Nelson River stakes Triumph claims with Trial victory at Cheltenham

Sat 15 Dec 2018

Watch how Nelson River stayed on powerfully to win the opening race at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Nelson River maintained his unbeaten record since switching codes after staying on powerfully to take the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Having hit a flat-spot in the two-mile-one-furlong prize, Tony Carroll’s charge picked up both long time leader Katpoli and Fanfan Du Seuil up the run in before defeating the later by a length to add to his victory at Bangor last month.

Following the race, the winner was introduced at 40-1 for the Triumph Hurdle with Sky Bet.

Carroll said of the 6-1 victor: “It was not a surprise as he is a nice horse. He stays well and he has taken to jumping. He is a young horse and really he has had not much racing.

"Nelson River is a lovely horse, who is potentially very good and talented, and he is still only learning his game.

"He is a big, backward type of horse with lots of scope and potential. Looking forward, he is really smart. I think he is the first English-bred horse to win this race and he is a very nice horse to have.

"Today was the day to see where we were with him and I am not sure where we will go now. I will speak to connections but we will try and make a plan to be back here in March.

"I think he will probably handle softer conditions. It was on the easy side at Bangor when he won and the first two home pulled a long way clear of the third, so that looked a nice race."

Jockey Harry Bannister said: "Nelson River over-raced a little bit early on and the front two got away from him down the back at the top of the hill. All he does is stay and he has done it really well in the end.

"He was very good when he won at Bangor - more workmanlike and little bit green - but he was a lot more professional today and it's great for Mr Carroll and the team to have a nice winner at Cheltenham.

"Nelson River is doing everything right at the moment and maturing as he goes. He handles this softer ground - it's windy out there but I thought it rode like good to soft. I questioned whether he would cope with it but he has definitely shown that he has."

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