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Triumph Hurdle Tips - 1:30pm Cheltenham

A race for four year olds only and they take in eight jumps over two miles. This race proved to provide the shock of the festival last year when Goshen was a country mile clear of his opposition and unseated an inconsolable Jamie Moore. Burning Victory who was held up for much of the race took full advantage by staying on past tiring rivals to record a bloodless victory over Aspire Tower and Allmankind.

Statistics-wise favourites have a dismal record in the race and have only won three times in the last decade. Four of the last eight winners have used Leopardstown as a warm up for this race (Farclas, Ivanovich Gorbatov, Tiger Roll and Our Conor). All of the last ten winners had their previous run within fifty-five days of this race. No French horse has won this since Snow Drop in 2000. Nicky Henderson has won the race four times in the last twenty years and two of those came within the last six (Peace And Co and Pentland Hills).

Zanahiyr leads the betting market following three wins in as many starts since switching from the flat yard of Michael Halford to the yard of Gordon Elliott. He has picked up Grade Three and Grade Two wins at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown just prior to Christmas. The way he travelled the last day showed that he can sit off a strong pace but can quickly make up ground as the race progresses. He jumped every hurdle with ease and went into a lot of notebooks following that effort.

Quilixios has always been held in high regard. He was good enough to win on his French debut for Francois Nicolle at Compeigne when he had a dozen lengths to spare over Yes Indeed. He subsequently was purchased by Cheveley Park Stud and shipped over to Ireland where he also made an instant impact. Two quick victories in the space of two weeks followed at Punchestown and Down Royal where he won by a combined thirty-three lengths. He was upped in class to contest the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival where he won in fine style again. He is certainly well worth his place in this line-up and Jack Kennedy will have a headache deciding which of the leading pair to ride.

French Aseel won on his racecourse debut for Ellmarie Holden and sauntered home by almost two dozen lengths. He was purchased pretty much on the spot by new connections and sent straight into the care of Willie Mullins. He also trains Asterion Forlonge, Al Boum Photo and Gaillard Du Mesnil for the same owners so they certainly know a thing or two about buying good horses. The form of his win is beginning to work out with the likes of Coltor and Ilmig coming out to win subsequently. He will need to progress again but that can’t be ruled out and he is respected.

Adagio has plenty of experience around this track as he was runner-up in a Grade Two race here in November before winning the trial for this race the following month with something to spare over Historic Heart. He then landed a Grade One at Chepstow early in the new year getting the better of Nassalam and Houx Gris. He will be carrying the main hopes of the home nation and it would be foolish to write him off completely.

Tritonic has been a solid performer over middle distances for Alan King and was a decent fourth to Kingbrook in the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket back in October. He has been switched to race over hurdles and made his debut at Ascot back in January. Despite looking in trouble at several points during the race and a mistake at the last, he kept on dourly in the closing stages to see off a game Casa Loupi. He will have learned plenty from that experience but needs to take another step forward to trouble any of the main protagonists.

Duffle Coat has won all four of his starts for Gordon Elliott and his win over Adagio has only been advertised further since he put him firmly in his place over the course and distance back in November. One massive negative is that he is from the family of Saddlers Wells and despite seven previous attempts by his offspring none have won.

Nassalam has it all to do in order to reverse the form with Adagio. This is his only entry at the festival so it seems likely that he will participate in this. He would need a career best to take a hand in the finish and would be suited better by underfoot conditions.

Teahupoo gives Gordon Elliott yet another possible contender here and he is two from two for the yard. The form of his most recent win has been franked subsequently by Druids Altar who he beat by fifteen lengths. Being French bred he will likely appreciate softer ground but in what is a wide open race he is another that cannot be fully discounted.

Quilixios brings some solid form to the table and he has to be high on any shortlist. He remains unbeaten and fulfils most of the prerequisite criteria required having won at the Dublin Racing Festival. An exciting future lies ahead for this Cheveley Park owned runner and he looks sure to be involved at the finish.

Punters Lounge Tip: Quilixios E/W @ 5/1 at bet365 - Click Here To Bet
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