2021 Supreme Novice Hurdle Tips – Bookmakers hoping Appreciate It Fails To Fire

The start of the Cheltenham Festival will be missing its famous roar this yearThe start of the Cheltenham Festival will be missing its famous roar this year

2021 Supreme Novice Hurdle Tips

We may get a better handle on this race after the Dublin Racing Festival, but those of us wanting to find an ante-post bet on the opening race on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival should look no further than Lewis Tomlinson’s guide to the Supreme Novice Hurdle.

Supreme Novice Hurdle Overview

There’ll be no Cheltenham roar this time to send the field on their way in the Supreme, the opening race of the Festival. The recent roll of honour in this championship event for two-mile novice hurdlers includes star names such as Vautour, Douvan and Altior.

Key Contenders – Appreciate It

Last season’s Champion Bumper runner-up Appreciate It (5-2) is a solid favourite to follow in their footsteps after posting arguably the most impressive novice hurdling effort of the season so far, bolting up in a Leopardstown Grade 1 over Christmas.

Trainer Willie Mullins was “surprised and impressed” by the nature of Appreciate It’s performance that day, indicating that he was by no means certain pre-race about Appreciate It’s future being over the minimum trip. Some questions answer themselves, though, and Mullins’ mind was almost certainly made up by Appreciate It’s sheer dominance

A winning pointer over three miles, Appreciate It has never looked short of stamina and does his best work when pushed into battle and allowed to utilise his raw power. For what it’s worth, I think he’d have no issue in the Ballymore, or the Albert Barlett, but given his brutal performance at Leopardstown, where he dealt a nine-length beating to Clonmel maiden winner Irascible, it’s easy to see why the two-mile event looks as if it’s currently the preferred option.No seven-year-old has won this since Captain Cee Bee in 2008, but Appreciate It is the right favourite and should take all the beating.

Metier & Boothill

Metier (6-1) was above average on the flat in Ireland for Andrew Slattery with a peak OR of 90 and has quickly proven to be a shrewd purchase by the Harry Fry team, winning all three starts since switching to hurdling, including at Grade 1 level when cruising clear in the Tolworth last time. That was not a vintage renewal- runner up Shakem Up’Arry had been beaten in a handicap off 130 prior – but a poor race does not mean a poor winner and we should know more about just how good Metier is after he runs in the Betfair Hurdle later this month.

Fry also has Boothill (12-1) as a potential runner here. Boothill won a strong Kempton bumper on his only start last season, and made a striking impression when stringing the opposition out on his hurdles debut at Taunton. He’s firmly filed under the “could be anything” category.

Third Time Lucki

Dan Skelton’s Third Time Lucki (14-1) was best of British when fourth in last season’s Champion Bumper and can probably count himself unlucky not to be unbeaten over hurdles, only meeting defeat when caught out by an enterprising Harry Bannister ride aboard For Pleasure (33-1) here at Cheltenham in November.

His victory at Kempton on Boxing Day was a career best, but he’d need to improve on that form once more to land a glove on Appreciate It if the Mullins horse is at his best.

My Drogo

His stablemate is My Drogo (12-1), a son of the talented mare My Petra, who made the frame herself at a Festival when second in the 2008 Grand Annual. My Drogo overcame greenness and couple of novicey errors to upset the well-related Flinteur Sacre on his hurdles debut at Newbury in the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novice Hurdle at Ascot before Christmas, though Skelton was keen to stress that chasing will be My Drogo’s game and this season will be far from the be all and end all for him.

He’s one to keep on side long term, but might not be forward enough for a test of this nature yet.

Supreme Novice Hurdle Big-race Verdict

Appreciate It looks to be this season’s standout novice hurdler and should get favourite backers off to a fine start at the Festival. A strong stayer, he showed a new facet to his game when powering clear at Leopardstown over Christmas and a repeat should be enough to win this.