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The Supreme Novices' Hurdle is one of the season's most popular races and punters will be trying to get off to a winning start in this year's sensational contest.

The race is traditionally very competitive, with just three winning favourites since 2004, including last season when Douvan won at a short price for Willie Mullins. He was just the fourth single priced winner of the race since Brave Inca won in 2004 which does highlight the value that can be found in the market.
The latest odds ahead of the Grade One feature highlight what a fantastic race it has become and the Supreme Novices' Hurdle roll of honour is mightily impressive.

The Grade One has become famous for the Cheltenham roar which accompanies the start of the contest and our Supreme Novices' Hurdle expert tipsters will be hoping to pick out the winner of the scintillating showpiece.

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The Cheltenham Festival can often turn into a slog for punters and it’s vital to study the form in depth ahead of the meeting’s opener.  We’ll be looking to get off to a flyer on day one and our tipsters will be working overtime to make sure that the our Supreme Novices’ Hurdle tips are profitable.

A look at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle results shows that the winner is often lurking at the forefront of the ante post betting and the trends would suggest that it might not be too hard finding a winner in the race.

Will the Irish continue their dominance in the race and give the travelling fans a winning start at Prestbury Park?  Can Willie Mullins unearth another future star and take the race for a third consecutive time? Or will the likes of Paul Nicholls, David Pipe and Nicky Henderson regain the winning thread and capture one of the sport’s most famous races?

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Expert Supreme Novices Tips & Selections

TipsterSelectionRationaleTip
Ruby WalshMelon 3/1 ORhis homework and schooling has been very good Read
Ruby WalshBunk off EarlyWon well at Leopardstown at Christmas and then found only Bacardys too good at the Dublin track in FebruaryRead
Barry GeraghtyBunk off EarlyHad a fantastic run last time.Read
Nina CarberryBunk off EarlyWorried about Melon's lack of experienceRead
Jonathan VineMelon 3/1His inactivity this season shouldn't put punters offRead
Tom SegalBallyandy 7/2Most likely winner over MelonRead

Supreme Novices' Hurdle - Where Cheltenham's stars are born

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1:30pm) is the traditional Festival curtain raiser. It is run over the Champion Hurdle course and distance of two miles and about half a furlong.

It is open to novices aged four years old and upwards, and in 2017 will take place on Tuesday, March 14.

The race is normally a cracking affair with a real mix of horses, some having run over hurdles the previous season, there are others who have previously run in the Champion Bumper, as well as ex-flat horses who've made the switch over. One thing's for sure, and that's that this race pits the future stars of jump racing against each other. Many runners in the Supreme Novices' go on to future Champion Hurdle glory.

Ruby Walsh celebrates on board Douvan in the Supreme.

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle remains one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the entire season and the contest is the tradition Festival curtain raiser.

The Supreme Novices' Hurdle always gets the Cheltenham Festival off to a bang as punters look to strike an early blow in their annual battle with bookmakers.  It is run over the Champion Hurdle course and distance of two miles and about half a furlong.

The race always attracts a large field and, therefore, experience of competing in similar conditions is often of paramount importance. As always, the ground is also crucial. If the going is on the quick side, then the flat bred runners often hold the key but there have been no shortage of future Gold Cup winners line up.

Best Mate was second to Sausalito Bay in 2000, Kicking King was second to Back In Front in 2003 and War Of Attrition was second to Brave Inca in 2004.

The race has also thrown up plenty of stars of the future; both Brave Inca and Hors La Loi III followed up victory here by triumphing in the Champion Hurdle, whilst Binocular was second to Captain Cee Bee in 2008 and won the 2010 Champion Hurdle.

Get ready for the 'Cheltenham Roar'

The famous showpiece was first contested in 1946 when it was called the Gloucestershire Hurdle and the early runnings of the race were dominated by legendary Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien.  He took the Grade One ten times in the 1950s and his dominance will always be remembered.

It became known as the Supreme Novices’ hurdle in 1978 and despite carrying a number of sponsors, it remains that way today.

It has become famous for being a fantastic ante post contest to concentrate on and the winners are normally relatively short in the betting, apart from shock winner Ebaziyan who powered home at odds of 40/1 in 2007.

Irish raiders continue to cross the Irish Sea and land the spoils in the race and they have been responsible for twelve of the last twenty-two winners in the race.  The key Irish trials, the Future Champion Novice, The Deloitte and The Royal Bond all have great significance when it comes to studying the form of the feature and the likes of Willie Mullins, Dermot Weld and Noel Meade will all use the Grade Ones to flaunt their stables’ considerable strength.

The greatest clue, however, often comes in the previous season’s Champion Bumper with three of the last Supreme winners all previously running in the Festival Grade One.

Willie Mullins currently dominates the latest odds for the 2015 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he will be seeking a hat-trick in the race after Champagne Fever and Vautour justified strong market support to land the last two runnings of the race.

The latter was sent off a 7/2 favourite and he produced one of the most impressive performances of the entire Festival, powering clear of his rivals to deliver a breathtaking victory under the hands of Ruby Walsh.

Cheltenham Festival fans will be looking for a similarly sensational display from the 2015 winner and the likely Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runners look set to form a vintage field.

Supreme Novices' Hurdle runners

The Supreme Novices' Hurdle is one of the jewels in the Cheltenham Festival crown and the race always attracts some of the biggest names in the sport.

Cheltenham can expect to welcome over 200,000 racegoers from all over the world at the Festival and it’s believed that more than £500 million will be gambled throughout the meeting.  It has rapidly become one of the most famous fixtures on the entire racing calendar and it all begins with the Grade One Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening Tuesday.

Champions Day is the name given to the first day of the Festival and it is a fitting title for a card that contains the Supreme.  Experts are already labelling this year’s reneal of the race as one of the most intriguing for some time and a vintage crop of horses look like they could battle it out at Prestbury Park.

The top stables are always heavily represented among the entries for the traditional curtain-raiser and which horse starts favourite normally depends on running plans.

Willie Mullins, who won the race for the fourth time and for the second consecutive season, when Vautour was successful last season, often takes over favouritism with his stable stars and he will have a formidable hand to play in the Grade One feature.  The strength and depth he has in his yard means that he will surely have more than one representative.

Paul Nicholls, who won the race with Noland in 2006 and Al Ferof in 2011 is sure to have leading claims, while Nicky Henderson is also likely to be represented by multiple entries in the contest.  Henderson currently has two wins in the race and, while the most recent of them was with Flown in 1992, he has saddled a number of high class horses since, including the likes of Spirit Son, Darlan and My Tent Or Yours.

The top National Hunt trainers, such as David Pipe, Noel Meade and Dermot Weld will all also have a keen eye on the contest and the two-mile race is sure to attract a big field.

The Supreme is always run at a fast and furious pace and there are often hard luck stories in running.  Ground conditions are vital when making your selection and the Irish horses often relish the test the race provides – something that is backed up by their fantastic record in the race.

The travelling Irish fans will be delighted that Mullins will be seeking a hat-trick in the race after Champagne Fever and Vautour justified strong market support to land the last two runnings of the race.

The latter was sent off a 7/2 favourite and he produced one of the most impressive performances of the entire Festival, powering clear of his rivals to deliver a breathtaking victory under the hands of Ruby Walsh.

Supreme Novices' Hurdle - The facts

1. The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was known as the Gloucestershire Hurdle until 1974. Capel Cure Sharp backed the contest in 2000 and the company, which became Gerrard Wealth Management, supported the race until 2003. Racecourse caterers Letheby & Christopher became the sixth sponsor since the initial backer Lloyds Bank in 1974 when supporting the event in 2004 and 2005, while Anglo Irish Bank was the sponsor from 2006 to 2008. Bookmaker William Hill sponsored the race in 2009 and in 2010 the backers were the Stewart Family, on behalf of the charity Spinal Research. Stan James took over the sponsorship in 2011.

2. The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the only race at The Festival to have been divided. From 1946-1971 when known as the Gloucestershire Novices’ Hurdle, it divided on no less than 25 occasions. In 1963 and 1946 there were even three divisions. 

3. The oldest horse to have won was 12-year-old Beau Caprice in 1966 (Div One). Three eight-year-olds have also been successful - Like-A-Butterfly in 2002, Sondrio in 1989 and Boys Hurrah in 1956 (Div One).

4. The 1993 winner, Montelado, holds a unique position in the history of The Festival at Cheltenham. He is the only horse to have won consecutive Festival races, landing the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 1992, the last race of that year’s meeting, and returning to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1993, the first race 12 months later.

5. The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has thrown up one winner of the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and three Champion Hurdle heroes. L'Escargot won in 1968, before consecutive Gold Cup triumphs in 1970 and 1971. Bula scored in 1970, before Champion Hurdle victories in 1971 and 1972, the 2002 Champion Hurdle winner Hors La Loi III took the race in 1999, and Brave Inca took the Champion Hurdle in 2006 having landed the novice event two years earlier.

6. The race has been won by Irish-trained raiders on no less than 38 occasions, and by the French once. Of the 16 divisions from 1952-59, Vincent O'Brien won an amazing 10. Ireland also kept a stranglehold on the race for seven years from 1977-83 and has won seven of the last 10 runnings, most recently with Go Native in 2009.

7. The smallest field was in 1950, with nine runners in Division 1, and the largest, 30 runners, for both Harry Hastings' win in 1985 and French Ballerina’s success in 1998. The maximum field allowed is now 24.

8. Since the race ceased to be divided, big-name jockeys have found the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle difficult to win. Tony McCoy, successful on Hors La Loi III in 1999, is the only one of the last four champion jockeys to have scored in this particular contest, and only Charlie Swan (1993 and 2002), Tommy Carmody (1980 and 1983) and Niall (Boots) Madden (1978 and 1981) have been successful twice.

9. The longest-priced winner was Arctic Kinsman at 50/1 in 1994, while the 2007 victor Ebaziyan is one of only two 40/1 shots to have scored. The shortest-priced winners at 4/9 were Tsaoko in 1950 and Flyingbolt in 1964. Favourites have been successful eight times in the 39 runnings since 1972, with three of the last 10 winning.

10. The fastest time for the winning horse was achieved by Montelado in 1993 at 3m 50.6s. French Ballerina came close to that record in 1998 when her time was 3m 50.9s.

Recent Winners

The race always attracts a large field and, therefore, experience of competing in similar conditions is often of paramount importance. As always, the ground is also crucial. If the going is on the quick side, then the flat bred runners often hold the key.

The race has thrown up stars of the future; both Brave Inca and Hors La Loi III followed up victory here by triumphing in the Champion Hurdle, whilst Binocular was second to Captain Cee Bee in 2008 and won the 2010 Champion Hurdle and Jezki was third in 2013 before winning the big one 12 months later.

The race has also had an impact on the Gold Cup: Best Mate was second to Sausalito Bay in 2000, Kicking King was second to Back In Front in 2003 and War Of Attrition was second to Brave Inca in 2004.

2017        Labaik
2016        Altior
2015        Douvan
2014        Vautour
2013 Champagne Fever
2012 Cinders And Ashes
2011 Al Ferof
2010 Menorah
2009 Go Native
2008 Captain Cee Bee
2007 Ebaziyan
2006 Noland
2005 Arcalis
2004 Brave Inca
2003 Back In Front
2002 Like-A-Butterfly
2000 Sausalito Bay
1999 Hors La Loi III
1998 French Ballerina
1997 Shadow Leader
1996 Indefence
1995 Tourist Attraction
1994 Arctic Kinsman
1993 Montelado
1992        Flown
1991 Destriero
1990 Forest Sun
1989 Sondrio
Roll of Honour (1946-1988)

Citroen Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1994-99,Trafalgar House Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1991-93, Waterford Crystal Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1978-90, Lloyds Bank Champion Novice Hurdle 1974-1977, Gloucestershire Hurdle before 1974)

Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer SP

1988 Vagador 5-11-08 Mark Perrett Guy Harwood 4/1F
1987 Tartan Tailor 6-11-08 Phil Tuck Gordon Richards 14/1
1986 River Ceiriog 5-11-07 Steve Smith Eccles Nicky Henderson 40/1
1985 Harry Hastings 6-11-08 Chris Grant John Wilson 14/1
1984 Browne’s Gazette 6-11-08 Mr Dermot Browne Michael Dickinson 11/2
1983 Buck House 5-11-08 Tommy Carmody Mouse Morris IRE 8/1
1982 Miller Hill 6-11-08 Tom Morgan Dessie Hughes IRE 20/1
1981 Hartstown 6-11-08 Niall Madden Mick O'Toole IRE 2/1F
1980 Slaney Idol 5-11-08 Tommy Carmody Liam Browne IRE 9/1
1979 Stranfield 6-11-08 Tommy Kinane Des McDonogh IRE 16/1
1978 Golden Cygnet 6-11-08 Mr Niall Madden Edward O'Grady IRE 4/5F
1977 Mac’s Chariot 6-11-08 Dessie Hughes Mick O’Toole IRE 7/1
1976 Beacon Light 5-11-08 Andy Turnell Bob Turnell 14/1
1975 Bannow Rambler6-11-08 Frank Berry Padge Berry IRE 9/2
1974 Avec Moi 5-11-06 Roger Rowell Auriol Sinclair 5/4F
1973 King Pele 4-10-10 David Nicholson Gavin Pritchard-Gordon 13/2
1972 Noble Life 5-11-06 Stan Murphy Christy Grassick IRE 16/1
1971(I) Persian Majesty 4-10-13 Terry Biddlecombe Ryan Price 13/2
1971 (II) Barnard 7-12-00 Johnnie Haine Fulke Walwyn 4/1
1970 (I) Ballywilliam Boy 5-12-00 Bobby Coonan Paddy Sleator IRE 4/1
1970 (II) Bula 5-12-00 Paul Kelleway Fred Winter 3/1F
1969 (I) Normandy 4-11-02 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell 10/1
1969 (II) Private Room 5-11-10 Willie Robinson Fulke Walwyn 10/1
1968 (I) King Cutler 5-12-00 Brian Fletcher Denys Smith 85/40
1968 (II) L’Escargot 5-12-04 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE 13/2
1967 (I) Chorus 6-11-12 Johnnie Haine Tom Jones 15/2
1967 (II) Early To Rise 7-11-12 Jeff King Bob Turnell 11/2
1966 (I) Beau Caprice 12-12-02 Tommy Jennings Fulke Walwyn 6/1
1966 (II) Fosco 5-11-06 David Moore Mick Goswell 7/2
1965 (I) Red Tears 5-11-06 Stan Mellor Tom Jones 7/1
1965 (II) Havago 6-12-04 Bobby Beasley Paddy Sleator IRE 11/8
1964 (I) Flyingbolt 5-12-02 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE 4/9F
1964 (II) Elan 5-12-02 Dave Dick John Sutcliffe 9/2
1963 (I) Honour Bound 5-11-10 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell 3/1F
1963 (II) Buona Notte 6-11-08 Johnnie Haine Bob Turnell 7/2
1963 (III) Deetease 5-12-02 Clive Chapman Basil Foster 9/1
1962 (I) Tripacer 4-10-12 Tommy Carberry Dan Moore IRE 20/1
1962 (II) Clerical Grey 4-11-02 Willie Robinson P Murphy IRE 100/8
1961 (I) Beau Normand 5-11-06 Bill Rees Bob Turnell 5/1
1961 (II) Greektown 5-12-02 Michael Scudamore Willie Stephenson 100/8
1960 (I) Blue Mountain 6-11-05 Dick Broadway George Todd 5/1
1960 (II) Bastille 5-10-13 Bill Woods Tom Masson 33/1
1959 (I) York Fair 5-11-10 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 4/5F
1959 (II) Albergo 5-11-06 Doug Page Clem Magnier IRE 9/1
1958 (I) Admiral Stuart 7-11-12 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 6/5F
1958 (II) Prudent King 6-11-08 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 3/1F
1957 (I) Tokoroa 6-12-01 Dave Dick Fred Rimell 5/4F
1957 (II) Saffron Tartan 6-11-12 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 10/11F
1956 (I) Boys Hurrah 8-11-08 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 9/4F
1956 (II) Pelargos 5-11-06 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 6/4F
1955 (I) Vindore 6-11-12 Mr Phonsie O’Brien Vincent O’Brien IRE Evs F
1955 (II) Illyric 6-11-08 Tommy Burns Vincent O’Brien IRE 3/1F
1954 (I) Stroller 6-11-08 Pat Taaffe Vincent O’Brien IRE 13/8F
1954 (II) Tasmin 4-10-07 Rene Emery Harry Count FR 5/1
1953 (I) Assynt 5-11-01 Eddie Newman Danny Morgan IRE 9/4F
1953 (II) Dessin 7-11-08 Johnny Gilbert Frank Hudson 100/9
1952 (I) Cockatoo 6-11-03 Mr Phonsie O’Brien Vincent O’Brien IRE 4/1
1952 (II) Evian 4-10-07 Fred Winter George Archibald 10/1
1951 (I) Red Stranger 4-10-12 Denis Dillon Ron Smyth 100/8
1951 (II) Oukileles II 4-10-12 Fred Winter George Archibald 6/1
1950 (I) Tsaoko 5-11-08 Martin Molony Sam Armstrong 4/9F
1950 (II) Sir Charles 4-10-04 Mr Michael Scudamore Geoffrey Scudamore 25/1
1949 (I) French Wedding 4-10-07 Jimmy Brogan Gerry Wilson 11/2
1949 (II) Tough Guy 4-10-00 Denis Dillon Ivor Anthony 4/1
1948 (I) Vulgan 5-10-10 Rickie Black John De Moraville 9/2
1948 (II) Jean’s Last 6-11-00 Bryan Marshall Fulke Walwyn 7/4F
1947 No race
1946 (I) Prince Rupert 5-11-03 Ron Smyth Ted Smyth 9/2
1946 (II) Freetown 6-11-00 George Archibald W Larkin 8/1
1946 (III) Gremlin 5-10-10 Phil Canty George Todd 5/1

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