Salver will bid to provide Gary Moore with JCB Triumph Hurdle redemption when he takes his chance in Friday’s Cheltenham Festival opener.

Four years ago the trainer saw Goshen unseat his recently-retired son Jamie with the race at his mercy following a freak incident after the last and he now saddles two as he attempts to correct the record.

Moore also runs last year’s Irish Derby fourth Peking Opera, but it is the mount of Gavin Sheehan who holds the strongest claims, with Salver heading to Prestbury Park unbeaten in four starts over hurdles.

Despite claiming Grade Two honours at Chepstow over the Christmas period, the Lower Beeding handler feels this will be the acid test of his ability as he meets high-class operators from across the Irish Sea.

“Any significant rain would give him an advantage. This race owes me one,” said Moore.

“He deserves his spot in this line-up and a lot of people would have run him in the Fred Winter because he’s only rated 128, but it was always going to be the Triumph.

“He’s only ever shown his class on a racecourse, he’s never shown anything at home really. His last piece of work was a good piece of work that I was happy with, but to be quite honest, I think he has won four weakish races.

“There are a few bits of form that show him to be quite useful but he hasn’t met a superstar yet, so he has to go out there and prove himself, this will be his test.

“Niall (Houlihan) will ride the other horse and poor Caoilin (Quinn) is sidelined, so Gavin rides.”

Willie Mullins has won three of the last four renewals and is blessed with a plethora of chances, saddling seven of the 13 heading to post and dominating the top of the betting lists.

Kenny Alexander’s Kargese is one of the Closutton battalion and the likeable filly will attempt to go one better than the owner’s Gala Marceau did 12 months ago in the race – having followed in that stablemate’s footsteps by claiming the Spring Juvenile at Leopardstown en route to the Cotswolds.

She got the better of fellow Mullins runners Storm Heart (second) and Majborough (third) on that occasion and her pilot Danny Mullins feels they are a closely matched bunch.

“The first four home were from Willie’s (at the Dublin Racing Festival) and any one of the four could pop up and win in Cheltenham,” said Danny Mullins.

“Storm Heart was close to me, Majborough back in third ran a bit keen on the day. You can make solid cases for them all finding the necessary improvement to be good enough to win a Triumph.

“It’s probably the one division where the horses are still developing, so what you’re seeing pre-Christmas versus what you see come March in Cheltenham can be two different things.”

Those sentiments have been echoed by the master of Closutton himself in the build up to the Cheltenham action, but there is a clear apple of his eye amongst his collective, with the imposing Majborough courting plenty of favour from his record-setting handler.

“Majborough ran a cracker (at Leopardstown). Every time I see him I think Gold Cup, not Triumph Hurdle, he’s just a magnificent beast,” said Willie Mullins.

“I was surprised when he arrived from France to see what an individual he was. He’s not a typical juvenile hurdler, you’re looking at him and thinking three years down the road.

“Maybe he could be like Douvan and just fully develop as a four and five-year-old. I’ve got some nice juveniles, but he’d be in the top couple of picks.”

The Festival’s leading trainer is also represented by impressive Limerick winner Bunting, who was a place further back in fourth at the Dublin Racing Festival, while Ethical Diamond (sixth) and Highwind (eighth) were others taking part in the Irish capital with outside claims for Mullins.

The Closutton septet is rounded off by the intriguing Salvator Mundi, who was less than two lengths behind long-time race favourite Sir Gino when they met in France and he could prove an exciting ride for Brian Hayes, making his stable debut in Grade One company – ironically for the sidelined Sir Gino’s owners Joe and Marie Donnelly.

Joseph O’Brien’s Nurburgring has solid form from the early part of the season and has been kept fresh for this event, with Fairyhouse scorer Fratas completing the Irish contingent representing Michael Mulvany.

Warren Greatrex will saddle Mighty Bandit – his expensive recruit from the Caldwell dispersal – who handed Tuesday’s Boodles winner Lark In The Morning a near 10-length beating in November, while Dominic Ffrench Davis takes a shot at this valuable prize with Newbury winner Ithaca’s Arrow.

The weather appears set to dictate if Salver will be handed a shot at the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.

A comfortable winner of his first two starts over obstacles, he romped to a 21-length success in Chepstow’s Grade Two Finale Juvenile Hurdle over the Christmas period to announce himself as one of the UK’s best juvenile operators.

He enhanced his unbeaten record over timber at Haydock when claiming the Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle in easy fashion and is as short as 10-1 for Grade One glory at Prestbury Park, with only heavy favourite Sir Gino and a handful of Willie Mullins-based contenders ahead of him in the betting with most bookmakers.

However, having shown a real liking for testing conditions, Moore has always suggested his Festival participation will hinge on a wet forecast during the second week of March.

“He’s fine after Saturday and if this weather keeps up he’ll be going to Cheltenham, but if it doesn’t I don’t know what I will do,” said Moore.

Other options for Salver include holding fire in hope of a wet few days in Merseyside during Grand National week or a trip to France for one of their big end-of-season juvenile events.

But being seen as a horse for the future, Moore would have no qualms if his charge did not run again this season.

He continued: “There’s the possibility he could go to France but that is very unlikely though.

“He’s still a big, weak, immature horse and I’m not sure he is ready for France yet. We could always look at Liverpool as well but that would depend on ground and be weather permitting.

“If he doesn’t run again this year, he’s done more than his fair share and it wouldn’t matter.”

Salver took another step towards a potential outing at next month’s Cheltenham Festival after maintaining his unbeaten Virgin Bet Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle at Haydock.

Gary Moore’s youngster had impressed in winning each of his first three starts to date, never more so than when beating his rivals by upwards of 21 lengths in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow over the Christmas period.

The son of Motivator was bidding to make it four from four over obstacles on Merseyside – and while he made a couple of small jumping errors in the extremely testing conditions, the 2-5 favourite was ultimately not hard pressed to score by three and a half lengths in the hands of Caoilin Quinn.

Josh Moore, assistant to his father, said: “He’s done it nicely and it’s sort of a case of he’s done what he had to do.

“I think he can be better than he was today as he was quite wound up beforehand, which he isn’t usually.

“It’s proper heavy ground out there and they’ll either go on it or they won’t. As we saw at Chepstow, he goes on it, but Haydock heavy is completely different to anywhere else.”

Paddy Power trimmed Salver’s odds for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham to 10-1 from 14-1, while he is 8-1 from 12-1 with the same firm for the Boodles.

However, Moore junior revealed his Festival participation will be ground dependent.

“I think he will only be going there if it is soft or worse than soft. You’d definitely want to be seeing soft in the going description anyway,” he added.

“If it’s a good ground Triumph I can’t see him running there. It’s quite a big occasion for a young horse, there’s Aintree afterwards and you’ve got the option of France as well.

“There’s lots of options and we wouldn’t be in a rush to make any decisions. He’s a nice horse.”

Salver relished the gruelling conditions as he remained unbeaten over hurdles with a destructive display in the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

An impressive winner at both Warwick and Exeter before having his sights raised for this Grade Two contest, he was made the 5-4 favourite in the hands of Caoilin Quinn following the late defection of ante-post Triumph Hurdle favourite Burdett Road on account of the deteriorating ground.

Gary Moore’s charge continued his trend of racing at the head of affairs as he disputed matters with Anthony Charlton’s Balboa, and on turning for home Salver’s class came to the fore as he took the lead three out and took off into the distance.

Balboa to his credit continued to plug on for second but Salver was in splendid isolation as he came home for an unchallenged 21-length success.

It was the second Grade Two of the season for fledgling jockey Quinn, while Moore was winning the race for the second time in three years, with Salver cut to 16-1 from 33s by Betfair for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

“I can’t believe it and it’s unbelievable how it has happened,” said winning owner Keith Graves told Sky Sports Racing.

“Gary said have a look at this horse and I bought it and he’s won three on the spin and looks like he could go on.

“The jockey said ‘I think I could have gone faster’ which is nice. It’s been fantastic. I was involved with the Heart Of The South syndicate for six years and then I’ve been with Salver for two months and had three wins, so it’s unbelievable. It’s bigger than I imagined, fantastic.

“It’s a shame about the favourite, but you can only beat what’s in front of you. Our paths will cross in the future, but we will see what happens.”

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