Joseph O’Brien has a leading contender for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, the four-year-old hurdling championship, at the Cheltenham Festival, as Fakir D’Oudairies (4/1), spread-eagled a classy field to win the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial under J J Slevin today.
The French import, successful in a Cork maiden hurdle on his first run for O’Brien on January 5, raced a close second to Nicky Henderson’s 5/4 favourite Adjali (Daryl Jacob) before going on at the top of the hill.
Fakir D’Oudairies gradually went clear, putting in a good jump at the final flight before powering up the run-in to win by an impressive 13 lengths from his stable companion Fine Brunello (25/1, Barry Geraghty), with Adjali a further three and a half back in third.
Slevin said of the winner: “Fakir D’Oudairies had a good win at Cork the last day and has obviously come on for it. He has loads of experience from his time in France and that was a good performance. It’s a Grade 2 and we didn’t hang around – we went a nice, even gallop – and my horse travelled very comfortably and jumped very well. He stuck at it very well – I didn’t realise I had won by so far, but he did it very well.”
“I would say that he would be better with a bit of juice in the ground, but it is a long way from being winter ground out there. He handled it fine and I am sure he will be fine on the ground in the spring.
Irish-born jockey Daryl Jacob, on board Adjali, reported post-race:
“Adjali has run well. The Irish horses seem to be the best juveniles, but I think we might see a better Adjali at The Festival in March.”
The Joseph O’Brien-trained winner is now around 6/1 with most bookmakers for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.