Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting Tips, Stats & History

And they’re off! There’s no mistaking the moment the Cheltenham Festival gets underway as the famed Cheltenham roar greets the start of this race. But who will be cheering loudest at the end of this full throttle hurdle contest?

Race Info

Two miles and half a furlong is the trip for the Festival curtain raiser which in common with many of the events this week is a Grade 1 affair. There’s a total of £125,000 in prize money up for grabs here, with the ground at the track currently described as good to soft.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good To Soft 2m½f Grade 1 £125,000 18 Runners 1/4 1-3

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting Tips

Cheltenham, 13:30, Tuesday 12th March 2019

There aren’t too many who can be ruled out with any kind of certainty here, but this has been a happy hunting ground for the Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh combination in the past and we will be hoping for more of the same this year.

Unsurprisingly for a novice hurdle contest, it is youth which has dominated here, with no horse older than six years of age scoring in the past decade.

It has been honours even between the British and Irish over this 10-year period, with five editions staying at home and five heading back across the Irish Sea.

This looks to be a hugely competitive renewal, with it being very difficult to predict who will start as favourite on the day. The Dai Walters duo of Angels Breath and Al Dancer currently lead the way, but there seems to be money around for a couple of those in behind so don’t be surprised to see a late gamble.

Fakir The Real Deal?

Purely on ratings the one they all have to beat is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Fakir D’oudairies. His current mark of 150 puts him 4lbs off the top-rated runner in the field, but as a four year old he receives an 8lbs allowance here to put him 4lbs clear of the rest on what we have seen to date, and what we have seen to date from this son of Kapgarde has been mightily impressive.

His latest start came at this track in a trial for the Triumph Hurdle and saw him obliterate the opposition to the tune of 13 lengths. This will be significantly tougher, but anything close to that level of form will put him right in contention.

Klassic Success For Mullins

The Irish do look to boast a strong hand here. Fakir D’oudairies has been prominent in the betting ever since that performance here last time out, but the one coming in for late money is the Willie Mullins runner, Klassical Dream. Considering Mullins has won this three times in the past six years, that could be a pretty ominous sign. A perfect two from two for the yard, the manner in which he rallied to get back up from Aramon – who also goes here – last time out at Leopardstown augurs well for his chances should this turn into a battle coming up the hill.

Davies To Dance To Victory

Nigel Twiston-Davies has landed this prize before, but only once, and that came back in 1994 when Arctic Kinsman caused a 50/1 shock in the race. His representative this year is considerably shorter in the market. Al Dancer has been foot perfect in landing his four previous starts this season, culminating in an impressive success in the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle last time out. Possessing a potent turn of foot, he rates the best of the home team to our eyes and may be tough to repel should he be in contention as they turn for home.

Final Verdict: Kalssical Dream To Win

This looks set to be a cracker with a solid case to be made for at least half of the field. Fakir D’oudairies and others will ensure this is run at a good clip and that weight allowance is a big factor in favour of the O’Brien runner. He will have better horses coming from behind than he did last time out though and we fancy at least one of those will run him down.

Al Dancer makes obvious appeal but is passed over in favour of Klassical Dream. Already a winner in Grade 1 company, we loved the attitude he showed last time out and he’s the one we want on our side, particularly with Ruby Walsh doing the steering.

Recent Winners

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2019 Klassical Dream 6/1 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2018 Summerville Boy 9/1 Tom George Noel Fehily
2017 Labaik 25/1 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy
2016 Altior 4/1 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
2015 Douvan 2/1 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2014 Vautour 7/2 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2013 Champagne Fever 5/1 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2012 Cinders And Ashes 10/1 Donald McCain Jason Maguire
2011 Al Ferof 10/1 Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh
2010 Menorah 12/1 Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson

About the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: The Traditional Curtain Raiser

Yellow Flag Held in the Air

The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest National Hunt meeting of the year. The four days of action attract thousands of racegoers to the Gloucestershire venue and many millions of punters to have a bet on at least one of the Grade 1 races taking place. Racing fans know that Cheltenham takes up much more than just four days though. The build up for the Festival always goes on for months before the world famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’ greets the start of the first race, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

That roar signals the excitement that’s been building for the Festival as a whole but also for this brilliant Grade 1 contest itself. As the name suggests, it’s a hurdle race which is open only to novices (that is to say horses who had not won a hurdle race before the start of the current season) and these must be horses who are aged four or older. It takes place over 2 miles and half a furlong, with eight hurdles to be navigated.

Changes of Name

The race was first run as the Gloucestershire Hurdle in 1946. It was known by that title until 1974 when it was registered as the Lloyd Bank Champion Novices’ Hurdle and has subsequently been sponsored by several different companies.

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Title & Sponsors: 1946 - 2020

Sponsor Year From Year To Sponsor Year From Year To
Sky Bet 2014 Present William Hill 2012 2013
Stan James 2011 2011 Spinal Research 2010 2010
William Hill 2009 2009 Anglo Irish Bank 2006 2008
Letheby & Christopher 2004 2005 Gerrard Wealth Management 2002 2003
Capel Cure Sharp 2000 2000 Citroen 1994 1999
Trafalgar House 1991 1993 Waterford Crystal 1978 1990
Lloyds Bank 1974 1977 Gloucestershire Hurdle 1946 1973

The name may have changed over the years but the importance of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has remained fairly steady. It’s now used by leading trainers as a vital step in the careers of some of their very best horses whilst in the early days it was such a highly regarded race that it used to be split into multiple divisions. It’s been held as just the one race since the 1970s so it is no surprise that it is such a competitive contest.

Tolworth and Moscow Flyer Hurdles the Key Pointers

Punters looking for a guide to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle have many different races to consider in the lead up. In addition to the official trials, the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown is worth considering (it provided first and second at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival) whilst Irish horses will often head to Cheltenham via the Moscow Flyer Hurdle, a Grade 2 contest at Punchestown named after the dual Queen Mother Champion Chase winner.

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial Winners: 2017/18 - 2019/20

Race 2019/20 Winner 2018/19 Winner 2017/18 Winner
Cheltenham Supreme Trial Hang In There Elixir De Nutz Slate House
Tolworth Hurdle Fiddlerontheroof Elixir De Nutz Summerville Boy
Moscow Flyer Hurdle Andy Dufresne Felix Desjy Getabird
Haydock Supreme Trial Stolen Silver Mister Fisher First Flow
Chanelle Pharma Hurdle Asterion Forlonge Klassical Dream Samcro

Just as there are numerous different routes to the race, those who run well have a plethora of options ahead of them with some going on to have more success over hurdles and others, such as the aforementioned Moscow Flyer, moving into chasing. The one thing most winners have in common is more success at Cheltenham, so it’s well worth making a note of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle result.

Chart Showing the Start Prices of Supreme Novices' Hurdle Winners Between 1999 and 2019

As the horses competing are hopefully just at the start of their National Hunt careers and therefore have scope for fast improvement, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle can be a somewhat tricky race to predict. Winning favourites are relatively rare and have been interspersed with longer odds winners, some of whom have gone on to be massive stars such as 2015 winner, Altior.

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