Min no banker for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival
David Metcalf | January 11, 2016
Ever since he joined champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins, Min has been talked about as a superstar.
The gelding, who failed to cut any ice in two starts over hurdles in France, is now 6/4 favourite with Coral for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which opens proceedings at the Cheltenham Festival in March, having won both his starts for the Closutton handler in facile fashion.
After barely having to break sweat to score in a minor contest at Punchestown, Min took the step up into Grade 2 company in his stride when landing the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at the same venue by 9 1/2 lengths.
On both occasions, Min has travelled powerfully and jumped well to get the job done with the minimum of fuss.
Is Moscow Flyer form a good omen?
The five-year-old clearly has a huge engine, and is now the red-hot favourite to emulate stablemates Vautour and Douvan (pictured above), who both won the Moscow Flyer en route to glory in the Supreme around Prestbury Park.
However, Min has beaten nothing of note since joining Mullins and there are reasons to believe that he is worth taking on at the odds-on offer.
When he scored first time up, Min beat a staying pointer who has since gone on to scramble home in a bumper. The third home Double Island is a similar type who had previously been well-beaten by Open Eagle.
And while Open Eagle has since been thrashed out of sight by Altior at Kempton, there is little to choose between Min and Nicky Henderson’s gelding on that line of form.
Min also didn’t really beat much in the Moscow Flyer, even given the fact that the runner-up Attribution was officially rated 132. Attribution had previously been beaten in a four-runner contest at Punchestown by a horse rated 123, so his 132 rating flatters him greatly.
Horse’s head a concern
Min’s run-style in his two victories is also a cause for concern. On both occasions the son of Walk In The Park has raced keenly with the choke out, and although he has found plenty at the end of each race that may well be down to the weakeness of the opposition.
Also demonstrating a high head carriage when winning the Moscow Flyer, Min could well be the type that could boil over in the preliminaries at Cheltenham. Of course, he could settle much better in the Supreme given that the race is traditionally run at a strong gallop.
But he could also get lit up by the occasion and tank his way to the front, and it would then be a case of what he had left when coming under pressure against some top class opposition.
So taking everything into account, Min may not be the banker he has been labelled for the Supreme, and will be keen to take him on come March.
If you don’t agree, then snap up the 6/4 on offer with Coral about him winning the Festival curtain raiser on Tuesday, March 15th, as he is almost certain to go off shorter on the day.