Place your bets on Smad – Triumph Hurdle Preview

The Triumph Hurdle currently lacks a stand out contender this time around and it looks an open race. There are no less than 10 horses offerred between 7/1 and 20/1. But in the belief that Smad Place can improve into a stand out contender I’m putting him up for the Triumph Hurdle before he runs in the Trial for that race on Saturday at Cheltenham.

A recruit from France, Alan King’s Smad Place made a scintillating UK debut at Newbury in a Juvenile Hurdle at the end of November beating a Paul Nicholls trained 1/4 favourite by 27 lengths. He then went to Chepstow at the beginning of this month for the Grade 1 Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle and finished third behind Marsh Warbler. On the face of it a disappointing performance but the race wasn’t run to suit this staying type. There was no pace until they turned into the straight and from there it was a sprint to the line. Despite this, if you watch the replay you can clearly see that Smad Place stays on towards the line.

Arguably, he lacks the pace to win the Triumph but invariably it’s a race  run at a tremendous pace and that plus the uphill finish at Prestbury Park will suit him admirably. He wouldn’t want the ground like a road but the good to soft that Cheltenham aim for would be perfect.

A big plus is that his trainer has a fantastic recent record in this race which reads as follows:

2005 – WON – Penzance
2006 – 3rd – Blazing Bailey
2007 – WON – Katchit
2008 – 2nd – Franchoek
2009 – 2nd – Walkon
2010 – 6th – Gilded Age

So in 5 out of the last 6 years Alan King has bagged a place.

Of the others at the head of the market Sam Winner has done too much too soon and based on his Cheptow performance when he as a place behind the selection is unlikely to be at his peak. Marsh Warbler is unlikely to run unless the ground is soft. The current favourite Grandouet won well at Ascot for Nicky Henderson, who has a good record in this race, but he is only 2 ahead on Racing Post ratings and yet is half the price.

The Triumph Hurdle Trial race on Saturday is an ideal prep for the first race on Festival Friday and gives Smad Place an great opportunity to enhance his credentials. Let’s hope he’s the new favourite by Saturday night.

If I’d posted this earlier today I could have advised 14/1 but unfortunately that has disappeared into the ether and the best price is 12/1 although that price is widely available. It’s also worth noting that the days of each way the first 4 in this race have now gone and all bookies offer 1/4 odds 1,2,3.

Recommended bet: 1 point ew Smad Place 12/1 – Generally – Triumph Hurdle
Note: It turns out that Ladbrokes have been offering 14/1 all day. Hat tip to Coast on Twitter for the info. Suggest you take the 14s but for the record the advised price is 12/1.