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Weekend Review - Triumph picture still unclear after weekend

Grumeti and Baby Mix star, but Triumph betting still wide open

It was supposed to be the weekend that the Triumph Hurdle markets would finally have a clear favourite with some of the leading contenders for next month's juvenile race at the Cheltenham Festival laying their reputations on the line, but still punters are quizzically looking at the betting and struggling to decide who is their favourite.

The Adonis has thrown up the last two winners of the Friday opener and even though Baby Mix won eyecatchingly, there is still a smidgen of doubt over his credentials for the four-year-old contest after he flopped in the Trial contest last month.  Sadler's Risk pulled too hard in the early exchanges and could be more relaxed at Prestbury Park, but Paul Nicholls' Dildar looks to face an uphill battle.

Grumeti was a comfortable winner later on in the card in the Dovecote, but like Baby Mix he didn't force to cut him significantly and even though he is just edging favouritism around 5/1, it still looks a wide open renewal on March 16.

Minsk was supposed to be the leading Irish challenger, but after he came second at Fairyhouse, he has since be ruled out of the contest, so punters looking to finalise their selections for the Triumph will still be scratching their heads in confusion, over who is the best four-year-old over timber.

Prince stars in Bobbyjo to propel to National favourite

Prince De Beauchene propelled to the head of the Grand National betting after a sensational performance in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse and he looks tailor-made for the Aintree marathon on April 14.

A winner at the Grand National meeting last year, the Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old oozed class on Saturday as he dispatched of some decent rivals to win by six lengths.

Ruby Walsh is almost certain to take the ride on him on Merseyside and there is certainly no one better round the course than the Irish master and the pair set a very high standard in what looks an extremely intriguing National.

Cristal could be each-way Bonus in Arkle

Cristal Bonus booked his place in the Arkle Challenge Trophy with a tremendous success in the Grade Two Pendil Novices' Chase and the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old could well be a lively each-way player in next month's 2m contest.

Still available at 40/1 with some firms, the Ditcheat inmate showed a real classy turn of foot to pull clear of the field and with a high cruising speed could well be in the shake-up come March 13.

In such a hotly-contested field with the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Peddlers Cross, Cue Card and Al Ferof all dominating the betting, it leave it open for a big-priced contender to sneak into the prize money and at 40/1 could well offer some excellent value.


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