Author: Graham Tower
Cheltenham Festival 2017
Published: 14:27 01/02/2015
Alan King-trained Pain Au Chocolat is top price 25/1 for the Triumph Hurdle following an impressive victory in the Betfred "Supports Jack Berry" Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
The French-bred won the Grade 3 event by seven lengths and afterwards his trainer said the Million In Mind Partnership, which owns the four-year-old, were "definitely thinking of the Triumph". The son of Enrique's Cheltenham Festival plan was confirmed via Twitter on Sunday morning when connections tweeted: "Pain Au Chocolat has booked his trip to the Triumph Hurdle with a decisive win at Sandown yesterday".
Pain Au Chocolat is as short as 16/1 with some bookmakers and William Hill cut the juvenile's odds from 25/1 to 20/1 on Sunday.
The young hurdler joined King's team in the autumn and has won two of his three starts. He made his English debut at Market Rasen in December when running second to Seamour before notching his first at Plumpton the following month. Jockey Wayne Richardson made it two wins from two rides aboard Pain Au Chocolat with a commanding display in the Sandown opener. He went off 5/4 favourite for the five-runner race and went clear between the last two flights to beat second favourite Old Guard by seven with Lil Rockerfeller a further two lengths away in third.
The Barbury Castle handler has won the Triumph Hurdle on two previous occasions, with Penzance in 2005 and Katchit in 2007. The Million In Mind Partnership has also experienced success in the race when arguably the best horse to run in their colours, Mysilv, won the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival in 1994.
The syndicate have five horses in training for the 2014-15 National Hunt season with Celestino (Paul Nichols), Got The Nac (Oliver Sherwood), Heritage Way (Nicky Henderson) and Triumph Davis (Nigel Twiston-Davies) making up the remainder of the team.