Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips: Two for the Festival curtain-raiser

 | March 11 | 

3 mins read

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips

The Supreme, which is due off at 13:30 on Tuesday, is the first of the Cheltenham Festival's 28 races and is always a superb spectacle.

This year's renewal looks particularly competitive and I've got two Supreme Novices' Hurdle tips - including an each-way suggestion, with Betfred paying four places at 1/5 the odds for the opener.

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips

  • Jeriko Du Reponet @ 15/2
  • Mistergif e/w @ 11/1

I've been pretty unconvinced about Nicky Henderson's JERIKO DU REPONET all season, but as we've got closer to the big week and the picture has changed, I've really warmed to his chance in the Supreme.

The five-year-old's rating of just 136 is a good bit off what would usually be required to win this race, but as I wrote in my Day 1 tipping piece this is a weak renewal as far as I'm concerned.

Willie Mullins' Mystical Power, who also dons the iconic green & gold silks of JP McManus, heads the market at time of writing and he could be anything, but ultimately he's won three poor races and the yard's apparent lack of confidence in him is noteworthy.

Tullyhill is the ride of Paul Townend and seemingly Mullins' leading fancy, but I'm finding it hard to look past quite how poor he was on his hurdling debut, that he was given a total freebie last time out and his questionable jumping at times. The quick turnaround of just 23 days is another question mark.

Gordon Elliott's sole runner Firefox obviously beat Ballyburn, the season's leading novice hurdler, but the latter was clearly undercooked that day and although there was excuses, his performance in the Lawlor's Of Naas back in January was underwhelming.

Slade Steel, who's only turning up here to avoid Ballyburn, is overrated and therefore underpriced in my book - while the likes of Tellherthename, Asian Master, Favour And Fortune and the other three outsiders wouldn't be for me.

That leaves 'Jeriko' and Mistergif, who I'll get onto shortly, with the former my pick to win the race.

He came into the season with an incredibly lofty reputation and won two modest affairs at Newbury with ease, earning quotes of around 4/1 for the Supreme at the time.

Then he went to Doncaster in late January for the re-arranged G2 Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle, won by stablemate Jonbon two years ago, and extended his unbeaten record to 3-3, but in somewhat workmanlike fashion.

However, it must be noted that the son of Choeur Du Nord was weak in the market that day, with Henderson later admitting his horse wasn't fully tuned up. Good ground combined with a snail's pace also won't have suited, so there's multiple reasons to expect a much-improved showing in a soft-ground Supreme which is always contested at a fair clip.

That Doncaster form was also franked recently, courtesy of the runner-up Lump Sum and third-placed Fiercely Proud finishing 1-2 in the G2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton a couple of weeks ago, and Henderson has been quietly confident about this horse in the Festival build-up, so I'm hopeful of a bold run.

Jeriko Du Reponet to win the 13.30 Cheltenham at 15-2

As for the each-way selection, MISTERGIF, I think some of the noise coming out of Closutton has to be taken very seriously. They seem to fancy this to run a big race and based on his emphatic 18-length success at Limerick - admittedly in a very weak event - he is a fascinating outsider.

With Betfred paying 4 places on the Supreme, he rates the each-way play at current prices.

Mistergif each-way for the 13.30 Cheltenham at 11-1

Find more Cheltenham Tips here at Betfred Insights

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