Monday, 15 March 2010

Cheltenham 2010: Supreme Noves' Hurdle

Well, it’s finally here. At half past one tomorrow, we’ll hear the famous roar of the crowd as the tape is lifted on the first race of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The race is open to novice hurdlers aged four years or older and is run on Cheltenham’s Old Course, over two miles and 110 yards and featuring eight hurdles.

Last year I went with Kempes, who never got near to eventual winner Go Native (right) and I’ll be looking to improve on that. As ever, I’ll be looking for some trends to try and thin the eighteen strong field out a little, in an attempt to find the likely winner.

The strongest trend for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is last time out form, with twelve of the last thirteen winners of the race having won on their previous start.

Another noticeable trend is age, as 30 of the last 35 winners were aged five or six, but I don’t place too much emphasis on that in this race, as the vast majority of participants are aged five and six. Interestingly though, it would rule out hot favourite Dunguib (left), who is seven.

There are other factors that point to a potential upset in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle too, notably that only six favourites have won in the last thirty renewals. Another fairly strong trend is that eight of the last 18 winners had run in no more than two hurdle races, a statistic strengthened by the fact that so few horses with that sort of profile actually take part in the race.

With the winner of the last five renewals returned at odds varying between 6-1 and 40-1, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle really is a race where you can pick almost anything, though it is probably worth noting that only one horse has placed at odds of greater than 50-1 in the last thirteen years. All these factors lead me to believe that the festival hotpot (best price even money, William Hill and Ladbrokes) is worth taking on, even more so when you look at how ropey his jumping was in Leopardstown. Now then, let’s get it beaten.

Flat Out and Blackstairmountain (right) are horses that fit every trend I’ve mentioned so far, but have the added bonus of being trained by Willie Mullins, who is one of just four people still training to have won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle more than once, most recently with Ebaziyan in 2007. Irish trainers generally have a good record in the race and seven of the last nine winners were all Irish trained.

Of the two, you would be tempted to side with Blackstairmountain (best price 12/1, SportingBet) as Ruby Walsh has chosen the five year old bay as his mount, but I have something of a reputation on the blog for picking the wrong one whenever I narrow it down to two, so I guess I’d better go with Flat Out (best price 20/1, Stan James, Victor Chandler and SportingBet) as well!

It’s worth noting tomorrow’s special offer from BetFred. In addition to the usual free £50 bet for signing up, if you back a horse in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and it loses, you’ll be refunded the stake as a free bet (up to a maximum of £100). That offer makes the race even more appealing as if Dunguib does oblige, you’ll get your stake back to bet on something else (like Punjabi, who is going to win the Champion Hurdle at 15:20, as tipped by The Scoop Troop!)

If the exchanges are more your scene, Blackstairmountain is priced at 15.0 (14/1) on Betfair and Flat Out is 26 (25/1) - both prices bigger than anything found with traditional bookmakers. Betfair are also offering a £25 free bet to new accounts.

Spinal Research Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Tuesday 16th March, 13.30
Blackstairmountain 0.5 pts e/w
Flat Out 0.5 pts e/w


Will Walsh said...

Can't see past Dunguib who looks value at even money for me BUT I do like your approach as a 2nd or 3rd place finish for Blackstairmountain still pays more than a Dunguib win. And of course if it does win then your absolutely laughing. i would tend to go for Oscar Whisky though for an each way punt but think I'll sit out the race as I will the whole day I think. Only Sizing Europe in the arkle appeals to me as an each way bet.

moDtheGod said...

Nice to have some input from the Walsh, we've missed you baby.

We getting a National preview this year?

Will Walsh said...

There will be a national preview in about a fortnight although I've missed the price on my early fancy Big Fella Thanks!Will also be posting a review of my Ayr Races trip tommorow or Wednesday. Expect to see me gradually post some more!

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