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Cheltenham Festival: Ivanovich Gorbatov to shine in the Triumph Hurdle on Friday

Bet on Ivanovich Gorbatov to win Triumphe Hurdle
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1.30pm Cheltenham – Ivanovich Gorbatov (each-way) at 9/2 Skybet

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Quite often in life we are best served by our first impressions of something. Of course, sometimes it takes time to form a full picture of things, but in the case of IVANOVICH GORBATOV in Friday’s 1.30pm Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham 2016, it could pay to bet upon the instincts provided by first impressions of this Aidan O’Brien trained and JP McManus owned juvenile.

The license might say Aidan, but it is son Joseph who trains this horse and he has officially retired as a jockey now with a view to his training career and what an exciting few decades ahead for the young man. He has acquired almost unprecedented experience from his father and the Coolmore operation and Ivanovich Gorbatov could be a real star for him.

Back to that first impression. First time out at Leopardstown, he went off as the second favourite on his hurdling debut from the well supported Let’s Dance, who was backed as if defeat wasn’t a possibility. But this son of Montjeu jumped like a natural, really fast over his obstacles and in terms of the way he travelled, he just towered over his rivals which is something you don’t see from many but the very best juveniles.

It was the first time Ivanovich Gorbatov had jumped in public and he was flawless under Barry Geraghty and despite giving 7lb to a highly regarded and well supported favourite, he won the race impressively. Next time out in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle, he went off at 8/13 favourite but the ground so incredibly testing that day and he just never had the run of the race, never looking happy from early on in the race.

It would be all too easy to turn your back on a horse after that, simply because the Triumph Hurdle is the premier juvenile race and it looks a strong renewal this year. But if we assume that run on heavy last time out wasn’t the true running of Ivanovich Gorbatov, this race is tailor made for him. The ground is ideal and on that maiden hurdle run, he has the jumping ability and class to travel well in order to get himself into a challenging position as the Triumph unfolds. It’s difficult to see him being far away.

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