Supreme Novices odds
The Supreme Novices Hurdle is the traditional jump off for four days of the most fiercely competitive jumps racing on the planet.
It kicks off the card on Tuesday and its commencement is accompanied by a throaty ‘Cheltenham roar’ as the speediest novices around set off in pursuit of the podium.
The Champion Hurdle often beckons the following year for many who shine in the Supreme, with the likes of Go Native and Menorah stepping up to mix it with the best.
However it’s equally likely that horses predicted to have an even brighter future over fences can run with aplomb and Al Ferof and Sprinter Sacre emerged from the 2011 edition alone.
Irish trainers have landed the Supreme Novices odds in eight of the last 13 runnings.
The Emerald Isle dominated the 2m novices championship for much of the first decade of 21st century, winning seven of the first nine renewals.
From 2010 the home team finally broke their vice-like grip with Phillip Hobbs, Paul Nicholls and Donald McCain readying successive victors before Willie Mullins’ Champagne Fever restored the status quo.
The Supreme Novices odds are a favourite’s graveyard.
When My Tent Or Yours was outstayed up the Cheltenham hill by the victorious Champagne Fever in the 2013 edition he became the race’s tenth beaten favourite in succession.
Six of the last nine winners were sent off at 10/1 or longer in the betting, so there’s plenty of incentive for sifting through the long grass for a bit of evidence most punters have missed.
Even Champagne Fever, although he was sent off at 5/1, could have been backed at a generous 16/1 a week before the race.
David Pipe has not one but two intriguing chances towards the peak of the Supreme Novices odds.
Martin Pipe took the festival opener twice during his glittering career and while his son David has yet to win the race himself he has two leading chances this time around.
The 2012 Champion Bumper produced not one but two festival novice hurdle winners last term in Champagne Fever and The New One.
Pipe’s The Liquidator finished fourth to Briar Hill in the 2013 running and sits at 12/1 in the Supreme Novices odds.
Two starts over timber have seen him smash his closest pursuers by an aggregate of 26l.
However, the 2m novice riches don’t end there for the Pond House handler, with his Red Sherlock unbeaten in four runs under rules.
Having run up a treble in bumpers, the five-year-old son of Shirocco, a sire he shares with exciting Irish mare Annie Power, bolted up on his debut over hurdles by 14l.