Tips For The JCB Triumph Hurdle 2024 – Can The Favourite Win?

tips for the triumph hurdle

The action kicks off on GOLD CUP DAY with the prestigious JCB Triumph Hurdle, the pinnacle of four-year-old hurdling.

Once a chaotic affair demanding luck, the race now boasts higher quality thanks to the inclusion of the Boodles, which filters out the weaker contenders.

It’s wise to give credence to those with established Graded form at Cheltenham, and undoubtedly, the Spring Juvenile Hurdle held at the Dublin Racing Festival in February has emerged as the foremost indicator of potential success in recent times.

In terms of statistics, favourites have shown a lacklustre performance in the race, prevailing only five times in the past decade.

Notably, seven of the last ten champions utilised Leopardstown as a preparatory event (including Lossiemouth, Vauban, Quilixios, Farclas, Ivanovich Gorbatov, Tiger Roll, and Our Conor).

It’s worth noting that all of the previous ten winners competed within fifty-five days prior to this race.

Since Snow Drop in 2000, no French horse has clinched victory.

Among the local contenders, Nicky Henderson has secured victory four times in the past couple of decades, with two of those triumphs occurring within the last ten races (Peace And Co and Pentland Hills).

Furthermore, four out of the last five winners of this event emerged victorious in their previous outing.

Previous Winners of the JCB Triumph Hurdle

Runners To Watch

Below are our tips for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and a preview for the confirmed runners who hold entries for the race in 2024.

Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

BUNTING – WILLIE MULLINS & SEAN O’KEEFFE

Bunting was victorious in his sole Flat start in France last March and on his hurdling debut at Limerick over two miles on soft to heavy ground at Christmas.

He went off at 15-2 for a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over the same trip on soft ground. Despite being unable to challenge from mid-division, he showed resilience, finishing fourth of eleven to Kargese, approximately 2 lengths behind.

Whilst there is room for improvement and lessons to be learned, he appears to possess considerable potential and has a promising future.

ETHICAL DIAMOND – WILLIE MULLINS & MICHAEL O’SULLIVAN

Ethical Diamond triumphed over a mile-and-a-half in a flat maiden at Limerick with commendable form before being sold for 320,000gns last July.

However, on his hurdle and stable debut at Christmas, he disappointed as a favorite due to being far too free.

Consequently, he entered the Grade 1 at Leopardstown six weeks ago as a 50-1 outsider. Despite starting from the back, he managed to finish sixth of 11 to Kargese, approximately 5 lengths adrift.

There is belief that he could perform significantly better, but it is a necessity rather than a mere possibility.

HIGHWIND – WILLIE MULLINS & RACHAEL BLACKMORE

Highwind has fair French Flat form over middle distances and managed to secure victory as a 6/4 favourite at Punchestown in January despite indifferent jumping.

However, he faltered significantly, making mistakes at four, three, and two out. He was soundly beaten by several of today’s rivals in a Leopardstown Grade 1 over two miles on soft ground, where he started at 11-1.

He requires a substantial turnaround in performance.

ITHACA’S ARROW – DOMINIC FFRENCH DAVIES & BEN FFRENCH DAVIES

Ithaca’s Arrow demonstrated fair form in an 11-race Flat career, including a victory in a mile-and-a-half all-weather race.

While he came close in muddy conditions in two of his first three hurdle starts, he showcased improvement by winning a five-runner race at Newbury over two miles on heavy ground two weeks ago.

However, this improvement might not be enough to consider him a contender at this top level, particularly without the usual 5lb claim of his rider Ben Ffrench Davis.

MAJBOROUGH – WILLIE MULLINS & MARK WALSH

Majborough boasts a very useful jumps pedigree and made an impressive debut in a newcomers’ race at Auteuil over two miles on very soft ground last April, drawing clear from mid-division on the run-in.

Despite facing a daunting task for his new yard in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over the same trip on soft ground six weeks ago, where he started at 5-1, he led for most of the race and finished third of 11 to Kargese by approximately two lengths.

His potential for further improvement positions him as a strong contender.

MIGHTY BANDIT – WARREN GREATREX & JAMES BOWEN

Mighty Bandit, the second favourite for a Punchestown maiden over this trip on soft ground in November, displayed impressive form by finishing nearly ten lengths ahead of his rival on the run-in.

However, he disappointed as a favourite in a Grade 2 at Christmas and underwent wind surgery in January after experiencing nasal discharge.

Following a change of stables from Gordon Elliott to his new yard for 420,000 euros in early February, he could be a contender if he can regain the promise he showed on his debut.

NURBURGRING – JOSEPH O’BRIEN & JJ SLEVIN

Nurburgring, was modest on the Flat and had fairly useful form up to an extended mile-and-a-half.

He showcased his talent by winning on his hurdles debut at Killarney in August. He then finished first past the post at Listowel before being demoted for interference.

With notable improvement in December, including a Grade 3 win at Fairyhouse and a close third in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown, both on yielding ground, he stayed on well in his last outing, finishing a nose behind Kargese.

With each-way claims, he remains a strong contender.

SALVATOR MUNDI – WILLIE MULLINS & BRYAN HAYES

Salvator Mundi was purchased for 70,000 euros as a two-year-old, demonstrated his potential by finishing second of fifteen in a hurdle race at Auteuil over two miles on heavy ground last April.

He then underwent a belated first UK start since with a hood after experiencing a “little setback” with his new trainer.

Despite lacking recent race experience, he’s considered a top-class horse by his trainer.

SALVER – GARY MOORE & GAVIN SHEEHAN

Salver is a half-brother to the smart two mile hurdle winner Saldier, showed little promise on the Flat in Italy but has excelled over hurdles.

Unbeaten in races at Warwick, Exeter, Chepstow, and Haydock, including a Grade 2 victory at Chepstow over two miles on soft ground with only five runners, he justified favouritism at Haydock on heavy ground.

Although he lacks the Grade 1 form of Mullins contenders, his potential remains open for debate.

FRATAS – MICHAEL MULVANY & DARRAGH O’KEEFFE

Fratas secured four consecutive Flat victories with commendable form last August through October, on good and yielding ground.

Concluding a busy 2023 season, she justified favouritism in an 11-runner maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse over 2m on heavy ground in November.

Her trainer commented on her well-deserved rest after the race, and she hasn’t competed since.

While others have displayed superior form in the meantime, her potential remains promising.

KARGESE – WILLIE MULLINS & DANNY MULLINS

Kargese achieved a 67% strike rate at Auteuil last spring and showed consistent performance in Grade 2 and Grade 1 races at Leopardstown this winter.

Under Danny Mullins’ guidance and hooded for both runs, she fought well to secure a close second in a Grade 2 and then turned the tables on that winner to claim victory in a Grade 1 six weeks ago.

She defeated a host of today’s stablemates quite comfortably and she looks progressive.

While her advantage may be marginal, she sets the standard among Irish contenders, backed by a dominant yard that has secured three of the last four Triumphs, including a thorough domination last year.

Ticks The Right Boxes?

Tips For The Triumph Hurdle With Key Trends

While Willie Mullins’ entries should be considered first, recalculating their Leopardstown form isn’t straightforward, especially with lingering uncertainties surrounding the Grade 1 triumph of Kargese at Leopardstown.

In that race, she appeared strongest but faced stiff competition from stablemates Storm Heart, Majborough, and Bunting.

Other contenders from the same event join the lineup today, along with Salvator Mundi, a highly esteemed former French runner under Mullins’ tutelage.

Nurburgring offers a solid alternative, yet Majborough emerges as the top choice (over Kargese) under the assumption that he has progressed significantly since Leopardstown.

It was his first run in 307 days and only his second overall, indicating potential for improvement.

Key Trends

  • 7 of the past 9 winners started their careers in France (6 were French-bred).
  • 9 of the past 15 winners were unbeaten.
  • 8 of the past 12 winners contested the Spring Juvenile Hurdle (3 were successful).
  • 19 of the past 26 winners won last time out.

Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication

  • Storm Heart 10/3
  • Kargese 9/2
  • Bunting 11/2
  • Majborough 6/1
  • Nurburgring 13/2
  • Salver 15/2
  • Salvator Mundi 11/1
  • Mighty Bandit 14/1
  • Ethical Diamond 25/1
  • Highwind 33/1
  • Fratas 40/1
  • Ithaca’s Arrow 125/1



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