The two-mile contest is often run at a frenetic pace and has often paid to sit in behind any frontrunner in recent years. Shishkin, Klassical Dream and Summerville Boy have all come from off the pace to win in the past three renewals.
Willie Mullins has a fantastic record in the race and has taken the coveted prize back across the Irish Sea on no fewer than five occasions.
Despite having a ride in eleven previous versions, Paul Townend has only made the frame once. He is very likely to be on the favourite this time around and that needs to be borne in mind.
Statistics also show that horses need to have run at least twice so far this season and no winner in the last twenty renewals has won with any headgear (cheekpieces, visor or tongue-tie).
Previous Winners of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Appreciate It – Willie Mullins
Comes here in the form of his life and put almost four lengths between himself and likely rival here in Ballyadam at Leopardstown last time and he won another Grade One hurdle prior to that.
Willie Mullins has an incredible record in this race and he justifiably heads the market. All of Appreciate Its’ wins have come with plenty of give in the ground and he may prove vulnerable on anything better.
Paul Townend has a wretched record in this race and no seven-year-old has won this race since Captain Cee Bee back in 2008. Prior to that Tourist Attraction won at the same age back in 1995.
Appreciate It is the class act though and must be the one to beat.
Metier- Harry Fry
Was a mediocre performer on the flat with his sole success coming at Gowran Park in August 2019 when trained by Andrew Slattery.
He Has subsequently had wind surgery and made a fantastic transition to hurdles winning three on the bounce so far including at tracks such as Newton Abbott, Ascot and Sandown for Harry Fry.
That’s as far as the positives go though. The form of those races has turned out to be nothing special though and the record of ex flat horses in this is appalling.
Only two wins from the last thirty-eight renewals have come from that sphere. History suggests that he will struggle and I would have to agree.
Ballyadam – Henry De Bromhead
Ballyadam did well to finish a lot closer to Appreciate It at Leopardstown last time than back in December. On that previous occasion he was thumped by sixteen lengths.
Ballyadam looked to have the world at his feet after winning a Grade One at Fairyhouse back in October, but he has been exposed subsequently by the Mullins runner.
All of his wins have come on right-handed tracks such as Down Royal, Downpatrick and Fairyhouse so Cheltenham may not be to his liking and Punchestown would be more his bag.
Soaring Glory – Jonjo O’Neill
A genuinely consistent sort who scored the biggest success of his career so far when landing the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury just a matter of weeks ago.
Unfortunately for him, no horse from the last seven attempts in that race have gone on to win this, but that’s not a surprise given that it is a massive step up in grade.
Based on what we have seen; he has a lot to find with Metier and would need to take another significant step forward. Likely to give his true running but records suggest that won’t be anywhere near good enough.
Blue Lord – Willie Mullins
Blue Lord was no match for Appreciate It in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle and perhaps the return to two miles wasn’t to his liking. He looks as though he is crying out for middle distances and the Ballymore Novices’ would be a more obvious target.
Unless he was wildly running below par in the last race, this looks as though it will happen all too soon for him and Appreciate It would be the stable number one.
This race looks as though it will cut up quite badly, but it would need to in order to see him make the first three.
Third Time Lucki – Dan Skelton
The wheels came off in no uncertain terms when beaten by Bareback Jack in a novice hurdle at Musselburgh last time.
He has been to Cheltenham twice before and failed to win so he would really need to live up to his name in order to take this here.
He gives the impression that he has been to the well one too many times this year and he has now been thoroughly found out. I couldn’t have him on my mind.
Gowel Road – Nigel Twiston-Davies
Gowel Road could turn up here for his locally-based yard. He has improved as the season has progressed and took a decent scalp in Good Ball when winning at Newbury a few weeks ago.
The yard took this prize with Arctic Kinsman all the way back in 1994 but if the ground continued to dry out, I wouldn’t rule out a big run from this son of Flemensfirth.
He wouldn’t have too much to find with the vast majority of those ahead of him in the betting and as this is his only target at the festival, he has to be worthy of each-way consideration.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Supreme Novices Hurdle Tips
Appreciate It has the beating of a few of these, most notably Ballyadam and Thedevilscoachman.
With the trainer in excellent form, it would come as no surprise if the seven-year-old were to become the oldest horse since Captain Cee Bee to win this race.
Metier is unbeaten and would be a danger but the yard has question marks hanging over it with their runners at present.
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 5/6 Appreciate It
- 11/2 Metier
- 6/1 Ballyadam
- 10/1 Blue Lord
- 11/1 Soaring Glory
- 22/1 Grumpy Charley
- 33/1 Irascible
- 50/1 For Pleasure