The first three home in the Wragge & Co Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last Saturday – Moneytrain, Don Fernando and Saintsaire – are among 111 entered in the JCB Triumph Hurdle on March 13.
Moneytrain sprang a 25-1 shock for German trainer Christian Von Der Recke but Martin Pipe’s Don Fernando, beaten one and a half lengths in second place, was trying to give the winner 8lb. They would meet on level terms in the £100,000 (€150,000) event for four-year-olds at the Festival.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Saintsaire was two lengths further away in third but he was getting 4lb from Don Fernando.
East Tycoon, from Jonjo O’Neill’s stable, displayed his Triumph credentials by making an impressive winning debut at Doncaster on Saturday,
Lougaroo, trained in France by Guillaume Macaire, Le Duc and Bal De Nuit from Paul Nicholls’ stable, Dermot Weld’s unbeaten Party Airs and the November Handicap winner Red Wine, trained by Jamie Osborne are among others to catch the eye.
Count Can Do, trained by Francois Doumen, and Macaire’s Crystal D’Ainay and Lilium de Cotte complete a four-strong French entry, while Von Der Recke has also entered the Dutch St Leger winner Double Fun.
Three expensive entries who have yet to run over hurdles are the former John Oxx-trained Lowlander, who is now with Dermot Weld having been bought for 125,000gns, the Nicky Henderson-trained Coalition, who was bought out of Sir Mark Prescott’s stable for 76,000gns by Thurloe Thoroughbreds, and King Solomon, a Listed winner for Paul Cole who joined Venetia Williams for an outlay of 88,000gns.
JCB Triumph Hurdle, William Hill bet: 5-1 Saintsaire, Don Fernando, 14-1 Moneytrain, 20-1 East Tycoon, Nas Na Riogh, Old Californian, 25-1 Bal de Nuit, Kapgarde, Kenilworth, Lilium de Cotte, Mutineer, Party Airs, 33-1 bar.