Cheltenham Supreme Novices Hurdle
Cheltenham Festival race guide – the Supreme Novices Hurdle
What better way to kick start this year’s Cheltenham Festival than seeing some of the finest novice hurdlers across the UK and Ireland contest the Prestbury Park curtain raiser. The field can expect to hear the traditional “Cheltenham Roar” as they embark on their two mile journey. And despite his fall two flights from home in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last time, the previously unbeaten Darlan just shades favouritism for this Grade 1 event. But the Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old can expect stiff competition from a whole host of exciting novices including Cinders And Ashes and Midnight Game amongst others. It promises to be another fantastic renewal run on the old course at Cheltenham, and one which should whet the appetite for all four days.
Paddy Power are refunding losing singles on the race if Cue Card wins so it is worth doing any other bets in the race with them, the unbeaten Spirit Son head the list of challengers, he has shown more potential than actual form so far in his three starts, he has also shown a liking for soft ground so may not find conditions to suit. Recession Proof is solid but not outstanding whilst Zaidpour might like it a little softer, best of the each way chances could be Sprinter Sacre who has shown a good level of form on a variety of ground.
Supreme Novices Hurdle odds
The field of runners will swing left-handed as they complete their near two-mile journey. The race should see a large number of entrants and the early ante-post betting is centred on the Colin Tizzard trained Cue Card. After winning the Weatherby’s Champion Bumper at the festival last year, the 4yo gelding bolted up by thirteen lengths in a subsequent Novices Hurdle at Aintree in late October. If entered for the Cheltenham opener, the unbeaten hurdler will be hard to beat and it is hard to see Cue Card surrendering his unbeaten record. Bookmakers across the board list him at 6/1 to scoop the £100,000 purse, so perhaps one to keep an eye on in the build up to March’s showdown.
Favourites have underperformed in recent years in the Supreme Novices with only two market leaders crossing the line first in the last seventeen runnings of this race. Last year’s winner Menorah went off at a healthy 12/1 and rewarded those punters looking for value in the market. The whole population of Ireland seemed to be on Irish raider Dunguib in the race, but he fluffed his line at 4/5 favourite. Therefore it may be worth chancing an outsider to get your betting week off to the best possible start. The ante-post market will certainly hot up in the run up to the race, so as ever it is important to make regular market inspections as horses making their debut Cheltenham debut have gone in before at hefty prices. The form book has gone out of the window several times in recent years which makes the race one of the toughest to predict.
Testing conditions underfoot could influence the betting, and when identifying your chosen fancy for this one, examine key qualities such as stamina and pace with regards flat bred runners. Tactics could play a huge part should the pace be frenetic over the first mile and it will be interesting to see who takes up the running. Irish horses have a particular good record in this event, and this another one of the many factors to consider before placing your bets and finding the first winner of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival!
Victor Chandler – One of the biggest names in online betting (you’ve probably seen the TV advert with Paddy Mcguiness) is offering a free £25 matched bet during Cheltenham.
Bet 365 – The biggest free bet offer during Cheltenham is from Bet 365 who are offering £200 in free bets. The free bets are awarded after your first, fourth and twentieth bets. This is a great offer for those who are planning to bet on lots of Cheltenham races.
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