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Cheltenham Festival Triumph Hurdle tip: Salver ready to take on the Willie Mullins brigade

The final day of the Festival could hardly ask for a better curtain-raiser, with 13 promising hurdlers all carrying high hopes of carving their name on the Triumph Hurdle honours board.

13:30 - JCB Triumph Hurdle (2 miles 179 yards)

With Willie Mullins saddling seven of the 13 scheduled starters, he appears to hold most of the aces, and a fair few of the kings to boot, especially following the withdrawal of Nicky Henderson’s much-fancied Sir Gino.

The Mullins machine has a knack for churning out capable young hurdlers, and has produced three of the last four Triumph winners, including last year when the impressive Lossiemouth (winner of this year’s Mares’ Hurdle) led home three of her stablemates for a dominant 1-2-3-4 for the Master of Closutton.

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He again saddles the three early market leaders in Majborough, Storm Heart and Kargese, and they obviously hold serious claims, but we’re going to to against the grain and plump for a Gary Moore-trained runner that might just have what it takes to loosen Mullins’ grip on the Triumph Hurdle trophy.

There’s been a fair amount of support in the Tipstrr camp for Salver, who was acquired by Moore’s yard last summer and hit the ground running on stable debut at Warwick in early November, quickly following up with more Class 4 success at Exeter later the same month.

A first taste of Grade 1 action just after Christmas held no qualms for the four-year-old, as he landed Chepstow’s Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle by an impressive 21-length margin ahead of the highly-rated Balboa.

He reappeared last month to warm up for this with a run-out in a 4-runner Class 2 event at Haydock, where he again eased clear to win with plenty in hand, despite a few mistakes along the way.

Suggested bet: Salver each-way in the 13:30 at Cheltenham

In-form jockey Gavin Sheehan takes Salver’s reins for the first time, and although the jockey has had a disappointing first few days at the Festival, on Monday he led three of his rides into Stratford’s winning circle at odds of 25/1, 9/1 and 11/4, so he clearly knows how to bring the best out of unfancied types.

Three of Salver’s four wins have been in heavy going (one on soft), so he should relish the testing conditions likely to confront him at Prestbury Park, and if Sheehan is able to iron out any hurdling kinks and keep him in touch going up the final hill, then his stamina might just get him in amongst the Mullins runners at a decent each-way price.


Triumph Hurdle key stats

Top 3 trainers (last 20 years)

  • Nicky Henderson - 21 runners, 4 winners and 4 places
  • Willie Mullins - 41 runners, 3 winners and 9 places
  • Philip Hobbs - 7 runners, 3 winners and 2 places

Top 4 jockeys (last 20 years)

  • Paul Townend - 13 rides, 3 winners and 3 places
  • Daryl Jacob - 9 rides, 1 winner and 1 place
  • Jack Kennedy - 4 rides, 1 winner and 1 place
  • Rachael Blackmore - 4 rides, 1 winner and 1 place

Past 5 winners of the Triumph Hurdle

  • 2019 Pentland Hills 20/1
  • 2020 Burning Victory 12/1
  • 2021 Quilixios 2/1
  • 2022 Vauban 6/4F
  • 2023 Lossiemouth 11/8F

Britain v Ireland

  • Britain - 12 winners with 19 places from 202 runners
  • Ireland - 8 winner with 21 places from 118 runners

READ MORE: Cheltenham Festival ITV racing tips: Best bets for Day Four on Thursday March 15

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