Supreme Novice Hurdle Guide

1. AL DANCER

Trainer – Nigel Twiston Davies

Jockey – Sam Twiston Davies

Current favourite - four from four over hurdles this season, including dominant display in the rearranged Grade Three Betfair Hurdle at Ascot last time out.

Solid performances in bumpers; most notably at Aintree last term.

Has fine form at Cheltenham earlier this season in a handicap, but must settle in a first time Grade One.

Major player.

2. ANGELS BREATH

T- Nicky Henderson

J – Nico De Boinville

Very lightly raced 5yo, who got a useful run into his legs when running second best to Southfield Stone in the Dovecote at Kempton.

Had been the favourite for this contest before then, despite having only jumped four hurdles in public.

Speed a certainty, a point winner from the past, and very highly thought of from the yard.

3. ARAMON

T – Willie Mullins

J –

Six races this term for Ireland’s Champion Trainer; three wins including the Grade One Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Last seen finishing a head down on stablemate Klassical Dream in the Grade One Channelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the same venue – who could be Ballymore bound.

Could be left at the yard’s first string in this and definitely one for the shortlist.

4. BEAUFORT WEST

T – Colin Tizzard

J –

Yet to get his head in front in four starts over timber.

Showed some promise on hurdles debut when 50/1 fourth behind Bright Forecast at Newbury earlier in the campaign.

Faces a massive step-up in class here, and surely a tough ask.

5. BENNY’S BRIDGE

T – Fergal O’Brien

J –

Smart success last time at the Festival venue in January, which came in a Class Two Handicap under Paddy Brennan.

That broke his hurdles maiden at the fourth attempt, but is another facing a stiff climb up the weight, and will look to outrun his current mark.

6. BRANDON CASTLE

T – Neil King

J –

Hat-trick of successes - all at Plumpton, since making the transition to the status of a National Hunt horse.

Useful horse on the flat in his earlier days for Archie Watson, and given new life over hurdles.

Looks progressive, but will need to prove he can do it away from East Sussex.

Possible each-way shouts.

8. ELIXIR DU NUTZ

T – Colin Tizzard

J –

Progressed from ‘novicey’ errors earlier in the season to land a hat-trick of wins last time out in the Tolworth at Sandown.

That makes for good reading, seeing as last year’s one and two from that contest in Esher.

Won at Cheltenham over the course and distance twice back in November and October, which included a trial for this race.

Grade One form should be well respected.

9. FELIX DESJY

T – Gordon Elliott

J –

Hard to establish any real consistency this season, having finishing sixth in last year’s Champion Bumper here.

Won on hurdles bow at Galway, but failed to win in next three starts.

Wants a bit of cut in the ground which we will most likely get, but others may be preferred on profiles here.

10. GRAND SANCY

T – Paul Nicholls

J – Harry Cobden

Useful novice hurdler, who ran as a juvenile last term.

Won three of his first four starts this campaign, before running a career-best fourth in Grade Three company at Ascot in the Betfair Exchange Trophy.

Gone from strength to strength since then, with a ½ length second in the G1 Tolworth, before returning to the winners enclosure in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton latest.

Worthy contender.

11. ITCHY FEET

T – Olly Murphy

J – Gavin Sheehan

Arrives here fresh after a three-month break.

Three runs over hurdles – two wins after prevailing in a bumper at Stratford in September: two hurdles victories coming in as many weeks at Southwell and Kempton in October.

Second to Elixir Du Nutx here at Cheltenham, and has been waited with since.

Each way suspect.

12. KLASSICAL DREAM

T – Willie Mullins

J –

Options for both the Supreme and the Ballymore, and a likely player in either for trainer Willie Mullins.

Fairly substandard form in France has been converted into one of Ireland’s top novices heading to Cheltenham.

Two wins for the yard – most recently in the Grade One Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle.

Big danger.

14. MISTER FISHER

T – Nicky Henderson

J –

Form looks strong from his win in the opening novice hurdle race at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Followed up that up with an effortless, but stylish display in the Grade Two Supreme Trial at Haydock.

Now must take things up a notch, and a concern that Nico has sided with Angels Breath instead.

15. NORMAN NORMAN

T – John Ryan

J -

Couple of wins in bumpers suggested this chestnut had a bright future.

Has not really escalated that way, having finished a mile off the front two in the Dovecote last time out.

Couple of nice wins at Musselburgh and Market Rasen earlier in the season, but looks more of a handicapper than graded runner.

18. THE BIG BITE

T – Tom George

J – Noel Fehily

Very disappointing when being defeated by Mister Fisher over Christmas, having been well fancied before the off.

Out of the places in last year’s Bumper final, he won by a combination of twenty-four lengths in two outings at Chepstow and Haydock at the end of 2018.

Had a break since, there could be something in him to cause an upset.

Will look to start a new chapter.

19. THE FLYING SOFA

T – Gary Moore

J –

Well adrift of Triumph hopeful Pentland Hills in a maiden when last seen at Plumpton, and surely is well of his depth here.

Also finished second best to Acey Milan the start before at the same venue, and if you are struggling to win simple Class Four’s, a Grade One will surely be a step too far.

Big outsider.

20. THOMAS DARBY

T – Olly Murphy

J – Richard Johnson

Got his respective career back on track when dropping in class last time out at Taunton.

Began the season off to a flyer when succeeding at the Festival venue, before being pipped by Didtheyleaveuoutto by a narrow margin at Ascot.

Never a player at Kempton behind Mister Fisher, but soon returned to winning ways as said back in January in Somerset.

Must rediscover his best touch.

21. TOKAY DOKEY

T – Dan Skelton

J –

A four-timer was ruled out when falling in the Dovecote not too long ago in Sunbury.

Will never know how far his ability would have taken him in a first-time graded race, so left to guesswork in this fascinating contest.

Two wins at Uttoxeter followed his debut win at Market Rasen in a bumper last May, and may be entitled to a squeak.

22. VISION D’HONNEUR

T – Gordon Elliott

J –

Purchased from France having won on his one and only start in France for Robert Collet.

Began with a good fourth in Ireland at Leopardstown, before landing his maiden at Punchestown in January.

Decent and creditable third in a Grade One last time out at the same track, but with lengths to find on both Klassical Dream and Aramon.

Chances.

25. FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES

T – Joseph O’Brien

J –

With Sir Erec asserting dominance in the Triumph for this trainer and owner, Fakir D’oudairies could be switched to the Supreme, where he would have obvious chances.

He tore the field apart in a Triumph trial on Trials Day at Prestbury Park back in January over a furlong extra than what is required here.

Outstanding acquisition to the yard, and will highly benefit from the 4yo weight allowance coming his way.

Will seek to become the first winner of his age of this century.

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