Triumph Hurdle hope Tritonic heads our Kempton team on Saturday
Bookmakers have Tritonic the shortest-priced British-trained horse in their ante-post lists for next month’s Triumph Hurdle, and the 10-1 might become even shorter if he passes his dress-rehearsal with flying colours at Kempton on Saturday.
All week Alan has been deliberating about whether to keep Tritonic against his own age group in the Adonis Hurdle, or take on the older horses in the Dovecote on the same card, but, having studied the two races, he has opted to chase a fifth win in the Juvenile Hurdle, which he has already won with Trouble At Bay, Penzance and, more recently, Master Blueyes and Redicean.
Tritonic has a Flat rating of 99 and was only beaten half a length when runner-up at Royal Ascot, and Max McNeill, who owns him in partnership with Ian Dale, compares him favourably with another of his dual-purpose heros, Grumeti, who started favourite for the Triumph and, though finishing only third, duly delivered his Grade 1 the following month at Aintree and later won the Cesarerwitch on the Flat.”
Alan said:”Adrian Heskin came to school Tritonic on the grass last week and he jumped very well. The Triumph has always been the plan, and I’d like to think that he’ll stake his claim for serious consideration on Saturday.”
Besides, Grumeti, Max McNeill also had the favourite for the Triumph with Walkon in 2009, and the grey was beaten only three parts of a length by Zaynar, while 12 months later Max also had the ante-post “jolly” for the juvenile hurdling crown in Mille Chief, who sadly met with injury on the run up to Cheltenham and had to miss the race.
Max needs no reminding that he is still searching for that elusive first Cheltenham Festival winner, but he is hopeful that Tritonic might be the one.
He said:”There is nobody better with dual-purpose horses than Alan, and we think that Tritonic has the right profile for the Triumph. He wasn’t fully revved up on his jumping debut at Ascot last time, yet still won. Going to the last hurdle I thought we’d have to be content with second place as he had taken a blow, but Adrian had saved a bit for the run-in and told me afterwards that he was always confident he’d get there.
“Tritonic has a lethal finishing kick, as you saw at Ascot, and he also has that will-to-win and really wants to do for you. He has been schooling well, so we are looking forward to Kempton.”