A Look Ahead To The Supreme Novices Hurdle - 50 Days To Go

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A LOOK AHEAD TO THE SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE - 50 DAYS TO GO

The Supreme Novice's Hurdle. The curtain raiser at every Cheltenham Festival, usually met with the iconic roar from the packed grandstands at Prestbury Park, gets the best week of sport in the calendar underway.

In past years, we have seen some true greats use this race as a stepping stone to move onto greater things, and this year several hopefuls will simply hope to follow to trend.

The ante-post field is currently headed by Nicky Henderson's Angels Breath at 5/1, who certainly took everyone's breath away on his British and Stable debut at Ascot at the end of last year. However, with fourteen other horses shorter than odds of 14/1, it looks to be one of the widest open supremes in the 21st Century.

Starting with Ireland, Ireland's Champion Trainer Willie Mullins has a particularly good connection with punters after his domination in this contest in past renewals, and he sadly will not be represented by Quick Grabim, after injury ruled him out of the Festival.

However, he has his usual band of hopefuls headed by Aramon, who was third to Quick Grabim in the Royal Bond, before winning his own Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Mullins also has the unknown quantity of Annamix, who was a French import from Rich Ricci, finishing second on his first start on a racecourse in over two years and could be anything.

The reliability amongst the Irish runners certainly lies with Gordon Elliott, who has the unbeaten Battleoverdoyen - second to Angels Breath in the market, although he is expected to step-up in trip for the Ballymore.

Vision D'honneur was an impressive winner at Punchestown last week, which has seen in project himself into contention, alongside Felix Desjy, who also landed the Moscow Flyer on the same day.

So it appears the Brits have most of the leading candidates, and Angels Breath's owners at Walters Plant Hire, also can count upon Al Dancer, who is three from three over timber for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

You cannot ignore Mister Fisher however - also for Nicky Henderson, after his solid display at Kempton on Boxing Day was followed up by his win in the trial for this race at Haydock last weekend; fending off Ben Pauling's Bright Forecast, who is also amongst the headline contenders.

Champagne Platinum - another for the Champion Trainer, is unbeaten over hurdles in two attempts.

Last year's winner Summerville Boy backed up the form from the Tolworth Hurdle earlier in that season at Sandown. This year's edition - held only two weeks ago, was won by Colin Tizzard's Elixir De Nutz, who also has two career wins at Prestbury Park to his name, and therefore cannot be discounted from recent trends.

Tizzard also has French recruit Eldorado Allen, who won impressively on his British debut back in November, before unfortunately unseating his rider at Aintree on Becher Chase day.

Paul Nicholls has Getaway Trump, who looks a leading light for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month - a race won by last year's Supreme runner-up Kalashnikov, and can surely boost his claims for the Supreme with a solid run there.

Thomas Darby got his claims back on track with a win a Taunton on Saturday, a feat hoped to be matched by The Big Bite and Didtheyleaveuoutto, who disappointed over Christmas in the same race.

There are so many contenders for this fascinating encounter, which always provides so much joy and pleasure whether you are a winning punter or not. Perhaps we may have not have even named the winner, and we may not even know the winner yet!

Ireland may be up to their old tricks with the Leopardstown Festival approaching, and we may see a late surge from a Novice we currently know nothing about.

Angels Breath though is the current 5/1 favourite, with Battleoverdoyen priced second favourite at 8/1, matched by Mister Fisher.

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