No trainer has a better record in the JCB Triumph Hurdle than Seven Barrows handler Nicky Henderson who has won the two mile juvenile championship on six occasions, most recently in 2015. Following two impressive wins since joining Henderson from France the JP McManus-owned Apple’s Shakira heads the ante-post market for the opening race on the final day of the Cheltenham festival at a top price 4-1 with 888Sport and Unibet.
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The daughter of Saddler Maker looks a worthy favourite to provide his trainer with win number seven in just over two months time but should the filly fall short Henderson appears to have a more than able deputy in the shape of We Have A Dream.
Angus McNae is a fan of Apple's Shakira, who made it 2-2 in Britain— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) December 18, 2017
@CheltenhamRaces on Saturday. He likes the fact the Triumph Hurdle favourite has track experience. Is she a Festival fancy for you at 7-2? #TheVerdict pic.twitter.com/T2FME5kc89
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Another ex-French trained import, the gelding has won all three starts for Henderson, the most recent being in Chepstow’s Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday’s rearranged Welsh Grand National card. The 8-11 favourite faced only four rivals but a length and a half victory over the unbeaten Sussex Ranger may turn out to be high-class form, resulting in bookmakers making the Martaline gelding a best price 8-1 ( Ladbrokes, Coral and boylesports ) behind his stablemate in the Triumph Hurdle betting.
The slow early pace in Chepstow’s Grade 1 contest caught out a surprised Nicky Henderson, who said: “ What I wasn’t expecting was to see two horses quicken up from the second-last to the last. They haven’t even gone as fast as we thought they might do and it turned into a sprint. He made all the last two times and today he has done it nicely from the last. He quickened up really well. He will probably need to run again.” Like 2015 Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co, We Have A Dream is owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede who are having a cracking start to the season with the likes of Top Notch, Bristol De Mai and Footpad and in the mount of Daryl Jacob they look to have another top class performer to add to an ever growing list.