Triumph Hurdle favourite ends Festival prep with Kempton win

Grumeti completed his Cheltenham Festival preparations with victory in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.

Alan King’s charge was sent off as the 4-9 favourite and after Crescent Beach set a sedate early gallop, he went on after the third last.

At that stage debutants Terre Du Vent and Dodging Bullets were travellling equally as well but the former was to fall two out.

Dodging Bullets showed signs of greenness after racing keenly but Robert Thornton never had to ask the winner a question and he won, hard held, by a length.

Sky Bet reacted by making Grumeti their 5-1 Triumph Hurdle joint-favourite alongside Baby Mix.

Thornton said: “He rode a little bit stuffily and there might be a little bit of improvement in him. He’s definitely a Triumph horse, and that will stand him in good stead.”

King added: “That was a good effort. It was great for Choc (Robert Thornton) to get a feel of him and he jumped superbly.
“I wouldn’t be swapping him for anything else I’ve seen and I’m lucky to have two very good horses for the race in him and Balder Succes.”

Paul Nicholls, trainer of runner-up Dodging Bullets, said: “I’m pleased with him but he still looks a bit green and I might well wait for Aintree.”