13:20 - Triumph Hurdle
Alan King has won this twice but not since 2007 he has a live candidate here in Tritonic. Rated 99 on the flat and boasting a second at Royal Ascot he has impressed in two hurdle races this winter. Winning on debut at Ascot he beat Casa Loupi by a length. He then ran in a Grade 2 at Kempton where he beat the same horse by ten lengths this time. He looked very impressive there and is clearly improving rapidly. Ground should be fine for him as he won on good during his flat days.
When looking back over previous winners many have won on the flat at 1m2F or further and many winners come from sires that have won a Group 1 on the flat at 1m4f. These two stats would rule out fancied Quixillios and some of the also rans.
Another horse who fits these criteria along with Tritonic is Zanahiyr who is out of Nathaniel who sired last years winner.
Zanahiyr is from the Gordon Elliott (now D Foster) that has won this race twice before. His flat form is not as strong as Tritonic’s but he has been equally impressive over hurdles. He was superb in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse off a strong pace he beat Saint Sam (2nd here on Tuesday) by 14L. He was more workmanlike than spectacular next time off a slow pace when winning a Grade 2 at Leopardstown.
In any other year Tritonic or Zanahiyr would be high class winners of this and it should be a great race between them. It’s hard to choose between them but the Irish novices have been far better than the English so I will side with Zanahiyr. Of the rest Adagio is a type who should be suited by Cheltenham but may not have the class of the front two.
As an Each Way pick, I will go for Tax For Max who had Group form on the flat in Germany he has had one run for Willie Mullins where he was way too keen but still finished a good second in a graded race to a decent winner.
TAX FOR MAX (E/W)
written by Steve Marriott