Nick Williams's Le Rocher propelled towards the head of the ante-post betting for the Triumph Hurdle after an emphatic 10-length success over Kentucky Hyden in the Grade Two Finesse Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day and the exciting youngster is set to return to the same venue on March 14 to try and bag victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
The way he quickened clear of Nicky Henderson's raider and the Paul Nicholls-trained Vicenzo Mio, who was highly thought of before that contest, showed that he has a lot more to come and with proven form at the track has to be a leading challenger for the opener on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Nicholls will hope that Calipto can give him a fighting chance in this juvenile event and he was a taking winner of a Newbury event and appears to be open to a lot more scope and will now step up into Grade One company, but there will be a strong Irish contingent taking their chance.
Dessie Hughes won this race 12 months ago with Our Conor and he could saddle Guitar Pete in this year's running and he was last seen beating a quality field in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, where Willie Mullins's Ivan Grozny and Aidan O'Brien's Plinth were behind all three of those deserve respect.
Tiger Roll was a gallant second in that Grade One race at Leopardstown and it is often a leading trial for what is always a superb curtain-raiser to Cheltenham Gold Cup day, whilst Gitane Du Berlais could be another player from the Emerald Isle.
John Ferguson's Broughton has caught the eye in recent months since his switch from the Flat and he is a classy entrant, whilst the likes of Pearl Castle and Agreement add tremendous depth to the hotly-anticipated Prestbury Park event.
6/1 Le Rocher
8/1 Guitar Pete
14/1 Pearl Castle
16/1 Ivan Grozny
20/1 Tiger Roll
20/1 Adriana Des Mottes
20/1 Gitane Du Berlais
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The Triumph Hurdle is a Grade One race run on day four of the Cheltenham Festival over two miles, one furlong and is open to horses aged four years old.
Established in 1939, the Triumph Hurdle was moved to Cheltenham from Hurst Park in 1965 and became a part of the festival in 1968. It is the leading national hunt contest that is only open to juveniles and it is now the curtain-raiser to the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Usually a ulta-competitive race with bumper fields going to post, trainers often use the Triumph Hurdle as a stepping stone for championships races and there have been four winners of the Triumph who have gone on to win the Champion Hurdle later on in their career.
Clair Soleil was the first to achieve the feat by winning the 1953 Triumph and bagging Champion Hurdle glory in 1955, whilst the legendary Persian War won the 1967 Triumph before winning a hat-trick of Champion Hurdle titles in 1968, 1969 and 1970.
Kribensis won the 1988 renewal before going on to win the 1990 Champion Hurdle for Sir Michael Stoute, whilst the Alan King-trained Katchit was the most recent winning the 2007 Triumph and winning the Champion Hurdle a year later.
Nicky Henderson has a terrific recent record in the race as he amassed five victories in the race with his first coming in 1985 with First Bout and his fifth in 2010 with Soldatino.
Attracting some of the leading four-year-olds we are sure to learn a lot as the 2012/2013 season progresses and we will be keeping on top of all form-related issues for the 2013 Triumph. We will also be giving you a detailed list of runners on the day of the race, so you can choose your winner.