On the 22nd August 2022 I published a piece on the Filly, Lossiemouth. Whilst there is much more to this series than just trying to find a Triumph hurdle winner, there is an inevitability about that particular division coming into focus given the nature of the French National Hunt Breeding program and its success in recent years. So, with a slight degree of superstition in mind, I have decided to write about another Triumph hurdle hopeful on the same date a year later. I have actually had a small bet on this horse to win the Triumph hurdle. It is a speculative punt at this point, not necessarily because I think he is a good thing, far from it in fact, but more because I believe him to be the best Juvenile hurdling prospect in the UK. British Juvenile hurdle races are weak. There is no hiding from that fact and the recent Irish dominance in this division is entirely linked to the quality of their Juvenile program, but that can also mean that when a smart prospect does get sent to race in the UK, they should be able to dominate. Sir Gino is that horse for the 2023-24 season in my opinion and so I have taken an early price about him as I feel he is likely to win several of the British trials and so his price can only shorten.
3-year-old Gelding who has joined Nicky Henderson for the Donnellys
It's Gino x Anzi Star (Anzillero)
Bred by JP and Mme. MO. Deshayes
3rd Foal. Half-Brother to Flat winner Gino Star. Dam Flat winner (peak rating 34.5k), Daughter of Listed placed sprinter L'Eclipse Francaise.
A winner of the Listed Prix Wild Monarch on debut in April, his form is very closely matched with the 2nd, Salvator Mundi (see related articles) who has joined Willie Mullins. Both horses have been bought by the Donnellys and as I have discussed previously, this looks to be the strongest 3-year-old form of the horses who have subsequently been sold to race in the UK and Ireland. There were several subsequent winners to come out of this race and almost all of the runners have now achieved a rating of 119 or more since, so it is fair to say that the form can be trusted. There is a link to the race record below should you wish to do your own research.
Sir Gino raced prominently throughout the contest and travelled nicely under Tanguy Andrieux before asserting in the closing stages to pull clear of the rest with Salvator Mundi. Whilst there is no doubt that he had an easier trip around Auteuil than the second, this was still a very strong performance and I have him running to a rating of 71.4 (the second ran to 69.2) which is the highest debutante figure for the year so far. For my own part, I think that if they raced again Salvator Mundi may well reverse this form but they are unlikely to meet before March at the earliest and Sir Gino looks to be some way clear of the other 3-year-olds who have moved to British yards this summer. I expect him to dominate before the Spring festivals come around. He showed plenty of speed on his debut, which isn't surprising given his Flat pedigree and he looked a natural over his obstacles at Auteuil. As he won a race in mid-April, there is no novice status to protect and I would expect his new connections to crack on this season with the Triumph hurdle as the ultimate aim.