Surely no horse, even one that’s dotted-up in a couple of novice hurdles, should be as low as even-money for the Supreme Novice Hurdle – and that’s the reason to see if we can find some value against Min in this year’s Supreme Novice Hurdle, the traditional Cheltenham Festival Opener.
Of course Min can win, but he probably owes his position in the market more to his connections than the level of form he has in the book. However, those connections are the combination of Ricci, Mullins and Walsh – who just so happen to have combined to win the race for the last 3 years with Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan.
But it’s time to take a look at some of Min’s possible opponents – and at least find a horse or two that have an each-way shout against the favourite.
There’s been much to like about Altior’s 4 wins from 4 starts over hurdles so far, and he easily beat subsequent winner Open Eagle at Kempton last time. Connections will be hoping that the ground is good come the big day, but trainer Nicky Henderson hasn’t won this race since 1986.
Buveuir Dair 8/1
Another arrow from the Nicky Henderson stable, and this one has been impressive in winning both hurdle starts so far, after seeing the back of Barters Hill twice in bumpers. An unknown quantity, but a classy looking one.
Travelled like the best horse in the recent Deloitte Novice Hurdle, but just couldn’t quicken on the ground. He’s bred to like better ground, and his trainer Gordon Elliot certainly knows how to ready one for the big day.
Blue Et Rouge 16/1
His price was cut dramatically after beating Tombstone in the Deloitte, but stamina looked to be his forte that day, and he could well contest the Neptune instead.
Trainer Henry De Bromhead has a lot of horse who seem to like the better ground often found at the Spring Festivals, and Supasundae was well-fancied for last season’s Champion Bumper. However, he missed the start that day, before racing into the lead and then fading into 6th late on when running out of stamina, which is often the case in horses for whom 2-miles is going to be their best trip over hurdles.
The Irish have won 6 of the last 9 renewals and, if it’s not to be Min who lifts the crown, it may well be either of the well-regarded pair of Tombstone or Supasundae. We can back both each-way and still make a profit if only one gets placed.
Tombstone each-way @ 14/1 (Bet365, Boylesports) ¼ odds 3 places
Supasundae each-way @ 20/1 (Various Bookmakers) ¼ odds 3 places