Cheltenham Festival 2012 

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Partial 'Triumph' for Grumeti Connections

For those with a vested interest in the JCB Triumph Hurdle chances of leading fancy Grumeti, it has been a worrying few days after the son of Sakhee's recent injury scare. The Alan King-trained gelding spread a plate last Monday, and with the Festival just around the corner that was just the sort of hiccup that connections could do without.

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Up until that point things had gone very smoothly with his preparation for the big day next Friday, with just one defeat from four starts over timber, that in itself being an unfortunate occurrence, as all that stopped certain victory at Newbury was a fall at the penultimate flight with the race in the bag.

Normal service was resumed at Kempton recently, when he had three older opponents behind in landing the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle, and few that saw him that day would cast doubt on his claims to be the best juvenile around at present. Those placing Cheltenham bets will know he was looking good.

With Minsk disappointing in Ireland on his debut the other week, that means his main opponents have all put their cards on the table already, including stablemate Balder Succes. Philip Hobbs reckons that Sadlers Risk is one of his best hopes at the Festival, and for sure Baby Mix has not done a great deal wrong, but those apart, it is hard to see anything else improving enough to stop Grumeti and the Cheltenham betting reflects this.

The horse worked well on the Barbury Castle gallops just three days after his mishap with that right foreleg shoe, so in truth we can sleep a lot easier in or beds knowing that the scare was just that. All being well, 1.30pm on Friday 16th March should see Grumeti line up as a very solid favourite for a race that has tended to go to a fancied, upwardly mobile sort in recent times.

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