2021 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Guide

Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
1
Paul Townend

Appreciate It

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 153

The long time market leader, a two time Grade One winner over timber and the main representative for Willie Mullins looks to have strong claims in the festival opener. 

Second in last year’s Champion Bumper to stablemate Ferny Hollow, this seven year old has had a perfect career since switching to hurdles. 

Handily winning his maiden, he was swiftly moved onto graded company and duly obliged by winning the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. Travelling strongly throughout, he established his lead bypassing the last and skipped clear on the run-in to victory. 

He’s since backed up over the same course and distance at the Dublin Racing Festival, fending off the challenge of Ballyadam to take Grade One honours again. 

Representing a stable that have farmed this race in recent years, he sets the clear standard for the rest of the field. 
Although winning over two miles on all hurdle starts, he’s won on deep ground each time and could be susceptible to a speedy finisher. 

The one to beat. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/23LEO17Y11-123
08/01/23NAA16Sft11-81
19/12/22PUN16Sft11-121
15/03/22CHL16.5GS11-107
16/03/21CHL16.5Sft11-71
Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
7
Sean Bowen

Metier

J:
 
Sean Bowen
T:
 
Harry Fry
Age: 5
Weight: 11-7
OR: 148

A five year old flat recruit for Harry Fry, Metier notched up a respectable rating of 90 on the level for Andrew Slattery. Since the switch of yards and codes he’s found a new lease of life. 

A convincing winner on his hurdles debut, he handily dispatched an average field comfortably. It wasn’t long before he was sent to Ascot for a Class 2 novice hurdle, again he handily brushed aside competition. 

We last saw Metier in the Grade One Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown at the start of the year. He was niggled along three out to get next to Shakem Up’arry but soon picked up the bridle again in a very visually impressive performance. He powered up Sandown’s stiff finish to a strong 12 length victory. 

As impressive as the win was to the eye, the form hasn’t worked out particularly well. He could only beat what was in front of him but it could be misleading to how good he truly is. 

He handles deep ground well and clearly has bags of stamina. If the rain falls over Cheltenham this month he’s in with a chance, but looks like he could be tapped for toe. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/12/22KEM16Sft11-10PU
05/11/22DON12Hy8-101
05/03/22KEL16Sft11-57
21/01/22LIN16Hy11-101
18/12/21ASC15.5GS10-124
Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
2
Jack Kennedy

Ballyadam

J:
 
Jack Kennedy
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 148
Days: -25

Highly touted last year for team Elliott, the Ballyadam bubble looked immediately burst when he was beaten on bumper debut at short odds. 

When given better ground to show his speed on, he obliged at the second time of asking under rules and won by 18 lengths. 

Put away for the rest of the season, he came back in late October to make a solid winning hurdle debut. Connections wasted no time and he was quickly dropped into the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse where he notched Grade One honours. 

Subsequently he’s floundered and seemed to have lost his way. Beaten out of sight at Leopardstown’s Christmas festival by Appreciate It, he did however get much closer when the two faced last time out. 

He tried to challenge Appreciate It turning for home but saw his rival's superior stamina cut through the deep ground better than himself. 

He’s certainly one who looks better on a sounder surface and has a devastating turn of foot. 

One of the recent movers in Cheveley Park’s reshuffling. This will be his first run under Henry De Bromhead. 

If the ground is on the better side of soft, he has enough pace to be involved in the finish. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/07/22GAL16Gd11-1214
18/03/22CHL17GS11-45
06/02/22LEO16Y/Sft11-1220
11/12/21CHL17GS11-35
07/11/21NAV17Gd12-02
Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
8
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Soaring Glory

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Jonjo O'Neill
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 143

A big recent mover in the markets, the Jonjo O’Neill trained six year old shortened markedly in price for the Supreme off the back of an impressive win in the Betfair Hurdle. 

Off a mark of 133, he made a mockery of the handicapper to pull clear of Fifty Ball by three lengths back in second.

A really sharp turn of foot saw him pull clear in the last half furlong. Not lacking pace, he jumped well and cruised into contention despite being a novice in open company. 

Prior to this his form has been up and down in novice company. Beating Bravemansgame over two miles on hurdle debut looks smart form, but beaten by Dusart on his next start, falling at Wetherby and beaten at Ascot by My Drogo somewhat tarnish his credentials. 

The handicapper certainly had him wrong off a mark of 133, but the Betfair Hurdle has been won by Novices’ recently who’ve then struggled in the Supreme. Al Dancer most recently. 

Although impressive in the Betfair he’s shown he’s struggled against other novices in condition races. It’d also be a concern that he struggles on ground soft or worse. 

Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
3
Daryl Jacob

Blue Lord

J:
 
Daryl Jacob
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 145
Days: -42

A representative of the double green of Souede and Munir, Blue Lord resides at Closutton with Willie Mullins. A recruit from French hurdling, he made his Irish debut in November at Punchestown beating Julies Stowaway. 

The gelding secured his maiden victory with a strong aptitude and seemingly a large engine. He was swiftly moved into graded company on his next outing in the Lawlor’s Of Naas hurdle and bumped into Ballymore hopeful Bob Olinger. 

Although a respectable second place, Bob Olinger appeared to be a cut above, especially at 2.5 miles. We last saw Blue Lord at the Dublin Racing Festival’s Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle where he was an eye-catching 3rd behind Appreciate It and Ballyadam. 

Seemingly tapped for speed, he kept on smartly behind the front two and hinted that a stiffer course or a return to a longer trip could be more to his liking. 

Another who looks like he’s held behind Appreciate It, the hill at Cheltenham might actually bring out the best of him. An end to end two miles will suit and he could just be running into a place late on. Not without hope, but unlikely to win. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
05/02/23LEO17Y11-122
27/12/22LEO17Y11-121
17/11/22CLO20.5Sft/Hy11-81
28/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-121
15/03/22CHL16GS11-43
Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
6
Rachael Blackmore

Irascible

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 143

A Henry De Bromhead inmate owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Irascible was a shock winner on hurdle debut. 
The 6 year old got the better of stablemate Decimation much to the surprise of bookmakers and connections. 

Clearly pleased with his debut victory, he was next run in the Grade One novice hurdle at Leapardstown’s Christmas festival. Another runner here who’s seemingly held on the form behind Appreciate It.

He ran creditably at Christmas to finish second behind the Supreme market leader however. 

He tried his luck again against Appreciate It at Leopardstown in the Chanelle Pharma but was beaten the exact same distance of nine lengths, this time coming fifth. 

Another runner who’s acquitted himself well but is looking held by Ireland’s leading hope Appreciate It. 

Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
5
Bryan Carver

Grumpy Charley

J:
 
Bryan Carver
T:
 
Chris Honour
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 143

Chris Honour trained, Grumpy Charlie has impressively won his last three races on the spin. 

Becoming somewhat of a course specialist around Chepstow, Bryan Carver has guided the gelding to all three wins in Wales. 

He’s a huge price to be involved in this. Winning two novice races and a handicap would put him firmly off the pace to be near those at the head of the market. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
14/01/23WAR29.5Hy11-4PU
31/12/22NBY26Sft12-01
09/11/22BAN24Hy11-5PU
09/04/22AIN25GS10-117
15/03/22CHL25GS10-1PU
Cheltenham - March 16 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
4
Harry Bannister

For Pleasure

J:
 
Harry Bannister
T:
 
Alex Hales
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 144
Days: -24

This six year old from Alex Hales’ yard is a third season novice. Struggling in juvenile hurdles as a four year old he had a lengthy break from the track. 

Coming back to hurdles after a few spins on the flat he shaped better as a jumper and finally shed his maiden in handicap company during the summer. 

He followed up in another low grade handicap before winning a novice hurdle under his double penalty. 

Beaten in a listed event when favourite, For Pleasure bounced back to form when running a stormer over course and distance to win a Grade Two supreme trial back in November. 

Only seen once since then, he ran in the Betfair Hurdle off a lofty mark of 145 he was well beaten back into 14th. 
Exposed to the handicapper after a graded win he will certainly enjoy more success now back into conditions races.

He might not win this but is probably overpriced on what he has achieved this season. 

A head strong front runner he’ll try bag the lead early and stay there pillar to post. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/12/22KEM16Sft11-510
19/11/22ASC19.5Gd11-04
16/10/22KEM16Gd11-24
26/09/22NAB16.5Gd12-13
09/04/22AIN16GS11-44