Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips, Offers and Free Bets
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds
There are many sights and sounds that make the Cheltenham Festival one of the jewels in the crown of British sport.
Right at the top of that list for most people is the roar that greets the start of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the first race at Prestbury Park. This is a Grade 1 hurdle run over two miles and half a furlong and has eight hurdles along the way. The ante post betting for this year’s Supreme has been interesting to say the least but what about the actual race?
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips and Race Preview 2020
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is perhaps best known for the roar which greets its start as thousands of racing fans show their approval for the beginning of the Cheltenham Festival. In strict racing terms though, this is a hugely important race which has been won by the likes of Altior and Douvan in recent years.
It remains to be seen just how far the runners in the 2020 edition will go in the future but hopes are certainly high about Asterion Forlonge’s prospects. After winning a point to point and a National Hunt flat race, he showed an instant liking for hurdles and looks a very good bet to get Willie Mullins’ Festival off to a winning start.
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle does have a habit of throwing up the odd surprise win though. Punters are well advised to have an each way shot on board with Edwardstone fitting the bill nicely, especially if the ground is on the softer side as seems very likely.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Previous Winners
- 2019 – Klassical Dream – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2018 – Summerville Boy – jockey Noel Fehily, trainer Tom George
- 2017 – Labaik – jockey Jack Kennedy, trainer Gordon Elliott
- 2016 – Altior – jockey Nico de Boinville, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2015 – Douvan – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2014 – Vautour – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2013 – Champagne Fever – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2012 – Cinders And Ashes – jockey Jason Maguire, trainer Donald McCain
- 2011 – Al Ferof – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2010 – Menorah – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Philip Hobbs
- 2009 – Go Native – jockey Paul Carberry, trainer Noel Meade
- 2008 – Captain Cee Bee – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Eddie Harty
- 2007 – Ebaziyan – jockey Davy Condon, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2006 – Noland – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trends – Five and Six Year Olds Rule
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is that it has almost exclusively be won by five and six year olds in recent years. Although the race is open to four year olds it’s rare for those youngest horses even to get a run, let alone have the attributes required to win a race of this calibre.
Similarly, the importance of this race, the number of National Hunt stars that it produces and the fact that it’s open only to novice chasers means that few horses aged eight or older compete.
Despite their relatively young age and novice status the bookies know plenty about these promising competitors. It’s not a race in which simply backing the favourite pays dividends but it’s relatively rare for the winner to come from outside the top three in the betting.
Don’t Back Over-Raced Runners
In terms of the specifics of recent form, it is vital to bet only on horses who have had at least three runs within two furlongs of the 2m½f trip of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. A previous win over between 15-17 furlongs is vital and those who already have success at Graded level is important. A prior appearance at Cheltenham is a nice to have but not vital.
When looking at the form be sure to be wary of horses who have raced too many times during the season. Five previous races over hurdles is the maximum ceiling with two races the minimum as punters want to back horses who are primed and ready to go rather than on the verge of being tired before their attempt to win up the Cheltenham hill.
The quality of winning horses is matched by the pedigree of their trainers. The likes of Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins have all won recent renewals. It’s worth noting that neither British nor Irish bred horses have dominance.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle History
Appearing at Cheltenham for the first time in 1946, this event was initially known as the Gloucestershire Hurdle, a title which it retained until 1974. Such was the demand for the race in the early days that it often had to be split into two or even three separate divisions in order to accommodate the number of runners. King amongst the trainers in this initial phase was Irish legend Vincent O’Brien. The County Cork native recorded ten wins in all, including a remarkable period from 1955-1959. Ten divisions of the race were run over this time, Vincent O’Brien won no fewer than eight of them.
1972 was the first year the race was run as a single division, a format which has been maintained to this day. A variety of sponsors have been associated with the contest since this time, with Lloyds Bank being the first in 1974. Waterford Crystal came next in 1978, the year in which the title of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was first introduced. The race is now recognised as the top two mile novice hurdle contest of the racing year. Betting firm Sky Bet took over sponsorship duties in 2014.
Noting horses to run well here can a fairly useful guide to future festivals. A number of runners have gone on to further Cheltenham success following a win in this race. Bula. Hors La Loi III and Brave Inca all went on to take the Champion Hurdle. Flying Bolt later won the Champion Chase and Vautour took the JLT Novices Chase. 1968 winner, L’Escargot, went on to win the biggest prizes of all, The Cheltenham Gold Cup (twice) and the Grand National at Aintree.
It was an Irish trainer tasted the most success when the race was spread across a number of divisions and little has changed since the single division format was introduced. Willie Mullins leads the way since 1972 with six wins, including three in a row from 2013-2015.
Jockey aboard Champagne Fever (2013), Vautour (2014), Douvan (2015) and Klassical Dream (2019) was fellow Irishman Ruby Walsh. That lot allayed to a pair of wins for Paul Nicholls, aboard Noland in 2006 and Al Ferof in 2011, put the man from County Kildare out in front amongst the jockeys with six wins.
Being a novice hurdle contest it is unsurprising that younger runners dominate when looking through the list of previous winners. Horses have generally progressed beyond novice hurdling by the time they reach the age of 8. That didn’t stop Beau Caprice from taking the prize in 1966 though at the grand old age of 12, making him easily the oldest winner in the history of the race.