One of the leading Irish bankers of the Cheltenham Festival runs in the opening race of the fourth and final day of the meeting this Friday.
Sir Erec looks the outstanding juvenile in the British Isles and is a strong favourite with betway to land the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle (13:30) for handler Joseph O’Brien.
Formerly trained by father Aidan, who teamed up with leading owner JP McManus to win this race in 2016 with Ivanovich Gorbatov, this four-year-old posted some very smart form on the Flat.
After winning a Curragh maiden at the end of August, Sir Erec was stepped up to Listed level and 1m 4f scoring at Limerick. He beat the useful Flat stayer Twilight Payment by 4 1/4 lengths who ran a string of solid races coming into their meeting.
The son of Camelot then stepped up to 2m for the first time and was a fine 2 1/2 lengths third to Stradivarius in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day at Ascot.
These exploits on the level caught the eye of legendary gambler McManus, and he purchased Sir Erec sending him to O’Brien junior for National Hunt training.
More impressive Grade 1 winner
He showed a touch of class on his hurdles debut at Leopardstown over Christmas when prevailing over Tiger Tap Tap by a neck. Mark Walsh only had to ride him out close home and he was thus value for more than the winning margin.
Sir Erec then took the step up to Grade 1 company in his stride when staying on strongly to land the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival easily by six lengths.
That victory confirmed him to be the best Irish four-year-old in training. Sir Erec has been all the rage for this since and was far more authoritative in his Grade 1 success than main market rival Quel Destin, who had a scrap to the line at Chepstow over Christmas.
The Paul Nicholls trained juvenile has seen the form take a hit, as the runner-up Adjali was again a beaten favourite when beaten 16 1/2 lengths into third by Fakir D’oudairies in a Grade 2 trial for the Triumph.
It’s Sir Erec who instead looks in a different league to his rivals. McManus has owned the winner of two of the last three renewals and this hot prospect is widely expected to land the spoils for him again.
Bet of the Day: Sir Erec to win the Triumph Hurdle at evens with betway.