Far West Storms Triumph Hurdle Trial
1 Far West 15/8
Trainer Paul Nicholls continued his fine start to the season with Far West, who followed up his Chepstow victory last month with a gutsy success in the Grade Two JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial.
The three-year-old, a 15/8 chance, travelled comfortably at the front of the field under Ruby Walsh before kicking on rounding the home turn and staying on strongly for a seven-length success.
Nicky Henderson's Vasco du Ronceray, who started the 6/4 favourite, took second with a further 26 lengths back to the hurdling debutant Roc d'Apsis, trained by Tom George.
Nicholls said: "Far West hadn't shown a lot at home before he ran at Chepstow apart from being very green but he won there nicely. The form of that race was good because I think For Two, who got beaten by Handazan at Aintree, is a good horse.
"This horse has done nothing but improve since Chepstow and he never ran on the Flat so he is a baby really. He finished third in a novices' hurdle at Auteuil and he has kept on improving since then.
"We have done a lot of work with his jumping but he is a grand horse and he jumps well. You know in all of these juvenile races that, if you don't jump, you don't win and we spend a lot of time jumping. Dan (Skelton) has done a great job with that and he is a good horse.
"He wouldn't have minded the ground out there. It was better at Chepstow but he is tough and he stays, which is what you want.
"Today was his target and we will play it by ear now. We have some quite nice juveniles around him and we will see what develops. He is owned by a syndicate and they will have a lot of fun with him."
Walsh added: "He is just a big baby. He had one run in over hurdles in France and he has no Flat experience - he is a very raw individual compared to most three-year-olds that you usually ride, so there is loads of improvement in him. Far West could jump a fence and he is a smashing horse.
"The ground is soft - proper soft ground and it's testing. I would say that it would affect the majority of my rides today but we will see what happens."
Tom George, trainer of third-placed Roc d'Apsis, said: "He didn't jump the first two hurdles very well but he ran nicely and stayed on up the hill. He is just a baby at this stage."
JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
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