Regardless of their national Hunt ranking, races that are run on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival enjoy a certain uniqueness. The atmosphere is already charged and there is a pressure on both horses and jockey to perform. This is not a big worry though, as the shortlisting criteria for final day participants is quite unique.
The Triumph Hurdle is one of the races blessed to grace the closing day. Strictly four-year-old horses line up waiting to gallop out of the gates to round the two miles and one furlong (3240 m) at
the left-handed new Cheltenham course.
Only eight hurdles barricade the horses’ path, which means there is a lot of pure running to be done here. Braking and humping are key skills, but acceleration is the ultimate strength. A £60,000 purse motivates the competition.
Apple Shakira is the favourite for the 2018 race, but the decision by trainer Alan King to switch Yanworth from the chase races to this hurdle has stirred some new excitement.