The Triumph Hurdle is the big juvenile race of the Cheltenham Festival. It has been used by some really high class stayers both over hurdles and fences in years gone by and, famously, produced dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll, who won this one in 2014.
As ever, the field for the 2020 Triumph Hurdle contains several promising four year olds who should go on to very good things but you must always keep in mind that these are very young horses by the standards of National Hunt racing and it is never simple for them to win amongst all the noise of the first race of final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Next Race: Friday, 19th March 2021
The next race is scheduled to run on 19th March 2021. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 13th March 2020
- Winner: Burning Victory
- SP: 12/1
- Trainer: Willie Mullins
- Jockey: Paul Townend
The youngsters kick off the action on the fourth and final day in what is the Festival’s only Grade 1 event restricted to the four year olds. Two miles and a furlong is the trip for the Festival’s premier event for the juveniles. We are expecting soft ground for this contest, with £130,000 in total prize money up for grabs.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||2m1f||Grade 1||£130,000||13 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Triumph Hurdle Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
When Tiger Roll won the Triumph Hurdle, nobody could have predicted that he would go on to win the Grand National. Few even predicted that he would win the Triumph Hurdle as he was sent off at 10/1 for 2014’s renewal. Typically, winners of the Triumph have been easier to spot after Tiger Roll, the next three editions were won by the favourite. Farclas (9/1) and Pentland Hills (20/1) have given the bookies a little of respite in the last two years but eight of the last 12 winners were inside the top three in the betting.
As unpredictable as some of these juveniles can be, incoming form is important. Any horse who has not run relatively recently will find it too hard to get up to speed when competing against such a big field whilst those who have already won in the season have a statistical edge.
There are some key trials to re-watch in the search for a Triumph Hurdle winner. The most important of these is the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown which has provided several winners and market principles over the years. For British-trained horses, take the form of the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle and the Finesse Juvenile Hurdle (which is run at Cheltenham) seriously.
|Solo||10/3||157||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
|Allmankind||4/1||148||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|Sir Psycho||12/1||147||Paul Nicholls||Bryony Frost|
For a horse who has made just one appearance in Britain, Solo has had a huge amount of coverage. Paul Nicholls has taken many promising younger horses from France and trained them to top level success on these shores and many shrewd judges believe that Solo has the makings of the next superstar from Ditcheat.
The buzz around Solo had already begun before he ran at Kempton in February’s Adonis Juvenile Hurdle. His performances in France suggested that he could be something special and he justified the hype with a 13 length victory at Kempton.
Ironically, the only people who were surprised with Solo’s performance were connections. It’s not that they don’t believe in him, it’s just that they believe he is a chaser in making and that hurdling in Britain wouldn’t actually suit him.
There are two ways you can take that. Either he smashed a fairly weak field and is going to get found out in the hullabaloo of the Triumph Hurdle or, he is so good that he can get it done in style despite the race not suiting. The question is whether there is enough in his price to find out how good he is on such a big stage.
The big danger for Solo is that he will find a tougher horse than him who is able to hang on, deal with everything that comes with the Triumph Hurdle and get the favourite beaten. There are a couple horses in the field who look to have the right profile but there’s little doubt that connections are most fearful of Allmankind.
Allmankind has bags of experience in Britain, much of which was earned on the flat. He worked his way up the trips on both turf and the all-weather before he left Michael Bell’s yard and given to Dan Skelton to guide him through the National Hunt ranks.
Things have certainly gone well for Allmankind since his switch with a perfect record of three wins from three starts over hurdles. This is clearly a step up in class but one of those wins came in the Triumph Hurdle Trial so he has proven form up the Cheltenham hill which is a major positive. In such a difficult race, siding with the more proven hurdler in Britain could just pay dividends.
SIR PSYCHO (12/1)
If you are looking for a horse who fits the billing of one who can come through the Triumph Hurdle and become a serious chaser, look no further than Sir Psycho. Paul Nicholls has been talking glowingly about his charge and some believe that he has a real each way chance in the Triumph.
One look at Sir Psycho shows you why connections believe him to be a chaser in the making. He is, in Nicholls’ words, “a big tank of a thing” and the power that he possesses should be important as the big field fights for position throughout the race. He also has some decent form in tricky conditions such as when powering home to win a juvenile hurdle on heavy ground at Haydock.
Hurdling may not be the long term aim for Sir Psycho but he is sure to get the trip up the hill so will be difficult for whoever wins the Triumph Hurdle to shake off.
Triumph Hurdle Winners
|2020||Burning Victory||12/1||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend|
|2019||Pentland Hills||20/1||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|2018||Farclas||9/1||Gordon Elliott||Jack Kennedy|
|2017||Defi Du Seuil||5/2||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2016||Ivanovich Gorbatov||9/2||Aidan O’Brien||Barry Geraghty|
|2015||Peace And Co||2/1||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2014||Tiger Roll||10/1||Gordon Elliott||Davy Russell|
|2013||Our Conor||4/1||Dessie Hughes||Bryan Cooper|
|2012||Countrywide Flame||33/1||John Quinn||Dougie Costello|
|2011||Zarkandar||13/2||Paul Nicholls||Daryl Jacob|
About the Triumph Hurdle: Kicking Off the Final Day in Style
There are always a few weary racing fans in the crowd for the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. The toll taken from the first three days of racing and celebration (especially St Patrick’s Thursday) means many of those heading to Prestbury Park took their time getting out on the Friday, but the spirits are always lifted by the first race of the day, the Triumph Hurdle.
Open only to four-year-old novices, many of the brightest prospects in National Hunt racing are entered into this Grade 1 which takes place over two miles and one furlong.
The Triumph Hurdle has become synonymous with the Cheltenham Festival over the last few decades so many racing fans are surprised when they find out that it has not always been run at Prestbury Park. From its inaugural race in 1939 to 1962 it took place at the now defunct Hurst Park although no renewals were held for the entirety of the 1940s.
During those early years it became a leading target for international horses with French trained hurdlers having a particularly impressive record. French trainers were frustrated when the Triumph Hurdle did not appear on the National Hunt schedule in 1963 or 1964 but their worries were soon eased with the announcement that it would be moved to Cheltenham where it made enough of an impression to be moved from a meeting in April to the Festival itself after just three renewals at Prestbury Park.
The move to Cheltenham added to the prestige of the Triumph Hurdle and with that came sponsors who wanted to be associated with it. The Daily Express were the first sponsors before the Elite Racing Club in 1997. JCB’s long running sponsorship of the event began in 2002 and they’re signed up for a few more years yet.
Many Routes In
It is fitting due to the Triumph Hurdle’s rather complicated history that there is nothing straightforward about the race as a contest. Although it is one of the biggest Novice Hurdles around there is no strict template that winners have followed either before the race or after it.
Major UK & Irish Triumph Hurdle Trials
|November||Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle||Wetherby||Listed||£25,000|
|November||Winter Festival 3-Y-O Hurdle||Fairyhouse||–||€11,000|
|November||Prestbury (Triumph Trial) Hurdle||Cheltenham||Grade 2||£32,000|
|December||Triumph Trial Hurdle||Cheltenham||Class 2||£25,000|
|December||Summit Juvenile Hurdle||Doncaster||Grade 2||£50,000|
|December||Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle||Leopardstown||Grade 2||€50,000|
|December||Finale Juvenile Hurdle||Chepstow||Grade 1||£65,000|
|January||Finesse (Triumph Trial) Hurdle||Cheltenham||Grade 2||£32,000|
|February||Spring Juvenile Hurdle||Leopardstown||Grade 1||€125,000|
|February||Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial||Musselburgh||Listed||£25,000|
|February||Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle||Haydock||Class 2||£20,000|
|February||Adonis Juvenile Hurdle||Kempton||Grade 2||£30,000|
|February||Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle||Fairyhouse||Grade 3||€32,500|
There are any number of important trials in the early season that attract leading contenders from both the UK and Ireland. The most obvious of these are the three JCB Triumph Hurdle Trials held at Cheltenham between November and January. Gaining experience at Cheltenham can prove to be vital but it’s the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle that tends to be the best indicator of Triumph Hurdle success. Five winners of that race at Kempton have gone on to win since 1999 whilst others have run well in both without winning.
A Bright Future Ahead
In terms of future success, connections of many of those who win or claim a place in the Triumph Hurdle have the Champion Hurdle at the following year’s Cheltenham Festival firmly in mind. It takes a horse of the highest calibre to go on and complete the double though and thus far only four have managed it: Clair Soleil, Persian War, Kribensis and Katchit.
Dual Triumph and Champion Hurdle Winners: 1939 – 2020
|Horse||Trainer||Owner||Triumph Win||Champion Hurdle Win(s)|
|Katchit||Alan King||D S J P Syndicate||2017||2008|
|Kribensis||Michael Stoute||Sheikh Mohammed||1988||1990|
|Persian War||Brian Swift / Colin Davies||Henry Alper||1967||1968,1969, 1970|
|Clair Soleil||Fred Winter||Gerry Judd||1953||1955|
One of the other possibilities for Triumph Hurdle winners is the Stayers’ Hurdle. It’s a sharp increase in distance to three miles but that’s the route taken by the 2014 Triumph Hurdle winner, Tiger Roll, who went on to win the Grand National on two occasions. He’s not the only horse who has gone on to contest major chases. Commanche Court, for example, won both the Punchestown Gold Cup and the Irish Grand National in 2000.