Such is the competitiveness nature of the this year’s Triumph Hurdle, it is still unclear what horse will start favourite for the race. Sadlers Risk, Grumeti, Baby Mix and Pearl Swan all are trading around odds of 6/1 with Bluesq, with punters perplexed by which horse brings the strongest form lines to the table.
If something from the pack beats any of those four come the race then you can rest assured the bookmaker trading rooms will be popping open the champagne.
Of the quintet it seems the recent vibes have been strongest regarding the chances of Grumeti for juvenile training extraordinaire Alan King, who has trained two winners, two seconds and a third in this race since 2006.
Grumeti did undergo a bit of a fitness scare after suffering an injury on the gallops last weekend but the reports coming out of King’s yard since have been positive.
The winner of the Adonis Hurdle, which has produced five of the last 12 winners of the Triumph Hurdle, Baby Mix has also been steadily backed in the ante-post markets but not to the extent that many had predicted after his solid win over Sadler’s Risk by two lengths.
Punters seem keener on the Phillip Hobbs’ horse reversing the form on the return to a more stamina sapping track such is Cheltenham.
The horse, bar the first four in the market, that has seen support in the market is Dodging Bullets for Paul Nicholls, who was as big as 33/1 last week but has been backed into 16/1 after being put up by a well-regarded tipping-line.
The former Andrew Oliver 89-rated Flat performer only made his hudling debut behind Grumeti in the Dovecote Hurdle at Kempton two weeks ago and showed definite scope for improvement by finishing just two lengths shy of the winner.
Improvement is certainly to be expected and it will be interesting who stable jockey Ruby Walsh decides to ride either him or other classy stablemate Pearl Swan.