This is my preview of the Supreme Novices Hurdle in current betting order. I use the same conversion on speed figures/ sectionals as the great Nick Mordin and they are as follows. 36 = Listed, 37-38 = Grade Three, 39-40 = Grade Two and 41 plus = Grade One. I will use the latest Paddy Power prices.

MIN : Raced twice in France over two and a quarter miles and despite what some pundits would have you believe, he did show plenty of promise there, especially first time out in a Listed hurdle event at Auteuil back in September of 2014 where he finished a very respectable fourth, beaten fifteen lengths. The winner has not really gone on over hurdles but is still rated the British equivalent of 149, the second is rated 144 while the third, Mr Mix, recently bolted up at Taunton in a novice hurdle for Paul Nicholls and while having a few wayward tendencies that animal could be very smart indeed. Mr Mix did finish six lengths ahead of Min that day but appeals more as a staying hurdler or chaser and is a completely different build to Willie Mullins charge. Min’s next start at was also at Auteuil two months later where he finished a close third beaten six and three quarter lengths and in the process earning the equivalent British handicap mark of 134. The reason I use British ratings is that the British assessor pays no attention to our handicapper Noel O’Brien and it is about time he returned the favour but I will continue to do the lotto in the hope of winning that too!!! Willie did his usual thing as with all new recruits by allowing Min loads of time to fill his frame and acclimate to his new surroundings and he has delivered with devastating effect in his two Irish starts thus far. He has run very quick sectional times on my scale, 38 and 39 and that is really boogieing. The form of both runs has worked out which backs up the ratings I have given him as some of his nearest pursuers in those events, Gurteen and Ball D’Arc, have both been very impressive victors subsequently. Min is the one to beat. Current price 13/8.

ALTIOR : Unbeaten over hurdles in four starts and five from seven lifetime. He has run some big numbers, 34, 34, 32, 37, 35, 36 and 38. You will note his first three runs were in bumpers. This very smart animal is by a sire I simply cannot warm to but the one thing about High Chapparal’s is that they are at their best when fresh. It is highly significant in my opinion that the biggest speed figures Altior has run over timber is when he has been freshest. I believe that is no coincidence. Henderson is toying with the idea of giving his charge another run before the festival and I cannot understand why. Every chance here. Current price 6/1.

YORKHILL : Unbeaten under rules and would have been in two points only for taking the wrong course when clear on his debut. In essence this horse has the perfect record and one golden rule of punting is to rarely if ever take one on that has yet to taste defeat until the inevitable happens. His speed figures excluding the points are 32 and 38 in bumpers, 34 and 38 over hurdles. His last success was in the stamina sapping Tolworth which is a Grade One contest. There is no doubt that this horse will be much more effective over further and would look exceptional in the Neptune hurdle but has excellent chance here too. Current price 7/1.

BUVEUR DAIR : Dual bumper winner in France at around one and a half miles and twice beaten by Barter’s Hill in same discipline on first starts in Britain. Has returned this term in excellent fettle by bolting up in two hurdles displaying serious ability while posting numbers of 36 both times. Those figures are probably not representative of his true ability as he was not pushed out in any way shape or form. He will have many supporters come the big day. Current price 8/1.

YANWORTH : Will not run.

TOMBSTONE : Unbeaten in two bumpers and one from three over hurdles. That is not really telling the story as many felt he was unlucky in a Grade One last time. His numbers are 32, 34, 34, 36, 36.  The figures for Tombstone may seem a bit on the low side but he can certainly do better and maybe over further. Still, many will fancy him to serve it up to some of the better fancied ones here. Current price 12/1.

SUPASUNDAE : Bolted up in first two bumper starts for two different trainers, Tim Fitzgerald and Andrew Balding [beat Yanworth] before transferring yet again, this time to de Bromhead from where he was sent to contest the Festival bumper and although finishing close up was essentially disappointing and also when bombing out in the Punchestown equivalent. Made a pleasing return over hurdles before winning well over Christmas at Leopardstown. Best number is 35. Has it all to do in my book. Current price 20/1.

SILVER CONCORDE : Former Cheltenham bumper winner and while fairly smart is still a maiden over hurdles and is now overlooked. Current price 25/1.

MODUS : Smart bumper performer who has run in the Champion decider twice and finished second to Moon Racer last year. Had started hurdles career well before a disappointing effort last time when stable were not firing. One of the favourites for the upcoming Betfair hurdle. Best figure ran 35. Plenty to find to take this. Current price 25/1.

MOON RACER : Absent since winning the Champion bumper last year in good style and I have to admit I got that one wrong. He is unbeaten now in three bumpers. The Cheltenham bumper form has worked out very well but then it always does every year so maybe some people are going overboard about it. The initial thought was that he would miss this race but recent soundings say it is now fifty fifty. Either way he faces a huge task if he does make it as it would be his first ever hurdles start. Bumper numbers 36,38,38. Current price 25/1.

DISKO : Unlikely runner.

BELLSHILL : Would be a big danger to all but almost certain to go for the Neptune.

Some more entries that will be fancied if they turn up would include Coney Island, Don’t Touch It, Sternrubin, O O Seven amongst others but I feel the winner will have come from the main one’s discussed in detail above.

Summary : MIN looks the outstanding candidate on the basis of speed figures and suitability to this trip. Some will worry about his keen going tendencies and the possibility that he might boil over beforehand but that can happen any horse. He is trained by an absolute genius who is sure to have him spot on for the big day. The better ground will also make a big difference to this angular sort so all things considered has to be the selection. The big danger is his stablemate Yorkhill who is unbeaten in all completed starts and is a Grade One winner over hurdles and if for any reason Min is not on his game then this fellow will take advantage. Buveur could be the best of the Henderson candidates as he is totally unexposed over hurdles and could still be anything.

Advice : 4 points win Min and a saver of 1 pt win on YORKHILL at the current prices.






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