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1:30pm Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m½f

Getabird looked superb when winning the Moscow Flyer on his pre-Festival prep-run and deservedly leads the way in the betting. Willie Mullins’ charge looks open to further progression, but there are plenty of several talented novices stacked up behind the favourite who offer better value at their current prices.

Summerville Boy and Claimantakinforgan bring Graded winning form into Cheltenham. While they hold each-way appeal, there’s a case to be made for MENGLI KHAN being the one to push the favourite and maybe even reverse the form of the Moscow Flyer.

Gordon Elliott’s charge ran roughshod through the novice ranks during the first half of the season. A comfortable victory on his first start as a second-season novice was followed by a smart win in a Grade Three at Navan. After trouncing his rivals in the Grade One Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, Mengli Khan was expected to be a big player at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, but his race ended prematurely as he leapt through the wing of the third-last hurdle.

Just over two weeks later, Elliott sent his charge into battle against Getabird. The five-year-old was powerless to deny Willie Mullins’ charge that day, but he stayed on well to claim second and he’s been given a nice break since. Mengli Khan defeated 29 rivals on his reappearance, so the hustle and bustle of the Supreme should pose no problems. You could argue he brings the best form into the race and offers stacks of value at a double-figure price.
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 and is open to novices aged four years old and upwards.

The race always attracts a large field and, therefore, experience of competing in similar conditions is often of paramount importance.   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.

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