JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial
Juvenile Hurdle, Cheltenham 12:10
£25,000 added,
3yo only,
2m 179y, Class 2  
Saturday 15th December 2018

1 Nelson River 6/1
2 Fanfan Du Seuil 11/4
3 Katpoli 3/1
7 ran Distances: 1l, 1l, 17l
Time: 4m 7.40s (slow by 13.40s)

Nelson River (Tony Carroll/Harry Bannister), a winner at Bangor on his only previous hurdling start, flew home to claim an eventful renewal of the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial, a race in which the favourite Protektorat (Dan Skelton) unseated Harry Skelton at the fourth flight.

Nelson River
© Racenews via Twitter
Nelson River

Katpoli (Dr Richard Newland/Sam Twiston-Davies) set a strong gallop for much of the race and rallied after being headed shortly after the final hurdle by Fanfan Du Seuil (Tom George/Paddy Brennan).

The duo looked set to fight out the finish, only for 6/1 chance Nelson River, who appeared well held turning in when fourth, to storm up the hill and hit the front near the line for a length success. Fanfan Du Seuil took second, with another length back to Katpoli in third.

Tony Carroll, who also trained Nelson River to win on the Flat at Wolverhampton in September and has a yard near Worcester, said: “Nelson River is a lovely horse, who is potentially very good and talented, and he is still only learning his game.

“He is a big, backward type of horse with lots of scope and potential. Looking forward, he is really smart. I think he is the first English-bred horse to win this race and he is a very nice horse to have.

“Today was the day to see where we were with him and I am not sure where we will go now. I will speak to connections but we will try and make a plan to be back here in March.

“I think he will probably handle softer conditions. It was on the easy side at Bangor when he won and the first two home pulled a long way clear of the third, so that looked a nice race.”

Harry Bannister added: “Nelson River over-raced a little bit early on and the front two got away from him down the back at the top of the hill. All he does is stay and he has done it really well in the end.

“He was very good when he won at Bangor – more workmanlike and little bit green – but he was a lot more professional today and it’s great for Mr Carroll and the team to have a nice winner at Cheltenham.

“Nelson River is doing everything right at the moment and maturing as he goes. He handles this softer ground – it’s windy out there but I thought it rode like good to soft. I questioned whether he would cope with it but he has definitely shown that he has.”

JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (Juvenile Hurdle)
£25,000 added, 3yo only, 2m 179y, Class 2
7 ran
Going: Good

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Nelson River 6/1 Harry Bannister
11-2
A W Carroll 3
2nd 1 Fanfan Du Seuil (FR) 11/4 P J Brennan
11-2
T R George 3
3rd 1 Katpoli (FR) 3/1 Sam Twiston-Davies
11-2
Dr R D P Newland 3
4th 17 Ghost Serge (IRE) 33/1 Sean Bowen
11-2
Mrs S Leech 3
5th 21 Fret D'estruval (FR) 6/1 D A Jacob
11-5
A King 3
6th 28 Swordbill 25/1 T Scudamore
10-12
Ian Williams 3
UR Protektorat (FR) 5/2f Harry Skelton
10-12
D Skelton 3