Gold Cup Day kicks into life with the Triumph Hurdle, a race which has become something of a favourite with punters given the number of long-priced winners over the years. Indeed, last year’s winner Peace and Co was the first favourite to win here in almost a decade.
Other famous winners over the 2m 1f stretch are Countrywide Flame, who lit up Cheltenham in his famous 33/1 triumph in 2012, and then Tiger Roll followed two years later at the princely price of 10/1.
It might be worth keeping an eye on the Nicky Henderson stable as he had a 1-2-3 in this renewal last year and boasts six wins in all. But it’s a rare appearance from an Aidan O’Brien jumper, Ivanovich Gorbatov, that has headlined the early movements with the bookies. He has been established as the 5/1 favourite.
A pair of interesting stats that might help to inform punters have come up trumps for all ten previous winners, and so are very much worth a look. Each of the last ten champions in the Triumph Hurdle placed on their last start (and 70% won), and all had had a run out in the January or February prior to Cheltenham.
Ivanovich Gorbatov ran in February but finished fourth, so perhaps Zubayr (5/1, Betfred) is worth a look. One run, one win is how this horse’s resume reads, with that victory coming over two miles at Kempton in February.
Sceau Royal, with three consecutive wins under his belt – the last of which came in January, is also worth consideration at 7/1 with Bet365 in what is surely one of the festival’s most open races.