The Supreme Trail Novices’ Hurdle, officially the Sharp Novice’s Hurdle, is the last of the Graded contests on the Sunday on the Cheltenham November Meeting.
This was run for the first time in 1987 and is a trial race for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which is the traditional curtain raiser at the Cheltenham Festival.
The list of previous winners boasts an array of quality horses including Cue Card, Dodging Bullets and Altior.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 15th November 2020
- Winner: For Pleasure
- SP: 14/1
- Trainer: Alex Hales
- Jockey: Harry Bannister
The November Meeting at Cheltenham includes a number of key trials for the Cheltenham Festival which takes place back here in March, including this event over 2m½f. A Grade 2 contest, the race offers £26,000 in total prize money in 2020, with the ground at the track currently described as good to soft.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good to Soft||2m½f||Grade 2||£26,000||18 Runners||1/4 1-2|
Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Colin Tizzard and Paul Nicholls are currently tied with Martin Pipe on three wins at the top of the trainers’ table for this race, and with Tizzard not holding an entry this year, it is Nicholls who has the opportunity to move out in front on his own. Flying the flag for the Ditcheat handler in 2020 is the five year old, Fidelio Vallis.
Of the trials to take place at this meeting, this one has been one of the more fruitful at unearthing a real star – Dodging Bullets, Cue Card and the mighty Altior all feature on the roll of honour in the past 10 years alone.
The favourites have registered a solid 40% strike-rate in this in the past decade. There have been no great prices on show amongst those four winners though, meaning supporters of the market leader would only just have sneaked into profit to the tune of a whopping 29p to £1 level stakes.
|Third Time Lucki||11/8||129||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|Jungle Junction||15/2||136||Jessica Harrington||Robbie Power|
Third Time Lucki – 11/8
Dan Skelton could be in for a fruitful Sunday at Prestbury Park should all of his runners perform to market expectations, and it is he who looks set to saddle the clear favourite here in the shape of the five year old, Third Time Lucki.
The mount of Harry Skelton will be making his third start of the season, and the first two have indeed been pretty lucky, with the gelding registering back to back successes at Uttoxeter and Wetherby in pretty impressive style. The winning margin in the most recent of those was only one and a quarter lengths, but he didn’t appear to be anything like fully extended when cruising to the front, quickening to create daylight and then allowed to come home under only minimal urging. He is far from the finished article and did make a couple of novicey errors that day – almost running through the second last – but looks a horse on the upgrade and heads here for a yard in form.
Another feather in his cap is the fact that he boasts solid form at this track having finished an excellent fourth in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival back in March. There are invariably a number of classy performers come out of that race and Skelton may well have one on his hands here.
Jungle Junction – 15/2
Fidelio Vallis from the yard of Paul Nicholls and Fergal O’Brien’s consistent Courtandbould are others in with obvious claims from towards the head of the market, but anyone looking for an each way bet in the race may want to consider the sole Irish raider in the race, Jungle Junction.
Jessica Harrington isn’t a trainer to send runners across the Irish Sea just for the fun of it and as such it would be no shock to see this horse take a significant step forward on what he has shown at the track to date. Not that his previous efforts gave been poor; and, having finished in the first two in five of his eight career starts to date, he does score highly in the consistency category. With his sole success to date having come in a maiden event at Naas though, he is going to need a career best effort in order to win, but that may not be out of the question.
Having rounded off last season with a solid fourth in Listed company back at Naas, he was then stepped up further in class for a Grade 3 contest at Navan on his comeback this season. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan that day, with Jungle Junction unseating at the very first fence. Undeterred, Harrington sends him over for this, and having spoken highly of the son of Elusive Pimpernel in a pre-season stable tour, we wouldn’t be at all surprised should this one put up a bold show.
Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle Winners
|2020||For Pleasure||14/1||Alex Hales||Harry Bannister|
|2019||Hang In There||6/1||Emma Lavelle||Adam Wedge|
|2018||Elixir De Nutz||5/1||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|2017||Slate House||5/2||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|2016||Moon Racer||9/4||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2015||Altior||2/1||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville|
|2014||Vyta Du Roc||3/1||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2013||The Liquidator||6/4||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2012||Dodging Bullets||5/4||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
|2011||Steps To Freedom||11/8||Jessica Harrington||Robbie Power|
About the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial
As the first race of the Cheltenham Festival, the noise that greets the start of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is unlike any other race. Winning the hugely important Grade 1 is the culmination of a lot of hard work including runs at any number of trials. As the title suggests, the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial run at Cheltenham’s November Meeting is one such important trial and so is always worth paying attention to, even so many months before the main event the following year.
Several Changes but Always a High Class Contest
The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial was first run in 1987. That first race was run as the A. F. Budge Novices’ Hurdle. Over subsequent years the race underwent several name changes with companies including Flowers Fine Ales, Anglo Irish Bank and Opus Energy signing up as sponsors before Sky Bet took over in 2013 and ran the race under its current name. During the various name changes the race has officially been registered as the Sharp Novices’ Hurdle which remains its official name.
The name isn’t the only thing to have changed with this race though. The inaugural contest was open only to three-year-olds before the age restriction was quickly lifted with the contest subsequently open to all novice hurdlers aged four and older. The distance is another thing that has changed over the years, from 2 miles initially, to 2 mile 1 furlong between 1992 and 1994, and then to the current trip of 2 miles ½ furlong.
The Grade of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial is one of the most stable elements of the race. It first achieved Grade 2 status in 1989 where it has remained ever since. That grading has helped to attract many high class horses who are embarking on the early stages of their jumps career with several going on to compete at the Cheltenham Festival.
Altior an Exception
Altior is one of a high number of promising (just a slight understatement in hindsight) horses to use the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trial to show how good he was. At the time, he was described as having “a touch of class about him” so it was by no means clear to racing analysts how far he would go but Altior was the favourite for the race and used his big frame to justify the support he got in the betting.
Nicky Henderson’s superstar really showed what he was all about when he won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle itself at the Cheltenham Festival. Completing the double in both races is a very rare feat indeed which proved to be too much even for the likes of Cue Card and Dodging Bullets.
The main reason for that are that the calibre of competition is obviously higher at the Cheltenham Festival whilst this is a race usually won by four or five-year-olds who are still developing and learning the ropes so have a tendency towards unpredictability.
One thing that Altior had in common with the vast majority of race winners is that he was right at the top of the betting. This is not a race in which it pays to back long shots as those outside of the top three in the bookies’ markets have a poor race. It’s also important for punters to lend their support to horses who have already had a few runs and ideally a win or two over hurdles.