Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Cheltenham) Betting Tips & Preview – Tuesday 13th March 2018

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? Siding with the Willie Mullins/Rich Ricci combination has borne plenty of fruit in recent years and we fancy there is every chance of the duo striking again in 2018.

Top Tips

Getabird to win @ 6/4

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Information

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. The ground at the track is currently described as soft, bringing stamina into play as the combatants battle it out for the £125,000 in total prize money on offer.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 2m½f Grade 1 £125,000 20 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

Unsurprisingly for a novice hurdle contest, it is youth which has dominated here, with only one winner older than six years of age scoring in the past decade.

The Irish have just held the edge in the past decade, with six wins in the race to Britain’s four.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
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

Analysis: History Repeating as Mullins and Ricci Score Again?

As witnessed only last year, shocks can and do occur here, and whilst it is certainly possible to make a sound case for a number of the outsider’s, the arguments in favour of those towards the head of the market seem far more persuasive.

Bird To Fly Highest?

From a recent trends perspective it is Irish raider Getabird who is the obvious first port of call. Representing the Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh combination that has proven successful three times in the past five years, this one is also in the same ownership as Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan.

Many initially viewed this bay gelding as a contender for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over 2m4f. However the son of Getaway quickly dispelled any doubts as to whether he possessed the speed for this trip, when accelerating right away to score over the distance last time out in a Grade 2 at Punchestown.

Or Will Kalashnikov Shoot Him Down?

Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov sprang towards the head of the betting for this contest when posting a seriously impressive performance in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. Always one of the most competitive handicaps of the season, the manner in which he powered away in the closing stages bodes well ahead of this assignment. Thought likely to be better on good ground, we will have to wait for another day to see whether that theory proves correct, but he is already a two time winner on soft and looks a threat to all.

Go With The Flow

Had the ground been good, or even good to soft, Kim Bailey’s First Flow almost certainly would not be going to post here. Whilst some will be bemoaning the recent weather, connections of this eye-catching Haydock scorer won’t be amongst them. This six year old wouldn’t be as attractively bred as others in the field, but sometimes what a horse has actually shown on the track counts for more than what they should be able to do on paper. As such a 10 length romp in a Grade 2 at Haydock is amongst the best form on offer.

Final Verdict

There ought to be plenty of pace on show here, which in combination with the soft ground should turn this into a solid test at the distance. First Flow is fancied to make a bold bid from the head of affairs and is a lively each way option. He will however likely have at least a couple of pacey sorts attempting to run him down in the closing stages and may be found wanting.

Kalashnikov is greatly respected but preference here is for Getabird. This one ticks all the boxes from a trends perspective and having already won over further seems likely to maintain his finishing burst coming up the Cheltenham hill.

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