RACING anorak Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) analyses the field for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival opener, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle | Tuesday 12th March 2019, 13:30 | ITV1
The Cheltenham Festival is finally here and there are few days moments in sport that compare to the roar when the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle gets underway on Tuesday. This year’s curtain-raiser looks wide open, to me, and with rain arriving the emphasis might now be on stamina here.
Al Dancer (5/1 Bet365) shot to the head of the market with his dominant win of the Betfair Hurdle and is the one to beat. Winners of that race tend to run well here and he will be competitive, but I wonder if there is something less exposed in the line-up.
Klassical Dream (5/1 Unibet) is two from two for Willie Mullins and this Grade 1-winning hurdler has a great attitude to racing. He will love the fast pace and demanding conditions, and is likely to be fighting for a place at the very least.
I have a feeling Brandon Castle (25/1 William Hill) is going to run a huge race. Rated in the high 90's on the flat, his best form came on heavy ground, so the rain won't pose any problems for him. He is three from three over hurdles, and although this represents a huge step up in class, he interests me as an each-way bet here, especially with William Hill offering seven places.
My main win bet however is the Nicky Henderson-trained Angels Breath (11/2 Unibet). He won a Grade 2 novice hurdle on debut and only went down narrowly in another Grade 2 last time when trying to concede 5lbs to the winner. That however provided valuable experience and this horse is open to any amount of potential.
Angels Breath was keen last time out so the fast pace will be of benefit and I am taking my chance that he will improve past these.
1:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Angels Breath to win (11/2 Unibet)
1:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Brandon Castle each-way (25/1 William Hill)