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Triumph Hurdle Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 13 mins

Triumph Hurdle Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

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2024 Triumph Hurdle Trends

The Triumph hurdle is often something of a puzzle at the Cheltenham Festival. Featuring young, enexposed horses, some with a flat background, others who started their careers in France, it can be a tricky one to figure out. Here are some of the key Trimph Hurdle trends to be aware of before placing your bets at horse racing betting sites:

The last 10 winners:

  • Finished in the first four on their last run, seven winning, including five of the last seven
  • Finished in the first two in one of their last three starts
  • Last ran over hurdles, no more than 48 days ago, i.e. in late January or early February
  • Had won all outings at Cheltenham, if they had run at the course before
  • Had run up to five times over hurdles - five were unbeaten

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Last ran in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 hurdle race (exception Pentland Hills won maiden hurdle)

Eight of the last 10 winners:

  • Were not fillies, despite 18 female runners, including a Spring Juvenile Hurdle winner (exceptions Lossiemouth and Burning Victory)
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Flat racing form

Five of the last 10 Triumph Hurdle winners had run in Flat races before switching to hurdles; Vauban, Burning Victory, Pentland Hills, Farclas and Ivanovich Gorbatov. This is what they had in common:

  • They had each run at least three times on the Flat - but only one had run more than five times
  • They had all won at least once - but no more than twice
  • Each had won over no less than 1m3f - but no more than 1m7f, with 1m4f being the sweet spot
  • Three of the five had only run on the Flat in France
  • Two had won handicaps, but most had not run in one
  • Only Vauban had won, or run in, a Listed race

So when looking at contenders with Flat form, pay attention to those that have won over at least 1m3f, preferably in France and not in handicaps, but not more than twice. It pays only to consider those that have run a maximum of five times on the Flat also. Pentland Hills was a blip in that trend with his 11 runs, but he had still only won twice.

 

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Key Trials in the last 10 years

Six of the last 10 winners last ran in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in early February (Quilixios, Farclas, Ivanovich Gorbatov, Tiger Roll, Vauban and Lossiemouth). However only Quilixios and Vauban won that race before Festival glory, and every Spring Juvenile Hurdle winner in the last 13 years has run in the Triumph next. Five of them have been placed, and a further four Triumph placings were filled by other Spring Juvenile runners. Kargese won the trial in 2024.

The Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in December is another Grade 1 contest that attracts some of the best juveniles, like 2016 winner Defi Du Seuil. 2019 and 2021 winners Allmankind and Adagio were placed in the Triumph the same season, but the 2021 winner could only finish sixth. The 2022 winner didn't run. Salver won in 2023.

The Grade 3 Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in January has produced two winners (Defi Du Seuil and Peace And Co). The 2023 winner didn't run. Sir Gino won in 2024.

Kempton’s Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle in late February has been won by some brilliant juveniles, but it has not produced a Triumph Hurdle winner since Zarkandar in 2011.

2020 winner Burning Victory won the Grade 3 Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse in February before her Festival success. Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Zenta won this in 2023 before finishing third in the Triumph. The 2024 renewal is on February 24.

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Trainer Trends

  • Nicky Henderson boasts a massive 20% strike rate in the Grade 1, having saddled two winners and four placed horses from only 10 runners in the last 10 years. In 2015 he had the 1-2-3. In his career, he's saddled seven winners. No other trainer has more.
  • Philip Hobbs,  now training in tandem with Johnson White, has won the race three times since the turn of the century, most recently with Defi Du Seuil in 2017.
  • Gordon Elliott boasts an 18% strike rate in the Triumph Hurdle, having saddled two winners and four placed horses from just 11 runners overall.
  • Willie Mullins first won the race in 2002, and did not saddle another winner until 2020, but followed up in 2022 and 2023. He saddled the first three last year.
  • Seven of the last 10 winners were trained in Ireland.

Jockey Trends

With five-time winner Barry Geraghty now retired, Paul Townend has taken over as the jockey to follow, with three wins in the last four renewals for trainer Willie Mullins.

How did the trends do last year?

Lossiemouth was a text-book trends pick having run in one of the best trials, the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown's Dublin Racing Festival.
She was not unbeaten. She had won a Grade 3 and Grade 2, but was defeated by stablemate Gala Marceau in the Spring Juvenile. This has traditionally not been a barrier to Triumph Hurdle victory, but there was one trend that Lossiemouth did bust.

A total of 13 fillies had run in the Triumph Hurdle in the 10 years prior to Lossiemouth's win, eight of them trained by Mullins, and only his Burning Victory had won. Apple's Jade was the only other filly in the last decade to finish in the first three.

Second Gala Marceau was also a filly, but was a slightly stronger trends pick having won the key trial, and consequently won her final race before Cheltenham. And to completely buck the trend of females failing, stablemate Zenta, winner of another key trial, the Winning Fair Hurdle, finished third. That's a 1-2-3 for fillies, all trained by Mullins.

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Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

The Nicky Henderson-trained Sir Gino, winner of the most recent Triumph trial at Cheltenham, is the clear leader on trends, boasting a perfect record over hurdles and a 10-length win over course and distance in January. He is a worthy favourite, but four of Willie Mullins's potential contenders are also worth considering in Spring Juvenile Hurdle winner Kargese, third Majborough, second Storm Heart, who is a winner over 1m4f on the Flat in France, and fourth Bunting, who won over 1m3f on the Flat in France.

Kargese is the only filly in this foursome, while Paul Townend rode Storm Heart in the Spring Juvenile. It will be telling which he chooses as he is the race's current top jockey.

2022 Triumph Hurdle Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Lossiemouth 11/8f Willie Mullins Paul Townend
2nd Gala Marceau 100/30 Willie Mullins Danny Mullins
3rd Zenta 12/1 Willie Mullins Mark Walsh
 

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.