Big three Triumph hopefuls clash tomorrow

Sadler's - a Risk for the Triumph?

The three horses at the head of the market for Cheltenham's JCB Triumph Hurdle take each other on tomorrow in the Triumph Hurdle Trial, a.k.a. the Finesse Juvenile Hurdle. Like its counterpart on the final day of the Festival this race is first on the card.

On what we've seen so far from the four-year-olds, Baby Mix, Sadler's Risk and Grumeti deserve their place at the head of things for March. Baby Mix was an unfancied 14/1 shot on his hurdling debut last month, but overturned hot odds-on favourite Hinterland with ease. Trainer Tom George said that he was happy with Baby Mix’s preparation and saw this race as an opportunity to introduce him to Cheltenham.

Sadler's Risk was an impressive 17 length winner on his hurdles debut at Kempton two weeks ago. Jonathan White, assistant trainer to Philip Hobbs said, "We couldn't have been happier with what he did at Kempton – he was very impressive. He has come out of the race very well indeed and we thought we would give him a bit more practice before the Triumph"

The third contender, Grumeti, fell in his last race at Newbury when odds-on. Despite this bookmakers cut his odds for the Triumph by four points, although he’s eased back a little since. Trainer Alan King was considering an alternative race at Taunton next week before confirming that Grumeti would take his chance alongside his rivals. He said, “He schooled and jumped very well. On what we saw the fall hasn’t worried him in the slightest. He jumped nine flight and was very accurate and enjoyed himself.”

Whoever wins tomorrow's race is unlikely to go on to success at the Festival itself. Of the last 10 Triumph Hurdle winners only Alan King's Katchit in 2007 had his prep race in Saturday's Cheltenham trial.

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