Tritonic slashed to 4-1 for Triumph Hurdle after bolting up in Kempton trial
Tritonic, a class performer on the Flat and beaten only half a length at Royal Ascot, also looks the real over jumps and made it 2-2 over hurdles when streaking home in the Adonis at Kempton on Saturday.
Alan has already won the Triumph Hurdle twice, with subsequent Champion Hurdle hero Katchit and Penzance, but he had no hesitation in nominating Tritonic as the best horse he has ever switched from the Flat to the winter game.
Bookmakers were quick to react, slashing Tritonic’s Cheltenham odds for the juvenile hurdling crown from 10-1 to 4-1, and, while Alan has the utmost respect for Gordon Elliott’s pair, Zanahiyr and Quilixios, he has rarely been more upbeat about a horse on the run up to the biggest Festival in jump racing than he is with this fellow.
Alan, hugely impressed at the way in which Tritonic quickly put 10 lengths between himself and his Ascot rival Casa Loupi on the run-in, said:”Tritonic enjoyed a proper holiday at the end of the season and after being gelded he had six weeks in the field.
“He was only just ready to start at Ascot, but I knew that we had to get two races into him if we were going to be a serious contender in the Triumph, and the experience there did him the world of good.
“We felt he had improved plenty fitness-wise since Ascot, and he has built on that at Kempton. We have trained him differently than Katchit, whom we started back in September, and, though, like Tritonic, he was a mile and a quarter horse on the Flat, he came off the level with a rating of 83, whereas Tritonic already has a mark of 99.”
Adrian Heskin had to roust along Tritonic down the back straight, and Alan conceded that “he might appear to be slow, but he goes to sleep on you in a race and only does what he is asked.”
Alan added:”Tritonic has the gears to hold a position wherever you want to ride him, so he should be fine for Cheltenham, and, in fact, Adrian is convinced the stiffer course will suit him better than Kempton.
“I loved the way that Tritonic came back on the bridle and, though a couple of times he found himself short of room, you could not fail to be impressed the way he went away from the runner-up from the last. He hit the line really well, which is always a good sign.
“From day one, Tritonic has schooled lovely and again today his jumping was accurate and he was also good when he got in tight, while, though he was plenty fit enough, this race will have sharpened him up for Cheltenham, where I hope he would have a very good chance.”
Adrian Heskin agrees wholeheartedly and said:”It was very straightforward, and he came alive when we turned in. Alan stressed on me beforehand that it was not all about today and that this was the next step in his education, but he has passed that dress-rehearsal with flying colours.”
It has always been part-owner Max McNeill’s dream to win the Triumph, but he admits that he’ll never have a better chance than he has with Tritonic.
He said:”I was worried half-way round as he was getting shuffled back and was getting out of his comfort-zone, but he warmed to his task in the final mile and what he did up the straight was very encouraging. Tritonic showed on the Flat what a quality performer he was and we could have carried on with him on the level, but I just want to win the Triumph, so roll on March 19.”