Monday, November 14, 2011

Rave reviews for Triumph Hurdle hope Hinterland

Paul Nicholls unleashed what could potentially be a high-class performer in the making when his Hinterland made a very impressive British racecourse debut in the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham on Saturday and believes the ex-French juvenile hurdle winner could be a major star of the future, writes Elliot Slater.

Coming from a trainer who has such an embarrassment of riches in nearly every department of the jumps game these comments must be taken seriously, and in defeating the useful Hollow Tree by an easy three-lengths, Nicholls confirmed that the winner was only repeating the sparkling performances he has put up on the Ditcheat gallops of late.

Hinterland arrived at Paul Nicholls’ yard from Guillaume Macaire’s stables in France where on only his second career start he proved too good for a strong field of juvenile hurdlers when landing the Grade 2 Prix Wild Monarch in May of this year. Purchased privately by Chris Giles and Jared Sullivan, the Poliglote gelding had done everything asked of him on the home gallops prior to his Cheltenham run and was the subject of very strong horse racing betting market support in being backed down from 15/8 to 6/4 favourite.

Those that weighed in on the gamble never had a moment’s worry as Hinterland cruised around Prestbury Park under Ruby Walsh before easing to the lead before the third last. Hollow Tree gamely tried to peg him back going to the final flight but in the end Donald McCain’s gallant sort had no answer to the turn of the foot shown on the uphill climb to the line by the winner. Not surprisingly most bookmakers were very impressed by the performance and from a pre-race quote of 20/1 for the Triumph Hurdle itself some now –  thanks to a number of  experts’ horse racing betting tips - make Nicholls’ youngster as short as 5/1 ante-post favourite for the juvenile hurdling crown.

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