We kick off day four of the festival with the JCB Triumph Hurdle. After three days of hardcore punting and exhilarating racing, the action may be too much for some, and it certainly does not slow down in this competitive novice hurdle contest.
There is usually a whopping field of runners in the Triumph Hurdle, so not only are there a great deal of choices to look through in terms of betting options, you also need your selection to come through the field unscathed. I am sure there are plenty of punters out there who have seen their horse travelling strongly, only to be undone through lack of a clear run in the final straight.
The race is two miles and requires a superior turn of foot, so we are talking about speedy animals here and a race that often suits classy recruits from the flat. The novices often go off at quite a belt and the pace can often find a number of the field waning up the hill in the final couple of furlongs.
The bad news for having a bet on the Triumph Hurdle is that the race has a reputation for throwing up some interesting results and the bookmakers have certainly had it their own way in the history of the race. The good news for anyone considering betting on the race is that the recent renewals have seen 13 of the last 18 winners start in the first four of the betting, so all is not lost as far as the form book is concerned.
- The JCB Triumph Hurdle is classified as a Grade 1 national hunt hurdle race.
- Over recent years, the race start time has been 13:30 on the fourth and last day of the Cheltenham Festival, which is a Friday.
- The race is only open to horses aged 4 years and there is a 7lb allowance for fillies.
- The total race distance is 2 miles 1 furlong.
- In 2011 the winner of the race received circa £57k and the total prize purse was circa £100k.
- There are 8 hurdles for the novices to take on.
- 7 out of the last 10 winners began the race with an SP in single figures.
- In the past 10 years favourites have a poor record in the race, having only won 1 out of the last 10 renewals.
- In the last 20 renewals, only 4 favourites have won the Triumph Hurdle.
- Finishing positions of favourites over the past 10 renewals are as follows: 4, 4, 2, 2, 10, 1, 3, 10, 3, PU.
- Irish bred horses have won 9 out of the past 20 renewals.
- 15 out of the last 21 winners also won in their last race.
- 16 out of the last 18 winners had also had a minimum of two winning runs over hurdles.
- Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Alan King have all won the Triumph Hurdle twice in the last 10 years.
- Alan King has an unbelievably strong record in the race, having saddled 2 winners, 2 seconds and 1 third place finish over the past 7 years.
- Over the past four years, every horse placed in the top three has been either Irish or French bred.
- The biggest priced winner over the past 20 years was 33/1 shot and US import Invader back in 1992.
History of the race
The Triumph Hurdle was not actually run at Cheltenham, or anywhere near the Midlands for that matter, until 1965. If we trace the race back to 1939, the first ever Triumph Hurdle was contested at Hurst Park in Surrey. Due to the closure of this track in the mid 1960’s, the race transferred to Cheltenham in 1965 and consequently became part of the Cheltenham Festival in 1968. Who would have thought that The Triumph Hurdle actually began its existence in Surrey some 72 years ago!