is well-regarded and has been a talking horse since her move from France.

I like her; she is built like a gelding and has shown a bright turn of foot. Still, she is yet to be fully tested in a truly run race.

Her latest start at Leopardstown saw many of her rivals in behind, pulling for their head at three out, and the contest turned into a sprint where she was well positioned to score.

It's hard to knock what she has done, but I don't get the feeling she is a world beater, and stiffer assignments do await the promising filly.

Stablemate Blood Destiny has a huge chance

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Willie Mullins holds a stronghold on this contest with second favourite Blood Destiny 7/2, who has hacked up in no more than a canter in two Irish outings since arriving from France.

He is quick and slick at his obstacles and recorded a good time on his latest demolition job with form that ties in with Lossiemouth's Frank Knight run.

He is very much in the mould of last year's winner Vauban. Small, neat, and compact with an electric turn of foot.

The interesting comparison with Lossiemouth is that they both ran over the same course and distance on the same card on debut in France when Blood Destiny recorded a 20-length faster time than his rival.

He looks exciting and must have strong claims with anything yet to get within five lengths in two starts in Ireland.

Scriptwriter needs significant improvement to feature

Scriptwriter 16/1 keeps hitting the headline with his trainer, suggesting he is better than last year's representative (ninth) Knight Salute. That might be the case, but Scriptwriter still recorded the second lowest RPR of the Juvenile Trial at Cheltenham in November for the last ten years (Knight Salute the lowest).

The form is not strong, and the fact that we have seen him at Wolverhampton on the AW makes me question his path to the festival.

Perseus Way 33/1 ties in tightly with Scriptwriter, and the pair are a long way off what's required for this contest and will need another ten pounds of improvement to knock the top two off their purch.

Best of the rest

Afadil 25/1 for Paul Nicholls only managed a RPR of 94 on debut when facing a poor field at Taunton in early January, but he showed clear signs of being a class above those rivals.

He fits a few stats and trends for this race, and we will learn more at Kempton, no doubt. St Donats 25/1 has form lines that tie in with Blood Destiny, but he has been beating the same rivals in France and has not improved that form.

He will need to in order to be competitive here. The rest look Boodles bound in a race lacking depth.

The Verdict

I am a big fan of both Blood Destiny. I am not convinced that Lossiemouth is unbeatable, and I think there is value in backing the pair.

For now, Blood Destiny is the more solid option with that time figure from France lingering. Comfort Zone could be the one to chase the pair home after getting the better of Scriptwriter in his latest assignment over course and distance.

1st: Blood Destiny
2nd: Lossiemouth


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