Paul Nicholls may not view Irish Saint as his best hope of winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, but the record of Adonis Hurdle victors in that race should at least encourage the trainer to give the horse a run.
Nicholls has indicated that Irish Saint is likely to miss Cheltenham and prepare for Aintree instead, with the three weeks between the two meetings enough time to get the horse closer to his peak.
The fact that Nicholls already has Far West as a leading and fancied Triumph Hurdle contender at 5/1 is another reason why Irish Saint may be given Cheltenham off.
From a trends point of view, Irish Saint’s probable omission is a shame, as Adonis winners in the last decade tend to run creditably in the Triumph.
Four horses have done the double since 2000, with Soldatino and Zarkandar two examples in the last three years.
Furthermore, the likes of Well Chief and Punjabi have rewarded each-way punters.
Adonis form is certainly respected, as nine winners have gone on to run in the Triumph in the last 10 years and none have gone off at double-figure prices.
Meanwhile, Adonis runner-up Vasco Du Ronceray is also expected to boycott the Triumph in favour of the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival instead.
This does seem slightly fair enough as there seems little reason to believe he will reverse form with Far West from earlier in the season and the fact he finds little off the bridle is a concern in such a challenging race.
The Fred Winter is a Grade Three rather than a Grade One and there is more opportunity for the horse to showcase its class against less talented opposition.
It is worth noting that Une Artiste finished fourth in the Adonis last year and went on to win the Fred Winter.
The omission of this pair from the Triumph does potentially make this race more open, with Irish invader Our Conor (4/1) and Rolling Star (5/1), who beat Irish Saint at Cheltenham in Janaury, the other market leaders with Far West at this stage.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.