Big guns still in Triumph

All the major fancies for the JCB Triumph Hurdle remain among the 38 remaining possibles at the six-day stage.

All the major fancies for the JCB Triumph Hurdle remain among the 38 remaining possibles at the six-day stage.

Franchoek, Celestial Halo, Binocular, Beau Michael, Won In The Dark and Ashkazar stand their ground, although the latter runs in the Imperial Cup at Sandown today.

Seventh in the St Leger, the Paul Nicholls-trained Celestial Halo has taken well to hurdling.

Owner Andy Stewart said: “We’ve been trying to win the Triumph Hurdle for some time and it’s always been with National Hunt horses, with a Le Duc or a Turko.

“With the advent of the Fred Winter, I think you do really need a good Flat horse as Alan King has proved over the last three years.

“We are very confident but Franchoek’s going to turn up and perhaps Binocular as well,” he told At The Races.

“We’ve never met Franchoek, although our Tatenen came second to him at Chepstow and then beat him quite convincingly at Cheltenham.

“We’ve got a line on him and Tatenen wouldn’t live with Celestial Halo.

“If you took Sentry Duty out of the race at Doncaster, Celestial Halo would have beaten Donaldson by 16 lengths and people would have said he was 2-5 and would stand a chance.

“On the basis he was beaten they will send Franchoek off favourite. He’s JP McManus’s and I think he’s mentioned that he and Don’t Push it are his two best chances.”

Five Dream, Harper Valley, Personal Column, Serabad and Silverhand are others still involved.

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