GRAEME Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) continues his preview of this year's Cheltenham Festival with a final day pick.
Cheltenham Festival Fancies | 14-17 March 2017
The Triumph Hurdle has evolved through the years. It was once a huge field where there would be numerous rank outsiders running but since the introduction of another juvenile hurdle race the quality has increased. This looks another very good renewal with JP McManus looking to hold a very strong hand in particular.
While Defi Du Seuil looks very good and the most likely winner, he is a short price for the race and has to prove he will handle the likely quicker ground here. There are many alternatives lining up at juicy prices however it's another one of the JP McManus owned runners that catches my eye.
A top class pedigree
Landofhopeandglory was by far the best of these on the Flat and he is one of the best recruits from the level in many years. He was an impressive winner of his maiden before he stepped up to Graded company and won what in hindsight was an exceptional race.
He then lined up against the placed horses from that race (Mega Fortune and Bapaume) and narrowly went down when conceding weight to both. Those two then went on to fill the first two places in a Grade 1 and all three look well worth their places in the field in the Triumph Hurdle.
Landofhopeandglory missed that Grade 1 and made his return to action last weekend where he was a well beaten third to Dinaria Des Obeaux. I have a suspicion he needed that outing and it's also worth noting he was conceding a stone to her that day.
Good ground key
However more importantly that race was run on heavy ground. This impeccably flat bred does not want any sort of soft in the title and he will be a different prospect come March 17th. He is now a huge price and this one time ante-post favourite is overpriced in my opinion for this race.
Though JP McManus has a lot of options for the race, the doubts over Charli Parcs participation means Landofhopeandglory is likely to take his chance and I'm more than happy to back him each way as if the ground is decent he will be a completely different horse to the one who came third last time out.
Graeme Johnstone's Festival Fancies
Triumph Hurdle – Landofhopeandglory each way (22/1 Betway)