- 7 of the last 10 winners have been trained in Ireland
- The last 5 winners have made an average of less than 3 starts over hurdles
- The handicapper has allotted an average rating of 150 to those winners
- Only Defi Du Seuil (2017) had previously run at Cheltenham in the last 10 years
- None of the last 10 winners of the race went on to win at the following years festival
- 4 of the last 5 winners started their careers in France
Finding the Winner:
Perhaps more than any other race at the festival there is a degree of randomness about the form lines that lead to the winner of this race. That is understandable given that we are dealing with Juvenile hurdlers, but it doesn’t make it an easy task. 4 of the last 10 favourites have won the race, but none since Defi Du Seuil (2017). In the last 5 years the winners of the race have made between 6 (Defi Du Seuil) and only 1 (Pentland Hills) starts over hurdles before winning this race. The magic number seems to be a mark of 150, but it is hard to be certain which of this year’s contenders will run to that mark. The introduction of the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle has changed the makeup of this race in recent years and the 25-runner cavalry charge Triumph Hurdles of the past are long gone. Instead, the better Juveniles meet here in fields between 8-15 runners, with the key trial appearing to be the Spring Juvenile at the Dublin racing festival and the Triumph hurdle trial at Cheltenham in January. It won’t come as huge surprise that these stats point towards Vauban (Willie Mullins) and Pied Piper (Gordon Elliott). Both yards have won the race in recent seasons and on the form shown, it will be a surprise if Ireland don’t make it 5 in a row in 2022.
When looking at the stats and results for this race, we must acknowledge the races run in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, the fall and injury to the ill-fated Sir Erec left the race wide open and the 3 horses to fill the frame (Pentland Hills, Coeur Sublime and Gardens of Babylon) returned £3.50, £5.80 and £2.10 in the place market. Whilst in 2020, Goshen had the race won when he came down at the last and that left the race open to Burning Victory, who would have been 2nd best had he stood up. Those 2 unique sets of circumstances do throw the results a little, but there are some patterns underneath that could still apply for those seeking some each-way value. The winner of the Grade 1 Juvenile Finale Hurdle at Chepstow has made the frame in the Triumph in 3 of the last 5 years (Defi Du Seuil 2017, Allmankind 2020 and Adagio 2021). Similarly, the likes of Quilixios, Farclas, Aspire Tower, Gardens of Babylon, Mega Fortune and Bapaume have all finished in the first 3 after running in the Spring Juvenile hurdle at Leopardstown. Those 2 races have pointed to over 60% of the horses who have made the frame and taken literally, that would highlight horses like Porticello, Vauban and Fil Dor in 2022.
The 2022 running of the Triumph hurdle looks very competitive and without a standout favourite, there is a decent opportunity to find an angle into the Exacta and Trifecta markets. If we take 2021 as an example, the winner and 2nd were both Grade 1 hurdle winners, yet they still returned a healthy £15.80 on the exacta. There has been an Irish trained 1,2 in 3 of the last 5 years, yet each of those outcomes have returned £15+ on the exacta.
When it comes to the Trifecta, the better premiums have come when the favourite has missed the frame. 2018 (£1642.90) and 2019 (£6990) stand out in recent years, but on both occasion the well backed favourites, Apples Shakira and Sir Erec failed to make the 3. In a year where there are several top-class horses dominating the market, this outcome seems much less likely.