Racing fans are now counting down the days before that mighty ‘roar’ runs around Cheltenham Racecourse and what better way to start to than with what looks to be the strongest runWilliam Hill Supreme Novices´ Hurdle in years.
The festival’s opening blockbuster is headed by My Tent Or Yours who shot to favouritism after a superb victory in the Betfair Hurdle last month earlier this month.
Bookmakers reacted to his classy romp by slashing him from 12/1 to 6/4 favouritism and with AP McCoy looking to have even more left in the tank, you can understand why the bookies took evasive action.
That said, in a race that traditionally doesn’t favour the favourites, 6/4 is an awfully short price for a horse that yes was impressive latest, but tasted defeat to stablemate Chatterbox.
There are others in the race that go into the race unbeaten this season however few have come out on top in the size of field the My Tent Or Yours, something that will boast well for the Nicky Henderson trained 6-year-old considering the large field that will contest the race.
My Tent Or Yours owner JP McManus’s chances of winning the race are boosted even further with his new acquisition and second favourite Jezki (4/1).
The electrifying hurdler caught the eye of everyone with some pulsating performances in Ireland hence McManus’ decision to pay big money for the impressive five-year-old.
A loss in his maiden run in early October did little to derail his season as he simply bounced back with four wins with the scalps of Champion Bumper winner Champagne Fever and Waheeb the standout victims.
However Champagne Fever has not been the hurdler we thought he would be and his form over Waheeb was weakened when Waheeb was beaten into third earlier this week despite going off as short as 1/5.
Apart from My Tent Or Yours, the big market mover has been Dodging Bullets moving from 16’s to 10’s this week. The Paul Nicholls trained five-year-old was a beaten 4th in last year’s Triumph Hurdle but has some impressive form to his name including a respectable third behind the late Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle as well as two Cheltenham victories over River Maigue and Hi Note.
For a horse so young to already have a love for winning at Cheltenham bodes well for him and punters will be looking to snap up 10/1 as an each way bet, especially with the likelihood of Ruby Walsh being in the saddle.
Melodic Rendezvous is the standout bet for people looking at an each way bet to oppose the favourite.
With a grade 1 victory already to his name as well as an impressive victory over market rival Puffin Billy he is very much a contender for this race.
He is no less consistent than any of his rivals leading up to the race and gives off the impression that he is improving for every run he has.
Pique Sous could yet be the forgotten horse in this race and with the ground looking set to be good, he could be a real player despite been kept in cotton wool by trainer Willie Mullins.
His third in last year’s Champion Bumper was impressive and he had a superb season on the flats in the summer with two wins out of four.
However soft ground has restricted him to only one hurdles race at Thurles way back in October in which he easily dispatched a field of 18 by five lengths. His only other run this year came earlier this month on the all weather which he again won at odds on.
At 20/1 he is very much the dark horse for the race and will have Ruby Walsh scratching his head even though he is likely to choose Dodging Bullets or Champagne Fever.
Admittedly his preparation is not ideal but Mullins insists he is still a force and there are not many 20/1 shots that boast the form that he does.
Many see My Tent Or Yours to be the runaway winner of this race but he would personally be the lay of the week for me. The Supreme Novices’s is always a super competitive race and this year is no different so for a 6/4 shot to be heading the field is ridiculous. However it would be unsurprising to see him win the race as easy as he did the Betfair Hurdle but at 6/4 I will not be taking my chances.
Melodic Rendezvous is a horse that has really caught my eye this year. He is blessed with the fantastic trait of been able to go when his jockey tells him to. Nick Schofield was awarded his first Grade 1 success aboard this young hurdler and he will be the man who has the privilege of controlling this energetic novice. He just as the horse is young and learning and from what I have seen this season, he looks like the improver in the field.
Pique Sous is very much the forgotten horse in this race and despite a lack of run outs, Willie Mullins will have him in top nick however should the ground come up the soft side of good, there will be no chance in him running.
Win: Melodic Rendezvous, 10/1 William Hill
Each Way: Pique Sous, 20/1 Coral
Supreme Novice Hurdles Entries
3-12154 ALLY CASCADE (IRE) 5 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
1111 ANNIE POWER (IRE) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
3/-11F ANONIS (GER) 7 Barry Connell Mags Mullins IRE
32-122 BILLY TWYFORD (IRE) 6 Andy Weller Lawney Hill
BLACK SPIRIT (USA) 6 Alan Spence Nicky Henderson
240-13 BRIGHT NEW DAWN (IRE) 6 Gigginstown House Stud Dessie Hughes IRE
1 BUTHELEZI (USA) 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
261311 CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA) 5 Timeform Betfair Racing Club Ltd Gordon Elliott IRE
041 CAYMAN ISLANDS 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
111-123 CHAMPAGNE FEVER (IRE) 6 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
1 CHAT ROOM 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
1-1 CHATTERBOX (IRE) 5 The Not Afraid Partnership 2 Nicky Henderson
211/- CHELTENIAN (FR) 7 Roger Brookhouse Philip Hobbs
111 CLOSE TOUCH 5 The Queen Nicky Henderson
214-134 COURT MINSTREL (IRE) 6 Janet Davies Evan Williams
246-113 DODGING BULLETS 5 Martin Broughton & Friends Paul Nicholls
5111-1F DON COSSACK (GER) 6 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
23-141 DUKE OF NAVAN (IRE) 5 David & Nicky Robinson Nicky Richards
1-213 EDUARD (IRE) 5 Kingdom Taverns Ltd Nicky Richards
P ELECTROLYSER (IRE) 8 Mr & Mrs P Hargreaves Nicky Henderson
23(1) FAIR TRADE 6 Raymond Tooth Alan King
2F1 FATCATINTHEHAT 4 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
FIRE KING 7 D Steele Philip Hide
12 FLAXEN FLARE (IRE) 4 Mrs Pat Sloan Gordon Elliott IRE
FLYING CROSS (IRE) 6 Robin Geffen David Pipe
114 FORGOTTEN VOICE (IRE) 8 Susan Roy Nicky Henderson
2110 GOLDEN HOOF (IRE) 5 The Hoof Partnership Nicky Henderson
10-1P I SHOT THE SHERIFF (IRE) 6 Malcolm Denmark David Pipe
40-3110 IFANDBUTWHYNOT (IRE) 7 Claire Hollowood & Henry Dean David O’Meara
112 IRISH SAINT (FR) 4 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
10-1111 JEZKI (IRE) 5 J P McManus Jessica Harrington IRE
211(1) KARAZHAN 5 Pump & Plant Services Ltd Nicky Henderson
1 KING OF DUDES 4 Masterson Holdings Limited Alan King
6 KUDA HURAA (IRE) 5 Thurloe 53 Alan King
0-F1 LEGAL EXIT (IRE) 6 Mary Samworth Jim Culloty IRE
2 LIFE AND SOUL (IRE) 6 Matthew Taylor Donald McCain
LOOKING ON 5 Irvin Naylor Venetia Williams
34116 LORD OF HOUSE (GER) 5 Good Lord Partnership Charlie Mann
14 LORDOFTHEHOUSE (IRE) 5 St Albans Bloodstock LLP Tom George
12-211 MELODIC RENDEZVOUS 7 Cash For Honours Jeremy Scott
61P MINELLA DEFINITELY (IRE) 6 Wellcroomed T/A eyewearoutlet.co.uk Neil Mulholland
10-3 MINELLA FORFITNESS (IRE) 6 Michael Buckley Nicky Henderson
2-142 MINSK (IRE) 5 Barry Connell Dessie Hughes IRE
11/3- MONO MAN (IRE) 7 Bridget Hanbury Nicky Henderson
242-411 MORNING ROYALTY (IRE) 6 Eileen Milligan James Moffatt
31114-1 MOSCOW MANNON (IRE) 7 J M Flanagan Brian Hamilton IRE
2/1213-1 MOZOLTOV 7 Martin Lynch Willie Mullins IRE
3-4511 MR WATSON (IRE) 6 Gay Smith Jonjo O’Neill
122-121 MY TENT OR YOURS (IRE) 6 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
2-121 NED BUNTLINE 5 J P McManus Noel Meade IRE
1120-2 NEW YEAR’S EVE 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
333- OFF THE WALL (IRE) 6 Malcolm Denmark David Pipe
630/0- OSTENTATION 6 Chris Beek Alastair Lidderdale
31 PINE CREEK 5 Bloomfields John Ferguson
3-31121 PIQUE SOUS (FR) 6 Supreme Horse Racing Club Willie Mullins IRE
16 POET 8 Tina Cox Clive Cox