The Triumph Hurdle commences the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, and it's often the National Hunt's equivalent of a cavalry charge where future stayers often prosper. Alan Thompson give his thoughts...
"Evan Willams says she's the best he's trained and at 25/1 she rates a good bet to small stakes."
The Triumph Hurdle isn't a race I like to utilise trends on. I've had a better record using my own judgement and in particular spotting the strongest stayer in the race. One of my best ever bets at the Festival was backing Countrywide Flame at 40/1 knowing that he would be staying on well at the finish.
The fact is despite this being a 2m race it is a race for future stayers. The long run from the home bend on the New Course means it is a long way home up the hill. Throw in the big field and hectic pace then we really need something that is not going to be stopping.
Defi Du Seuil has looked great in all his wins and if we could guarantee soft ground come the Friday of the Festival he'd rate a cracking bet as he stays all day and travels like a train. But I think he's very ground dependent and I wouldn't be confident on good-to-soft (nearer good) he'll be at the same level, but then again he might not have to be.
Charlie Parcs was uber impressive at Kempton over Christmas but I have a funny feeling that he'll end up in the Supreme Novices' as I think he's more a speed horse and the Old Course's shorter run-in and hill would be ideal for him.
One thing is for sure is that there could be some blistering pace on in this race. If Evening Hush and Cliffs Of Dover face the tapes then most of the field could be under the pump before they turn down the hill and believe me that is still a long way out. The other thing for sure is that if I'm going in for a bet in this cavalry charge of a race then I want a big price.
There are doubts about Cliffs Of Dover at the minute so I'm going to back Evening Hush as I think the likely better ground and the 7lb sex allowance she gets could be invaluable. She went too hard too soon at Chepstow last time when behind Defi De Seuil and set the race up for the Triumph favourite.
But not going as hard on better ground from the front could see her still there at the last and then its anyone's. Evan Willams says she's the best he's trained and at 25/1 she rates a good bet to small stakes.
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5)
Check out more Cheltenham Festival 2017 ante-post previews and tips in our dedicated Cheltenham Festival section on betting.betfair.com