Soldatino Swoops to Triumph
1 Soldatino 6/1
Soldatino foiled a bold front-running attempt by Tom O’Brien and Barizan to take the JCB Triumph Hurdle in the closing stages and give trainer Nicky Henderson a fifth success in the four-year-olds’ championship.
The winner was only bought by owner Simon Munir, through bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley, in January after a success at Pau in France.
“I only bought him at the end of January and it was a job to get him entered for the Triumph because I think he was only registered in this country on the day that entries closed,” said Munir, who now has 10 horses in training and was having his first Festival success.
“You never know how horses from France are going to acclimatise and he was only entered in this race as a precaution. After he won the Adonis Hurdle we decided to come here so I’m glad we entered him.”
Henderson added: “One thing that worried me was whether he had enough experience but I’m thrilled for the horse. He may be a baby but he’s tough.
“You would be worried that he was only a baby and it was a long way to have to go and catch the other horse because the gap was huge. But he does stay and Anthony (Bromley) found him down in Pau in January, so he hasn’t been in England for very long and has very little mileage on the clock. He is an exciting horse.
“Fair play to the second and I nearly felt sorry for him. They went such a gallop for such a long way so it was very tough for a baby to go after him. It was a long way to go on your own to catch the other horse.
“He’s not been in England that long but it seemed through the winter that there wasn’t an outstanding one about and we thought we’d put him in the Adonis Hurdle to have a look.
“He was very babyish and came over with a lot of equipment including earplugs, hoods and special bridles. We left them off initially but after two weeks put them back on. He had the ear plugs in today although you can’t take them out mid-race as they do in France.
“We might send Super Kenny to Aintree but I doubt you’ll be seeing this fellow again this year if I have my way.
“After Binocular (in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle) started things well on Tuesday, yesterday was a bit of comedown but this is fantastic.
Winning jockey Barry Geraghty said: “After that bit of rain last night the ground on the hurdle track was very dead and they went very quick.
“The second horse was a mile clear of us at the third last but it was too late to worry about him then, he had to come back to us. He did and I knew jumping the second last that I’d get him. They’re only young but these French horses know the ropes.
“It was a good performance. The second horse went off very quick - I had to drop in and switch off - but he went so quick that he was always going to have to stop. I had the right horse and never panicked and always though I would get him.
“I just had to give him a couple of taps before the last to keep him going forward but I knew that I would get there well enough. It’s a long run down from the second last to home. It’s hard enough to go as quick as he went but it was a good race.“
BRAVE BARIZAN NEARLY NICKS JCB
A front-running display with the hallmark of Festival folklore was snuffed out in the final 100 yards of the JCB Triumph Hurdle, the Festival’s opening race on totesport Gold Cup day.
Barizan, trained near Cardiff in Wales by Evan Williams, was quickly away as the tapes rose, established a big lead and had his rivals under maximum pressure and still more than 15 lengths in arrears turning for home. From there the leader’s stride began to shorten, and as eventual winner Soldatino cut into the deficit a final-flight blunder sealed Barizan’s fate. He was passed on the run-in but plugged on to finish a gallant second.
Jockey Tom O’Brien said: “The horse came into the race off a break so he was fresh and well, but he lost momentum with the mistake at the last hurdle. I can’t say that cost me the race, but it definitely cost me my momentum.”
Williams was left in that awkward no-man’s land between elation at such a fine effort by his horse, and sadness at defeat.
He said: “It’s disappointing to get gunned down in the final 100 yards, but the winner is obviously a very talented horse. They’ve gone a good gallop and he stretched them - I told Tom to be positive and not worry about what was going on behind. I’m delighted with the way he rode him.
“I suppose if we had been more conservative we might have won, but we’ll never know the answer to that.
“The last-flight mistake didn’t help. He needs good ground and so Aintree is an obvious target and the track should suit.”
O’GRADY PLEASED WITH ALAIVAN THIRD
Irish handler Edward O’Grady was very satisfied with the performance of Alaivan, who stayed on to take third in the opening race on the final day of The Festival 2010, the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle.
The Kalanisi gelding was beaten just over eight lengths and kept on well in the closing stages.
O’Grady said: “He ran a great race and has reversed the form with Carlito Brigante (the 7/2 favourite who finished fourth), which we are delighted about.
“I liked the way he stayed on. I thought he was going to drop back to fourth at one point but then he stayed on again. He is something to look forward to.
“It was a slightly strange race and I wonder what the time was, although I agree with Luca Cumani that the only people really worried about time are behind bars!
“Alaivan could possibly now take the same route as Jumbo Rio did last year and go to France, as he stays well and likes soft ground.”
Previous results - JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
2007-WINNER-KATCHIT 4-11-00 Owner- DSJP Syndicate; Trainer-Alan King;
Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-11/2
CITY 4-11-00 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Philip
Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-7/2 Fav
2005-WINNER-PENZANCE 4-11-00 Owner-Elite Racing Club; Trainer-Alan King;
Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-9/1
2004-WINNER-MADE IN JAPAN 4-11-00 Owner-Terry Evans; Trainer-Philip
Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
2003-WINNER-SPECTROSCOPE 4-11-00 Owner-Gay Smith;
Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-20/1
2002-WINNER-SCOLARDY 4-11-00 Owner-David Flynn; Trainer-Willie Mullins
IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-16/1
2001 Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-SNOW DROP 4-10-09 Owner-John D Martin; Trainer-Francois
Doumen FR; Jockey-Thierry Doumen; SP-7/1 Fav
1999-WINNER-KATARINO 4-11-00 Owner-Robert Waley-Cohen; Trainer-Nicky
Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-11/4 Fav
1998-WINNER-UPGRADE 4-11-00 Owner-Matt Archer and Jean Broadhurst; Trainer-Nigel
Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-14/1
1997-WINNER-COMMANCHE COURT 4-11-00 Owner-Dermot Desmond; Trainer-Ted
Walsh IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-9/1
1996-WINNER-PADDY’S RETURN 4-11-00 Owner-Paddy O’Donnell;
Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-10/1
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE FACTS AND FIGURES
2. JCB, which supports the contest for the eighth time this year, is only the race’s third sponsor. The Elite Racing Club was due to back the race for a fifth time in 2001 when The Festival was cancelled, while the Daily Express sponsored from 1965 to 1996. The race was originally run at the April Meeting but was transferred to The Festival in 1968.
3. The JCB Triumph Hurdle has been one of the most competitive races of The Festival. The 2008 field of 14 was by far the smallest since Connaught Ranger beat 13 rivals in 1978 - the recent introduction of the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle has meant that the JCB Triumph Hurdle now attracts the very best four-year-olds. The race regularly reached the safety factor, reduced from 28 to 24 in 2004. In fact, the 14 runners in Connaught Ranger's year probably had more to do with the transfer of the race to April following the abandonment of racing on Gold Cup day than any loss of its competitive nature. The smallest field was for its first running at Cheltenham in 1965, when seven runners took part. The largest field was 31 in 1970.
4. Since the race has been at Cheltenham, there has only once been an odds-on winner of the Triumph Hurdle. This was Attivo, owned by former BBC TV commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan, in 1973 at 4/5. The longest-priced winners were Baron Blakeney, Shiny Copper and Ikdam at 66/1 in 1981, 1982 and 1989.
5. Three horses have gone on from winning the JCB Triumph Hurdle to victory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle. Persian War won the Triumph in 1967, and reeled off three Champion Hurdles from 1968-70, Kribensis won the Triumph in 1988 and the Champion Hurdle in 1990 while last year Katchit added a Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle victory to his success in the 2007 JCB Triumph Hurdle.
6. The JCB Triumph Hurdle has a good record for home-trained winners. French-trained raiders won it on four consecutive occasions at Hurst Park from 1950-53, again in 1955 and with Snow Drop in 2000. There have only been six Irish successes (1977,1984,1990, 1993, 1997 and 2002). No trainer has been able to dominate the race and the late Fred Rimell and Nicky Henderson are the only trainers to have won it three times.
7. Among jockeys, Jimmy Uttley was successful three times. Fred Winter, Steve Smith Eccles and Richard Dunwoody had two winners as have current riders Richard Johnson and Robert Thornton, but perhaps the most interesting name is that of Lester Piggott, who won the race on King Charlemagne when run at Hurst Park in 1954.
8. The fastest time for the winning horse is 3m 51.20s, recorded in 2006 by Detroit City. The previous best was 3m 52.90s, set by Snow Drop in 2000.
9. It has a justifiable reputation for being one of the more unpredictable contests at The Festival - there have been three 66/1 winners and only eight successful favourites since 1965.
10. It was in the 1981 JCB Triumph Hurdle that Martin Pipe, the 15-time champion jump trainer who retired at the end of the 2005/06 season after registering 34 wins at The Festival, enjoyed his first Festival success with the 66/1 shot Baron Blakeney.
11. Three fillies have been successful; Snow Drop in 2000, Mysilv in 1994 and Shawiya in 1993.
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