The Triumph Hurdle is the first race on the Friday of the festival and is open to 4 year-olds only. It is run over 2 miles 1 furlong on the new course with 8 flights of hurdles to be jumped. The race was moved to Cheltenham in 1965 and was sponsored for many years by The Daily Express, from 1997-2002 by The Elite Racing Club and since 2002 by JCB. Obviously there are no multiple winners of the race and the most successful trainer down the years has been Nicky Henderson with 6 winners and the most successful jockey Barry Geraghty (5 wins). The 2019 renewal has received 59 initial entries and one trainer seems to hold most of the aces - Joseph O'Brien. His Sir Erec is a general 6/4 shot and he is 2 from 2 over hurdles, winning at Leopardstown over Christmas and then taking the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the beginning of February in very taking fashion from stablemate Gardens of Babylon (like the favourite owned by JP McManus and currently top-priced 16/1 for the Triumph). O'Brien's Fakir D'Oudairies took the Grade 2 Finesse Hurdle at Cheltenham in very pleasing fashion (prompting JP McManus to buy him) and is second favourite in most books at between 5/1 and 8/1. Next in the betting are a couple of Paul Nicholls inmates - Pic D'Orhy (brings strong French form to the table but yet to run for Nicholls - possibly his trainer's Adonis horse) and Quel Destin who has won 4 on the trot this winter and shows a verly likeable attitude. The Adonis Hurdle at Kempton on Feb 23rd is likely to tell us how strong a British challenge the O'Brien horses will have. Nicky Henderson (Adjali, Fusil Raffles, Laskadine and Pentland Hills) and Alan King (Cracker Factory, Giving Glances and Praeceps) are both highly respected in the juvenile arena and will likely send their best contenders to the Adonis. With the exception of the favourite this is a wide-open betting heat and it would be no surprise if something were to run away with the Adonis and challenge Sir Erec for favouritism.