Sam Winner’s disappointing display at Chepstow may have seen him significantly drift out from 4/1 to 12/1 in the Cheltenham betting for the Triumph Hurdle, but he should not be overlooked on the back of one bad performance.
Paul Nicholls’ four-year-old lost for the first time at a British racecourse in the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow when finishing back in fourth behind Marsh Warbler, who is now the 8/1 favourite for the Triumph Hurdle.
However, the sticky ground had a major say on the result, with it being the first time that Sam Winner had encountered such conditions since transferring to Nicholls from France.
Both of his first two races since changing yard had come on good ground, with Sam Winner seeming far more at home in the firmer conditions, where he was able to take advantage of his impressive turn of foot.
Nicholls’ assistant Dan Skelton told the Racing Post: “It was the best juvenile hurdle race of the season, but that soft, holding, sticky ground didn’t suit him as he’s a big chasing type in the making.
“You saw the way he quickened up on better ground at Cheltenham and that’s the ground he wants.”
Both of Sam Winner’s previous victories before Chepstow had also come at Cheltenham, meaning that he has a liking for the course and should have no problem surging up the hill in the latter stages of the Triumph Hurdle.
Meanwhile, Marsh Warbler is unlikely to even take part at Cheltenham if the ground is on the faster side, with trainer Brian Ellison saying that the horse will probably wait until Aintree in April if conditions are like this.
But if softer ground is expected at Cheltenham, Marsh Warbler will be the one to beat on current form and go for a fifth victory in six starts.
A £10 bet on Sam Winner winning the Triumph Hurdle could see a return of £120. New Ladbrokes customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.