JCB Triumph Hurdle - Friday March 15th 2013 

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Our Conor Outclasses JCB Triumph Hurdle Field

1 Our Conor 4/1
2 Far West 4/1
3 Sametegal 33/1
17 ran Distances: 15l, 2¼l, 4½l
TIME 4m 11.10s (slow by 16.60s)

Trainer Dessie Hughes summed up Our Conor's solo tour de force in the JCB Triumph Hurdle succinctly.

Our Conor
© Caroline Norris

Our Conor

"He jumped brilliant and just galloped them into the ground," he said. "He's a real one, isn't he? I thought and hoped he'd win, but I couldn't have imagined he'd do it like that.

"He's really special. He quickened so well and the further he went the better he went. He had to be niggled a bit early when he won at Leopardstown but he was on the bridle the whole way this time.

"He's straightforward to train and to ride. He's the whole package. He's a real horse, he loves his racing.

"He eats, sleeps and he goes on any ground. You saw for yourselves how good he was today and I don't know how good he could be - he is very, very good.

"Wonderful, I can't believe Our Conor won by 15 lengths but he looks a special doesn't he. He's a Champion Hurdle horse for next year."

Our Conor, who won by a record 15 lengths, was Ireland's seventh Triumph Hurdle winner, and the first since Scolardy in 2002. His next outing will be at Punchestown."

The son of Jeremy was introduced to hurdles at an early age. "He showed plenty of pace on the Flat - he won over seven furlongs at Roscommon last year - and we were dying to run him over hurdles," said Hughes. "We first schooled him over hurdles when he was two and he jumped them like a natural even then."

Our Conor stood like a rock in the winner's circle as his owners draped him in scarves and Irish flags and posed for the cameras with his ears pricked. "He loves all that," added Hughes, "he's rock-steady in his mind."

The gelding is named after the infant son of Ciara Houlihan, whose father Dolan is one of the members of the Man About Town syndicate of owners, headed by Noel Hayes.



Bryan Cooper was full of praise for 4/1 joint-second favourite Our Conor after he routed the field in the first race on Gold Cup day.

The four-year-old was Cooper's second winner of The Festival following Benefficient's victory in the Jewson Novices' Chase on St Patrick's Thursday and had his young pilot dreaming of next year's Stan James Champion Hurdle after his 15-length victory.

"He put them to bed very easily," said Cooper.

"He travelled so well - I was there a mile too soon but he got so many gears and class - and he was very good.

"He kept galloping and I could have done with a bit of company the whole way because he would have gone further and further clear.

"I have never ridden a Champion hurdler but he is giving me the feel of one. He's definitely the best I've ever ridden and may be the best I ever ride - he's that good."

British Flat champion jockey Richard Hughes - son of trainer Dessie - was impressed by the ride Cooper gave the horse and also thought that the juvenile could potentially be Champion Hurdle class.

"It's absolutely marvellous. I didn't think Our Conor was that good but after his last performance Bryan said he was off the bridle going down the back but when he joined the leader, he took off with him. We knew he was pretty special then.

"To go around there today at that pace was unbelievable. We said not to go too soon but he just let him go.

"My dad works really hard and thank God he didn't run the horse at Christmas because two days later they were dragging Our Conor around the yard because he was coughing.

"Richard (Hannon) has a runner at Chantilly today and a couple at Lingfield but I said to him I'm not going anywhere other than Cheltenham!"

David Dickinson of the British Horseracing Authority said: "The performance of Our Conor was mightily impressive and his rating will reflect that.

"I have provisionally placed him on a mark of 160, which makes him the highest-rated Triumph winner since the Anglo-Irish Classifications began, 1lb ahead of Katchit."


JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
£120,000 added, 4yo only, 2m 1f, Class 1
17 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Our Conor
D T Hughes
B J Cooper
11st 0lbs
4 - 1
Far West
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 0lbs
4 - 1
15 lengths
P F Nicholls
Ryan Mahon
11st 0lbs
33 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
W P Mullins
D J Casey
11st 0lbs
10 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Vasco Du Ronceray
N J Henderson
J Ricou
11st 0lbs
20 - 1
Rolling Star
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 0lbs
5 - 2
3/4 length
Chris Pea Green
G L Moore
J E Moore
11st 0lbs
33 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Lac Fontana
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 0lbs
25 - 1
7 lengths
Tim Vaughan
R Johnson
11st 0lbs
25 - 1
12 lengths
Hidden Justice
J J Quinn
P Carberry
11st 0lbs
16 - 1
32 lengths
J Ryan
Jack Doyle
11st 0lbs
66 - 1
9 lengths
Kashmir Peak
J J Quinn
D C Costello
11st 0lbs
20 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
King of Dudes
A King
W Hutchinson
11st 0lbs
100 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
Cape Explorer
B Ellison
Danny Cook
11st 0lbs
100 - 1
Gassin Golf
R Lee
T Scudamore
11st 0lbs
33 - 1
Masters Blazing
J Ryan
C Bolger
11st 0lbs
200 - 1
Stocktons Wing
C O'Brien
A P McCoy
11st 0lbs
11 - 1


Far West
© Racehorse Photos

Far West


"Beaten by an aeroplane," was Paul Nicholls' description of the defeat handed to his horses by Our Conor in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, but the champion trainer was happy enough at having saddled the second and third home.

Far West, joint-second-favourite at 4/1 and ridden by Ruby Walsh, finished second, 15 lengths behind the impressive winner, while 33/1 shot Sametegal, the mount of Ryan Mahon, was another two and a quarter lengths back in third.

Nicholls said: "I'm thrilled with the pair of them and I haven't thought there was much between them all season. They've run well on the day, but have been beaten by an aeroplane.

"Neither horse has run on the Flat, while the winner did [he raced six times before going hurdling] - these might mature a little more with experience. I believe Far West is going to make up into a useful hurdler next season, while Sametegal definitely has the makings of a chaser.

"They could both run again this season, and I'm half thinking about going to Auteuil with Far West to run in the big four-year-old hurdle."

Willie Mullins, trainer of fourth-placed Diakali, said: "He jumped much better today, but I don't think the rain really suited him. The winner was very impressive - I think ours will go to Punchestown now."


Previous results - JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE

2012-COUNTRYWIDE FLAME 4-11-00 Owner-Estio Pinnacle Racing; Trainer-John Quinn; Jockey-Dougie Costello; SP 33/1
2ND-Hisaabaat 4-11-00 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe/Dominick Glennane; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-20/1
3RD-Grumeti 4-11-00 Owner-McNeill Family; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-5/1 Fav
20 ran, Time 3m 58.80s; Dist-3, ¾

2011-WINNER-ZARKANDAR 4-11-00 Owner-Potensis Limited & Chris Giles; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Daryl Jacob; SP 13/2
2ND-Unaccompanied 4-10-07 Owner-Moyglare Stud Farm; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-11/2 3RD-Grandouet 4-11-00 Owner-Simon Munir; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-13/2
23 ran, Time 3m 54.20s; Dist-21⁄4, 23⁄4 4/1 Fav Sam Winner (4th)

2010-WINNER-SOLDATINO 4-11-00 Owner-Simon Munir; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-6/1 2ND-Barizan 4-11-00 Owner-Peter Conway; Trainer-Evan Williams; Jockey-Tom O’Brien; SP-14/1 3RD-Alaivan 4-11-00 Owner-Thomas Barr; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Andrew McNamara SP-9/2
17 ran, Time-4m 4.90s; Dist-1¼, 7 7/2 Fav Carlito Brigante (4th)

2009-WINNER-ZAYNAR 4-11-00 Owner-Men In Our Position; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/2
2ND-Walkon 4-11-00 Owner-McNeill Racing; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-4/1 Fav
3RD-Mourad 4-11-00 Owner-Teahon Consulting Limited; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-14/1
18 ran, Time-4m 3.90s; Dist-¾, 2¾

2008-WINNER-CELESTIAL HALO 4-11-00 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-5/1
2ND-Franchoek 4-11-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-Evens Fav
3RD-Won In The Dark 4-11-00 Owner- Gerard Crehan; Trainer-Sabrina Harty IRE; Jockey-Andrew McNamara; SP-16/1
14 ran, Time-4m 7.83s; Dist-2¼, 2¼

2007-WINNER-KATCHIT 4-11-00 Owner- DSJP Syndicate; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-11/2
2ND-Liberate 4-11-00 Owner-Diana Whateley; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-12/1
3RD-Mobaasher 4-11-00 Owner-Seasons Holidays; Trainer-Charlie Mann; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-33/1
23 ran, Time-3m 54.6s; Dist-9, 1 ¾ 7/2 Fav Lounaos (10th)

2006-WINNER-DETROIT CITY 4-11-00 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND-Fair Along 4-11-00 Owner-Alan Peterson; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-25/1
3RD-Blazing Bailey 4-11-00 Owner-Three Line Whip; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-14/1
17 ran, Time-3m 51.20s; Dist-5, 1

2005-WINNER-PENZANCE 4-11-00 Owner-Elite Racing Club; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-9/1
2ND-Faasel 4-11-00 Owner-Jim Ennis; Trainer-Nicky Richards; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP-7/1
3RD-Akilak 4-11-00 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-7/2 Fav
23 ran, Time-4m 3.60s; Dist-hd, 8

2004-WINNER-MADE IN JAPAN 4-11-00 Owner-Terry Evans; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
2ND-Chief Yeoman 4-11-00 Owner-B Moore & E C Stephens; Trainer-Venetia Williams; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP- 40/1
3RD-Top Strategy 4-11-00 Owner-W J Kane; Trainer-Ted Walsh IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-33/1
23 ran, Time-4m 5.30s; Dist-2, nk 5/1 Fav Trouble At Bay (10th)

2003-WINNER-SPECTROSCOPE 4-11-00 Owner-Gay Smith; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-20/1
2ND-Well Chief 4-11-00 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/1
3RD-Golden Cross 4-11-00 Owner-Mrs H Johnson; Trainer-Mick Halford IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-11/2 Fav
27 ran, Time-4m 0.30s; Dist-hd, 5

2002-WINNER-SCOLARDY 4-11-00 Owner-David Flynn; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-16/1
2ND-Newhall 4-10-09 Owner-Helen McParland; Trainer-Francis Flood IRE; Jockey-Fran Flood; SP-8/1
3RD-Diamond Joshua 4-11-00 Owner-Diamond Racing Ltd; Trainer-John Berry; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP- 66/1
28 ran, Time-4m 7.80s; Dist-11, 3/4 7/1 Fav Giocomo (PU)

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
2ND-Regal Exit 4-11-00 Owner-Brian Buckley; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-20/1
3RD-General Cloney 4-11-00 Owner-John J Brennan; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-20/1
28 ran, Time-3m 52.90s, Dist-2, nk

1999-WINNER-KATARINO 4-11-00 Owner-Robert Waley-Cohen; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-11/4 Fav
2ND-Balla Sola 4-11-00 Owner-Top Cat Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-16/1
3RD-Afarad 4-11-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy Roche IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-8/1
23 ran, Time-4m 2.4s, Dist-8, 1.5

1998-WINNER-UPGRADE 4-11-00 Owner-Matt Archer and Jean Broadhurst; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-14/1
2ND-City Hall 4-11-00 Owner-Rosemary Key & Val Ward; Trainer-Val Ward; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-12/1
3RD-Nomadic 4-11-00 Owner-Des Sharkey; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-14/1
25 ran, Time-3m 57.1s, Dist-1.25, 1.75 10/3 Fav Zafarabad (4th)

1997-WINNER-COMMANCHE COURT 4-11-00 Owner-Dermot Desmond; Trainer-Ted Walsh IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-9/1
2ND-Circus Star 4-11-00 Owner-The Ringmasters; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-40/1
3RD-Shooting Light 4-11-00 Owner-John Brown; Trainer-Pat Murphy; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-7/1
28 ran, Time-4m 0.2s, Dist-1, 1.25 9/2 Fav White Sea (9th)

1996-WINNER-PADDY’S RETURN 4-11-00 Owner-Paddy O’Donnell; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-10/1
2ND-Mistinguett 4-10-09 Owner-John Duggan; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-14/1
3RD-Hatta Breeze 4-10-09 Owner-Jenny Mould; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-14/1
29 ran, Time-4m 1.4s, Dist originally 4, hd, 1.75
Magical Lady (2nd) disqualified 6/1 Fav Debutante Days (f)



The JCB Triumph Hurdle was formerly run at Hurst Park and transferred to Cheltenham in 1965 on the closure of the London course. The race was originally run at the April Meeting but was moved to The Festival in 1968.

The contest has only had three sponsors since transferring to Cheltenham with the Daily Express backing the race from 1965 to 1996, and The Elite Racing Club sponsoring from 1997 to 2000. The current sponsor JCB will be supporting the race for the 12th time this year.

The contest is restricted to four-year-olds only and carries prize money of £120,000.


The highest number of runners came in 1970 when Varma beat 30 rivals, while the smallest field was in 1965 when seven runners took part. The current safety limit is 24.


No owner has won the JCB Triumph Hurdle more than once.


Lambourn handler Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer with five victories courtesy of First Bout (1985), Alone Success (1987), Katarino (1999), Zaynar (2009) and Soldatino (2010).


Jimmy Uttley and Barry Geraghty are the winning-most jockeys with three wins each. Uttley scored on Persian War (1967), England’s Glory (1968) and Boxer (1971), while Geraghty partnered Spectroscope (2003), Zaynar (2009) and Soldatino (2010).


Three mares have triumphed – Shawiya (1993), Mysilv (1994) and Snow Drop (2000).


The shortest-priced winner is Attivo, owned by legendary racing commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan, who obliged at odds of 4/5 in 1974.

The biggest-priced winners are Baron Blakeney (1981), Shiny Cooper (1982) and Ikdam (1989), who all returned at 66/1.

Eight favourites have prevailed in 47 runnings (just under 17%).


The fastest winning time is 3m 51.20s, posted by Detroit City in 2006.


IRELAND (6): Meladon (1977), Northern Game (1984), Rare Holiday (1990), Shawiya (1993), Commanche Court (1997) and Scolardy (2002).

FRANCE (1): Snow Drop (2000).


Three horses have gone on from winning the JCB Triumph Hurdle to victory in the Stan James 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 in 2008 Katchit added a Champion Hurdle victory to his success in the 2007 JCB Triumph Hurdle.


(JCB Triumph Hurdle since 2002, Elite Racing Club Triumph Hurdle from 1997-2000, Daily Express Triumph Hurdle 1965-1996, previously run at Hurst Park. Held at Cheltenham’s April meeting from 1965-67)

Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran

2012 Countrywide Flame 4-11-00 Dougie Costello John Quinn Estio Pinnacle Racing 33/1 20
2011 Zarkandar 4-11-00 Daryl Jacob Paul Nicholls Potensis Limited & Chris Giles 13/2 23
2010 Soldatino 4-11-00 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson Simon Munir 6/1 17
2009 Zaynar 4-11-00 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson Men In Our Position 11/2 18
2008 Celestial Halo 4-11-00 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls The Stewart Family 5/1 14
2007 Katchit 4-11-00 Robert Thornton Alan King DSJP Syndicate 11/2 23
2006 Detroit City 4-11-00 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs Terry Warner 7/2F 17
2005 Penzance 4-11-00 Robert Thornton Alan King Elite Racing Club 9/1 23
2004 Made In Japan 4-11-00 Richard Johnson Philip Hobbs Terry Evans 20/1 23
2003 Spectroscope 4-11-00 Barry Geraghty Jonjo O’Neill Gay Smith 20/1 27
2002 Scolardy 4-11-00 Charlie Swan Willie Mullins IRE David Flynn 16/1 28
2001 No Race (Foot and Mouth)
2000 Snow Drop 4-10-09 Thierry Doumen Francois Doumen FR John Martin 7/1F 28
1999 Katarino 4-11-00 Mick Fitzgerald Nicky Henderson Robert Waley-Cohen 11/4F 23
1998 Upgrade 4-11-00 Carl Llewellyn Nigel Twiston-Davies Matt Archer & Jean Broadhurst 14/1 25
1997 Commanche Court 4-11-00 Norman Williamson Ted Walsh IRE Dermot Desmond 9/1 28
1996 Paddy’s Return 4-11-00 Richard Dunwoody Ferdy Murphy Paddy O’Donnell 10/1 29
1995 Kissair 4-11-00 Jonathon Lower Martin Pipe Terry Benson 16/1 26
1994 Mysilv 4-10-09 Adrian Maguire David Nicholson Million In Mind Partnership (3) 2/1F 28
1993 Shawiya 4-10-09 Charlie Swan Michael O'Brien IRE Miss G Maher 12/1 25
1992 Duke Of Monmouth4-11-00 Mark Richards Simon Sherwood Ali Saeed 33/1 30
1991 Oh So Risky 4-11-00 Paul Holley David Elsworth Oh So Risky Syndicate 14/1 27
1990 Rare Holiday 4-11-00 Brendan Sheridan Dermot Weld IRE Dr Michael Smurfit 25/1 30
1989 Ikdam 4-11-00 Nigel Coleman Richard Holder LBI Law (873) Ltd 66/1 27
1988 Kribensis 4-11-00 Richard Dunwoody Michael Stoute Sheikh Mohammed 6/1 26
1987 Alone Success 4-11-00 Steve Smith Eccles Nicky Henderson Sheikh Amin Dahlawi 11/1 29
1986 Solar Cloud 4-11-00 Peter Scudamore David Nicholson Ann McEwen 40/1 28
1985 First Bout 4-11-00 Steve Smith Eccles Nicky Henderson Fahad Al Athel 5/1 27
1984 Northern Game 4-11-00 Tommy Ryan Edward O'Grady IRE Frank Conroy 20/1 30
1983 Saxon Farm 4-11-00 Mark Perrett Stan Mellor A Birchall 12/1 30
1982 Shiny Copper 4-11-00 Allen Webb Dina Smith Doug Tyler 66/1 29
1981 Baron Blakeney 4-11-00 Paul Leach Martin Pipe Wheatley Leisure Ltd 66/1 29
1980 Heighlin 4-11-00 Steve Jobar David Elsworth Woodside Engineers Ltd 40/1 26
1979 Pollardstown 4-11-00 Philip Blacker Stan Mellor Georgina Tulloch 12/1 28
1978 Connaught Ranger 4-11-00 John Burke Fred Rimell Jim McCaughey 25/1 14
1977 Meladon 4-11-00 Tommy Carberry Adrian Maxwell IRE Mrs N Flynn 6/1 30
1976 Peterhof 4-11-00 Jonjo O'Neill Mick Easterby H Gould 10/1 23
1975 Royal Epic 4-11-00 Fred McKenna Vernon Cross Robert Read 20/1 28
1974 Attivo 4-11-00 Robert Hughes Cyril Mitchell Peter O'Sullevan 4/5F 21
1973 Moonlight Bay 4-11-00 Johnnie Haine Ryan Price Meg Mullion 85/40F 18
1972 Zarib 4-11-00 Bill Smith Fred Rimell Mrs A Hornby 16/1 16
1971 Boxer 4-11-03 Jimmy Uttley Ron Smyth Lord Blakenham 100/30JF 18
1970 Varma 4-11-04 Brian Barker Mick Masson Charles Clore 100/7 31
1969 Coral Diver 4-11-04 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell Bryan Jenks 3/1F 26
1968 England’s Glory 4-11-00 Jimmy Uttley Staff Ingham Mrs M Sherman 9/2 16
1967 Persian War 4-11-08 Jimmy Uttley Brian Swift Henry Alper 4/1 13
1966 Black Ice 4-11-04 Bobby Beasley Arthur Thomas A Crowther 9/2 11
1965 Blarney Beacon 4-11-04 Geordie Ramshaw Ron Smyth Freddie Laker 8/1 7

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