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Guide to the
Cheltenham Festival

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Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2019 Racecard

The Supreme Novices' Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race which takes place each year during the Cheltenham Festival in March. Open to horses aged four years or older who are novices (meaning they hadn’t won a race over hurdles prior to that season), the Supreme Novices' Hurdle is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about two miles and half a furlong (2 miles and 87 yards), with eight hurdles to be jumped.

1:30

Tuesday 12 March

Distance: 16f 87y Age: 4yo + Prize: £125000 Going: Soft

FORM SILKS HORSE AGE ODDS
ENTRY JOCKEY & TRAINER WGT
jockey silks AL DANCER (FR)
55 stars
6 11-7
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1 J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Made it 4 from 4 over jumps under this rider with an impressive display in the Betfair Hurdle at Ascot. Won handicap here in fine style before that and good chance he has more to offer. Big shout.
jockey silks ANGELS BREATH (IRE)
44 stars
5 11-7
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2 J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Point winner who pulled clear in Ascot Grade 2 on debut under Rules and enhanced his reputation in defeat when second in the Dovecote last month, the sharper test not ideal. More to come from him.
jockey silks ARAMON (GER)
33 stars
6 11-7
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3 J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Has won 3 times for this yard, including a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas by 10 lengths. Thwarted by stablemate Klassical Dream in Grade 1 there last time and needs to reverse that form now.
jockey silks BEAUFORT WEST (IRE)
11 stars
5 11-7
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4 J: Robbie Power
T: Colin Tizzard
Maiden hurdler back on track when second at Sandown last month but firmly up against it here.
jockey silks BRANDON CASTLE
33 stars
7 11-7
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5 J: Bryony Frost
T: Neil King
Useful Flat performer who has won his first 3 starts over hurdles at Plumpton (2m) from the front under Bryony Frost, readily so on handicap debut a fortnight ago. Place claims at a huge price.
jockey silks ELIXIR DE NUTZ (FR) 5 11-7
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6 J: Tom O'Brien
T: Colin Tizzard
NON RUNNER.
jockey silks FELIX DESJY (FR)
33 stars
6 11-7
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7 J: Sean Flanagan
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
Sixth in the Champion Bumper last year and has made up into a useful hurdler, making all dropped back to 2m in Punchestown Grade 2 8 weeks ago. More improvement needed to figure in this, though.
jockey silks GRAND SANCY (FR)
33 stars
5 11-7
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8 J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Won 3 times in the autumn and, having been thwarted by Elixir de Nutz at Sandown, improved again when taking the Kingwell at Wincanton last month. Has plenty of the right qualities to go well in this.
jockey silks ITCHY FEET (FR)
33 stars
5 11-7
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9 J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Olly Murphy
Impressive bumper winner on return then won first 2 starts over hurdles (beat Grand Sancy at Kempton). Good second to Elixir de Nutz (in receipt of 5 lb) over C&D when last seen and place claims.
jockey silks KLASSICAL DREAM (FR)
44 stars
5 11-7
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10 J: R. Walsh
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Has won both his starts over 2m at Leopardstown for Willie Mullins, following up maiden victory with a game display to beat stablemate Aramon in Grade 1 last month. Will go on improving.
jockey silks MISTER FISHER (IRE)
33 stars
5 11-7
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11 J: James Bowen
T: Nicky Henderson
Form of his Boxing Day win at Kempton worked out and he followed up himself in a Grade 2 at Haydock, again travelling well. No surprise if he had more to offer. De Boinville has chosen Angels Breath.
jockey silks NORMAL NORMAN
11 stars
5 11-7
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12 J: Paddy Brennan
T: John Ryan
Gained a second win over hurdles in handicap at Musselburgh on New Year's Day. Held in third behind Angels Breath in the Dovecote next time though and up against it here.
jockey silks THE BIG BITE (IRE)
33 stars
6 11-7
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13 J: Noel Fehily
T: Tom George
Dual hurdles winner not seen to best effect behind Mister Fisher at Kempton and could have a bigger effort in him for last year's successful yard and rider.
jockey silks THE FLYING SOFA (FR)
22 stars
6 11-7
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14 J: Jamie Moore
T: Gary Moore
Useful bumper winner who has shown plenty in 3 defeats in novice/maiden hurdles this year but unlikely to be good enough to be involved in this at the business end.
jockey silks THOMAS DARBY (IRE)
33 stars
6 11-7
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15 J: Richard Johnson
T: Olly Murphy
Successful hurdles debut here in October from Elixir de Nutz and has improved, chasing home Mister Fisher at Kempton before returning to winning ways at Taunton. Could have even more to offer.
jockey silks TOKAY DOKEY (IRE)
22 stars
5 11-7
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16 J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Won his first 3 starts (2 novice hurdles at Uttoxeter) before falling early after 3 months off in the Dovecote. Should have more to offer but a massive step up required to get competitive in this.
jockey silks VISION D'HONNEUR (FR)
33 stars
5 11-7
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17 J: J. W. Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
French recruit who won 2m Punchestown maiden in January and improved plenty when chasing home Klassical Dream and Aramon in Leopardstown Grade 1 latest. Tongue tie now on and could progress again.
jockey silks FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES (FR)
44 stars
4 10-13
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18 J: J. J. Slevin
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
Exciting prospect who is 2-2 since joining Joseph O'Brien, following up Cork victory with impressive display in Grade 2 here over a bit further. Major player in receipt of 8 lb allowance.

Analyst's Verdict

AL DANCER was most impressive when taking apart a good field at Ascot and can retain his unbeaten record over hurdles with another big win, the prospect of a well-run race sure to see him in the best light. Juvenile Fakir d’Oudairies looks a key player, as does the exciting, well-backed Angels Breath, the choice of Nico de Boinville over stablemate Mister Fisher.

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The Supreme Novices' Hurdle is the first event on the opening day of the Festival, and its start is traditionally greeted by the ‘Cheltenham Roar’, a loud cheer from the crowd as the runners are sent on their way by the race starter.

First run in 1946, the race was known as the Gloucestershire Hurdle until 1974 and used to be split into more than one division due to the number of horses trying to win the race. As a result, the great Vincent O’Brien was able to record 10 victories in the race in an eight-year period during the 1950s.

Past Supreme Novices' Hurdle winners have usually ended up as top hurdlers, including Bula (1970) and Golden Cygnet (1978), while the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner L’Escargot (1968) also won the race.

The best Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winners since the turn of the century include the 2004 victor Brave Inca , who went on to win the Champion Hurdle two years later. Captain Cee Bee beat the fellow J.P. McManus-owned Binocular in a thrilling finish, while future Champion Chase hero Sprinter Sacre was only third to Al Ferof in 2011.

Sprinter Sacre was trained by Nicky Henderson , and the Lambourn trainer saddled the first and third in 2016 with Altior and Buveur d’Air split by the Willie Mullins ace Min.

Labaik won the following year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, with Summerville Boy getting the better of Kalashnikov in the 2018 renewal.

In terms of Timeform ratings, the best Supreme Novices’ Hurdle performances have been produced by Irish horses. Champagne Fever produced the best winning performance this century until the emphatic 2015 success of his stablemate Douvan .

The most successful Supreme Novices' Hurdle trainer in recent times is Willie Mullins, who has won it five times, with: Tourist Attraction (1995), Ebaziyan (2007), Champagne Fever (2013), Vautour (2014), Douvan (2015).

The most successful Supreme Novices' Hurdle jockey in recent times is Ruby Walsh, who has won it five times, with: Noland (2006), Al Ferof (2011), Champagne Fever (2013), Vautour (2014), Douvan (2015).

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Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2019 FAQs

What is the distance of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

2 miles and 87 yards

How many fences are jumped in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

8

What day of the festival is the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

Day 1

What time is the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

13:30

What weights are carried for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

10 st 13 lb (4-year-olds). 11 st 7 lb (5-year-olds +). 7 lb allowance for fillies and mares.

What is the purse for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

£125,000 (2018)

Who is the leading jockey in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle*?

Ruby Walsh

Who is the leading trainer in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle*?

Willie Mullins

Who won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

You can check out our Supreme Novices' Hurdle results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?

Click the link to visit our Supreme Novices' Hurdle Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1972

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    Non-Runner-No-Bet offer applies to Grand National 2019. Applies to bets placed from 10am on March 22nd: If you placed your bet after we went 'non-runner no bet' you will receive your money back as soon as your non runner is declared. If you have placed an Accumulator and your bet is not Ante Post, the line related to the non runner will be void but the rest of the lines on the Accumulator will still stand.

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    Applies to bets placed from 08:00 on Monday 18th February 2019. Applies to the 2019 Grand National Steeple Chase. Bets placed using free bet funds do not apply. Tote bets do not apply.

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NEXT RACE SMART STATS

3 J. S. Bolger's number of winners in past 9 runnings. (saddles FEMINISTA)

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