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Triumph Hurdle Winner Soldatino Ready to Run

The eagerly anticipated return to action of last season's JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Soldatino looks to be just around the corner following the news that trainer Nicky Henderson intends to run the grey in Haydock’s Champion Hurdle Trial on January 22nd, writes Elliot Slater.



The lightly raced five-year-old is a lively outsider for the Stan James Champion Hurdle itself at the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March, and a good performance against the likes of Peddlers Cross at the Lancashire venue could easily catapult Soldatino much higher up the ante-post list to land the hurdling crown. He is currently on offer at 25/1 in the Cheltenham betting.

The French-bred gelding joined Henderson's Seven Barrows stables in January last year having had three runs on the continent, winning his final start at Pau by six lengths. Although it was hard to gauge quite how much that form was worth, there was no shortage of confidence when Soldatino made his British debut in the Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle at Kempton, only a matter of weeks after crossing the Channel. Sent off a 7/4 chance Barry Geraghty's mount was always travelling well and quickly left his rivals toiling once asked to go about his business at the final flight.

Less than a month later owner Simon Munir's charge was sent off a 6/1 shot to land the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle, and in a highly dramatic race managed to claw back the runaway leader Barizan and get his head in front 150 yards from the line, the pair going clear of Irish star Alaivan.

Although he hasn't been since his Cheltenham victory, a series of positive reports about Soldatino have emanated from the Henderson camp, a team already blessed with reigning champion hurdler Binocular and the up-and-coming Oscar Whisky. He remains a fascinating title contender.

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