The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the traditional curtain raiser to the Cheltenham Festival and this year’s race looks wide open – will we get a stand-out candidate before the 14th March.
Over the past few years we have been treated to some real stars in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Vautour, Douvan and Altior have lit up the opening race of the festival in style on the past three occasions. But this season, we are yet to see a real standout candidate.
The current ante post favourite is the 2015 Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer. Having only lost once in his career, he has rock solid credentials. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen him on the track very often, but when we have he has impressed. David Pipe has been patient with him and it’s paying off. His bumper form is strong and has been franked time and time again. The form of his hurdles victories isn’t too bad either, with Ballyandy getting within a half-length of a next time out Grade 1 winner. On this evidence, Moon Racer is a very worthy favourite in the latest Supreme Novices’ Hurdle betting odds.
Willie Mullins always has a host of potential horses for this race. Crack Mome disappointed in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. However, to me he looked like he was in dire need of decent ground, so the soft stuff he got that day didn’t help him at all. He didn’t jump the last well, so for me he is still right in the mix. Cilaos Emery is another one that could represent the stable, along with Senewalk and Melon. I am going to reserve my judgement on them until we see them between now and the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. It’s likely one of them could leap to the front of the market if performing well. Saturnas is a horse in which I am very keen on. He won a Grade 1 hurdle at Leopardstown in good style showing a very willing attitude. The option of the Neptune is there for him too, but at 16/1 with Sky Bet who are non-runner no bet, it looks a tasty price.
JP McManus is blessed with a whole host of high class juvenile hurdlers. So many in fact, he may well be able to run one of them in the Supreme. The leading two for him are Defi Du Seuil and Charli Parcs. The former has improved with every start, winning a soft ground Grade 1 by 13 lengths on his last outing. We have only seen the latter horse once, but on that occasion, he was mightily impressive when winning a maiden hurdle at Kempton by 8 lengths without breaking sweat. Obviously, it’s a tough ask for these four year old’s to go into novice company against more developed and older horses, but the way the market is looking it’s worth a go.
Jenkins was favourite for this race before Christmas, but his run at Kempton on Boxing Day was a desperate one. He was pushed along from a long way out and was readily brushed aside by his rivals. Surely that run was too bad to be true, it would be good to see him out again before the festival to find out more.
At this point in time there is no clear standout prospect for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Hopefully in the next few weeks, something will emerge as the one to beat.
Latest Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Odds with Sky Bet:
Moon Racer 5/1, Finians Oscar 6/1, Defi Du Seuil 6/1, Cilaos Emery 8/1, Charli Parcs, Airlie Beach 10/1, Melon 10/1, Any Second Now 10/1, 16/1 Bar.
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