The Triumph Hurdle has always been regarded as a difficult race to win but today’s annual renewal looks weaker than usual.
The Irish have not won it since Willie Mullins did the business with Scolardy in 2002 while Philip Hobbs and Alan King have provided four of the last six winners between them.
Eddie O’Grady’s Alaivan has been installed 7-2 favourite on the basis of a fine win at Fairyhouse in February but there are two reasons to oppose him. His best form is on soft or heavy ground and he has been beaten on good or better ground which is likely to be the case here.
Also he was well trounced by Carlito Brigante back in December. Trained by the shrewd Gordon Elliott, he will relish the better surface and has won his last three which confirms he has what it takes at around 5-1 to give the Irish a long overdue success in this race.