RACING fan Gaurav Chaddah (@GauravChaddah) begins looking ahead to the upcoming Cheltenham Festival by providing his ante-post thoughts on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Cheltenham Festival | Supreme Novices’ Hurdle | Tuesday 10th March 2020
We continue to look ahead to the Cheltenham Festival this week with another ante-post selection. The week is edging ever closer and Tuesday will mark only five weels until the biggest week of the racing year gets underway.
The first race of the Festival is the Grade 1, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and that’s the race I’ll be looking at.
Abacadabras sets fair standard
It’s probably safe to say we won’t see Envoi Allen in this race, with connections confirming the Ballymore is the intended target, but Gordon Elliott still does have one the leading contenders in Abacadabras (6/1 William Hill), who sets a high standard of form.
He was fourth in last year’s Champion Bumper, behind Envoi Allen and Thyme Hill, both of whom have won Grade 1’s this season over hurdles and has enjoyed an impressive season over hurdles.
He won his median comfortably before beating Latest Exhibition comfortably at Navan in November. That form looks strong, with Latest Exhibition winning twice since, including a Grade 1 at Leopardstown on Saturday.
His only defeat over hurdles came in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, when he was second to Envoi Allen. Again, that form is strong, Envoi Allen has won again since and the third, Darver Star was second in Saturday’s Champion Hurdle.
On his latest start, he landed grade on success, winning easily and it’s easy to see why he is fancied for the race. My concern would be he’s a skinny price for a horse who will need a patient ride and be delivered late, as he’s been known to idle in front and that makes me want to take him on.
Henderson holds strong hand
Nicky Henderson has won the race on three occasions and he holds a strong hand in this year’s renewal as he looks for success number four. In Shiskin (4/1 Bet365), Henderson has the outright favourite.
Visually he was impressive at Newbury last time, showing a very impressive turn off foot to go away and win. That was his second start over hurdles however fell early on his hurdles debut and his very unexposed and you’d expect more improvement to come.
Henderson has confirmed he will have one more run before the Supreme assignment however on bare form, he may not be good enough for this and I think it’s worth looking at another Henderson house.
Take a chance on Chantry House
JP McManus often likes to have a nice horse in this race and with Andy Dufrense not entered, you’d like to think it’ll be Chantry House lining up in the green and gold colours and he can give Nicky Henderson a fourth win in the race.
He’s only been seen once this season over hurdles, when winning at Cheltenham, in a race that is working out very well. He beat Stolen Silver of Nigel Twiston Davies’ that day, who has since won a Grade 2 and had Pileon in fourth, who has since won two races.
He was very impressive in a bumper at Warwick in March, beating Edwradstone, who has enjoyed hurdle success this season, including beating Fiddlerontheroof, who is 8/1 with Betfair for Supreme success and seeing of Shan Blue who has won over hurdles this season.
All his form has lots of substance and he was impressive when winning at Cheltenham in December. Nicky Henderson has nominated the Dovecote at Kempton on the 22nd February as his next run before the Festival and a win there would certainly lower his price.
His form lines are very impressive, a lot more than Shiskin ,and there’s more value in his price ahead of Abacadabras, and so it’s worth chancing him for success in the first race of the week.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Chantry House (11/1 William Hill)
This article was published on Sunday 2nd February 2020.