Category Archives: Supreme Novices Hurdle

Can a 4-Year-Old Win the Supreme?

One pressing issue this year ahead of the first race of the festival is likely to be the presence of a four-year-old runner. This occurrence isn’t unheard of – there was one last year – but the increased significance this year is understandable, given the fact that Khudha went off at a price of 200/1 last year and finished down the field, as, with no disrespect to the horse or connections, would have been expected. Before that, the last 4yo to run was the admittedly smart Marsh Warbler who had won a grade one juvenile hurdle but went off at 22/1 and was out of his depth, finishing down the field in a Supreme featuring the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Cue Card and Al Ferof.

This year, however, Joseph O’Brien has dominated the Irish juvenile scene and with Sir Erec proving a worthy Triumph favourite in an impressive win at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival, it’s looking increasingly likely that stablemate Fakir D’Oudairies, who won the Triumph trial on Cheltenham Trials Day with ease, will be re-routed to the Supreme in order to keep O’Brien’s runners apart. So, the question arises again this year, can a four-year-old win the Supreme?

At first glance the record of juveniles in the Supreme looks poor – three horses have tried it in the last 10 years, finishing 13th, 11th and 9th. If we look back over the last 20 years, 15 4-year-olds have gone to the race and only one has won, with another one making the frame. The winner in question was Hors La Loi III in 1999, and the runner-up was Binocular in 2008. They went off at 9/2 and 8/1 respectively, making them two of just three four-year-olds to run in the Supreme at single-figure starting prices in the last two decades.

In short, the form of 4yo’s in the race in the last 20 years looks dire (01F009007002900) but this may be misleading – the form of 4yo’s at single-figure prices is 129.

Admittedly, we’re looking at a very small sample size here, and there may be some logic behind the idea that a 4yo isn’t ideally suited to this test. To my mind, the Supreme is a race for as an experienced horse. This is looked into in detail elsewhere, but to summarise, horses with at least 4 starts over hurdles (in the UK or Ireland) have outperformed those with 3 or less in the last 10 years:

Runs over Hurdles Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
1-3 92 2 2.17 14 15.22 -83.76 0.3
4+ 69 8 11.59 16 23.19 50.03 1.52

The two winners with 1-3 hurdles starts before running in the Supreme were Douvan and Vautour, each of whom had run twice in France over hurdles before arriving in Closutton. This seems to be a very strong stat, with the majority of runners in the Supreme in the last 10 years not having had as much hurdling experience as would be desired. To me this is a major negative for this year’s favourite Angels Breath who has run once over hurdles and missed his planned second start due to the influenza. At the time of writing it’s unclear whether he will get a prep run before the festival, but even if he does, he will only have run in two races over hurdles.

Compare this to horses in the field such as Aramon (6 races over hurdles including a win and a second place in a grade one hurdle), Klassical Dream (7 starts over hurdles including a grade one win) and Elixir De Nutz (6 starts over hurdles including a grade one win) and 4/1 seems a very short price for the favourite.

In short, I believe heavily in the idea that experience is a big advantage in a Supreme. With this in mind, I’d be probably be against a lot of four-year-olds running in the race. However, Fakir D’Oudairies has not only run in four races over hurdles (two since he arrived in Joseph O’Brien’s yard and two in France) but also in two chases in France. He’s not lacking in experience, and for this reason I wouldn’t necessarily discard him in a Supreme based solely on his age.

More Festival Content can be found in the Cheltenham 2019 Section.

The Supreme Novices Hurdle – An Overview

A Messy Race?

The Supreme has a bit of a reputation for being a big, unpredictable race but field sizes are actually decreasing. The average field size in the 10 years from 1998-2008 (no race in 2001) was 21.5 (including 30 runners in 1998). In the last 10 years, it has decreased to 16.1. Last year was a relatively large field of 19 runners, but in the 5 years before that, the field sizes were 12, 18, 12, 14 and 14. The smaller field can mean that it’s not a particularly messy race – there have only been 3 fallers in the last 10 years, whereas in the 10 years before that, there were 12.

Speed or Stamina?

The race is usually run at a serious pace so horses obviously need to have a high cruising speed in order to avoid being run off your feet in the first half of the race. However, the pace at which the race is run tends to turn it into a test of stamina and this is an interesting paradox. Throughout the season, there tends to be a lot of talk about whether a novice “has the speed for a Supreme” or “has the stamina for a Ballymore”. However, looking at past renewals, the longer race has often been won by horses which turned out to be 2 mile hurdlers, whilst plenty of Supreme runners have gone on to be successful stayers (even Gold Cup winners – Kicking King was 2nd in a Supreme and won the Gold Cup two years later).

Unexposed v’s Form in the Book

Most years, we’ll have hype horses or ones which are supposedly showing massive potential at home. These might be French imports who haven’t been run in top races in the UK or Ireland but have a lot of excitement surrounding them. However, there is a tendency to fall for this type of hype. This has been heightened by the fact that French imports Vautour and Douvan were extremely impressive winners for Mullins in 2014 and 2015 – however, we have to remember that both of them had won graded novice hurdles in Ireland before coming to Cheltenham. Two years later, Melon came to the Supreme having only won a maiden hurdle and was beaten (albeit in a bit of a shock result with Labaik winning the race).

So, graded form is very important. 19 horses have come into the race in the last 10 years having won a grade one hurdle in the UK or Ireland. 3 of them won (27% win strike rate) and another 4 made the frame (63.64% win/place rate). Grade one winning novice hurdlers don’t run every year – there were none in 2017 – but in last year’s race the two horses which fit the bill were Summerville Boy (won at 9/1) and Megli Khan (3rd at 14/1). In 2016, there was Bellshill (13th of 14 but his form in general would suggest that the track itself might be an excuse for this) and is 2015 the grade one winners were Sizing John (3rd at 25/1) and L’Ami Serge (4th at 7/2). This possibly shows that the market does underestimate these grade one winners who in theory have the best credentials.

Unbeaten Hurdlers

There are also runners each year who have been visually impressive and consistent, but with doubts over what they have beaten. Horses with a 100% record over hurdles (from at least 3 starts over hurdles in the UK or Ireland) have a record of 2 wins and a further 4 places from 13 runners – that’s a 15.38% win rate and a 46.15% win/place rate. Of the 13, 9 were single-figure prices, and the list includes 2 beaten favourites (as well as one winning favourite in Vautour, who was a grade one winner over hurdles). If we eliminate the grade one winning hurdlers from the list, we see that it’s down to 9 runners with 1 winner and 2 other places. In other words, grade one hurdling form is a massive plus, whereas an unbeaten record over hurdles isn’t quite as important.

Recent Form

So, 100% win records aren’t overly important, but what about recent form? The table below first shows the record of horses which won last time out, and then narrows this down to horses which won a graded hurdle last time out:

Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
Won last time out 72 8 11.11 23 31.94 -1.24 1.02
Won graded hurdle LTO 26 6 23.08 16 61.54 28.42 1.29

Horses which won last time out made up 8 of the last 10 winners and 23% of the total places (winners and placed horses) on offer. However, they did account for over 45% of the runners in the last 10 years. If we narrow this down to horses which won a graded hurdle last time out, we still find 6 of the last 10 winners, but from just 16% of the total field (these horses made up 53% of the total places). The horses which won a graded hurdle last time out exceeded the expectations placed upon them by the market (based on the last figure in the table, A/E).

The latter group could be broken down further, to look into the never-ending competition between the British and the Irish at the festival. So, is it better to have won that last graded hurdle in Ireland or in Britain?

Won a graded hurdle last time out…
Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
… in Ireland 11 4 36.36 9 81.82 20.05 1.6
… in GB 15 2 13.33 7 46.67 8.38 0.93

The Irish runners who meet this criteria perform significantly better than the English, not only based on win strike rates and place strike rates, but also based on profit/loss figures at BFSP and the degree to which they outperformed the expectations of the market.

Britain v’s Ireland

This is backed by a preference for all horses which had their prep run in Ireland, but the difference in performance in the two groups isn’t as strong when we compare all runners in the last 10 years based on which country their final run before the festival took place:

Location of Prep Run Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
Ireland 57 5 8.77 13 22.81 14 0.9
UK 104 5 4.81 17 16.35 -47.73 0.78

Hurdling Experience

Each year, we get a number of horses coming into the race with minimal experience over hurdles (just taking into account their runs over hurdles since they came to the UK or Ireland). These can often be quite high-profile horses. In 2017, Melon aimed to be the first horse since 1992 to win it after just one run over hurdles. Last year, Getabird came into the race after just two hurdles starts, as did Debuchet. The former went off a short favourite but both were beaten. Douvan, also from the Mullins yard, was an exception to this rule, having run just twice over hurdles (in Ireland at least) before winning the race in 2015. However, the record of horses with three or less starts over hurdles is far inferior to that of horses with 4 or more starts:

Runs over Hurdles Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
1-3 92 2 2.17 14 15.22 -83.76 0.3
4+ 69 8 11.59 16 23.19 50.03 1.52

On every single statistic, the more experienced horses outperform those with less experience. For anybody who may be wondering about the record of horses with exactly 3 hurdles starts (as this may seem a satisfactory number), I’ve added the record below:

Runs over Hurdles Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
3 41 1 2.44 7 17.07 -36.19 0.35

These horses made up about half of those with less than 4 starts over hurdles and performed no better than those with 1 or 2 previous starts over hurdles. The interesting thing is that these horses with just 1-3 starts over hurdles have included horses at short prices such as, to name just a few, Cue Card (7/4 favourite), Galileos Choice (6/1 favourite), Lami Serge (7/2), Min (15/8 favourite) and the aforementioned Melon (3/1 favourite) and Getabird (7/4 favourite). Of course, they do also include two winners – Vautour (7/2 favourite) and Douvan (2/1 favourite). There are exceptions to every rule, and both of these horses had run twice over hurdles in France before arriving in Willie Mullins’ yard. Overall, it looks like horses without the experience over hurdles are worth taking on.

Trainers

Willie Mullins has won the Supreme 3 times in the last 10 years and so is the obvious starting point when discussing trainers. He is also the trainer who has run the most horses (27 runners in the last 10 years – the next highest is Nicky Henderson with 18).

Trainer Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
Willie Mullins 27 3 11.11 6 22.22 -13.1 0.87

Along with his 3 winners, Mullins has also had another 3 horses placed in the race, including the runner-up in both 2016 and 2017. However, it is worth noting that both of these 2nd-placed horses were favourites (Melon and Min) and both did come up short.

Gordon Elliott has had just 4 Supreme runners in the last 10 years, but they included a winner (Labaik in 2017) and a runner-up (Mengli Khan in 2018). Tombstone also finished just outside the places in the famously competitive 2016 Supreme, making Elliott’s form in the race 7413.

Trainer Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
Nicky Henderson 18 1 5.56 9 50 -12.31 0.51

Nicky Henderson’s win strike rates may not be as impressive as Mullins’ (1 win from 18 runners) but his win/place rates are outstanding (9 from 18). His overall form in the last 10 years reads 8U4032928232431635. If we narrow this down to his top-string each year (based on SP’s), the form reads 8422234135 – in other words, his horses have been incredibly consistent and are almost always there or thereabouts. The market hasn’t necessarily caught on to this – his top string horses in the last 10 renewals are listed below, along with their starting prices:

No other trainer has had more than one placed finisher in the last 10 years. However, the other trainers who have had at least 5 runners in the last 10 years are listed below:

Trainer Runners Wins W% W/P W/P% P/L(BF) A/E
David Pipe 6 0 0 0 0 -6 0
Phillip Hobbs 6 1 16.67 1 16.67 10.56 2.94
Paul Nicholls 5 1 20 1 20 5.64 2.13
Colin Tizzard 5 0 0 0 0 -5 0
Alan King 5 0 0 1 20 -5 0

The Ideal Candidate

Based on the findings above, we could in theory create a “profile” for the ideal candidate for the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Of course, it’s rare that we’d find a horse which ticks all of the boxes, but it is worth making out such a profile in order to keep an eye on Supreme contenders over the coming months and speculate over which horses might end up fitting the bill. Our ideal profile would look something like this:

  • Grade 1 winner over hurdles
  • Won a graded hurdle last time out
  • At least 4 starts over hurdles

There have only been 5 horses which met these 3 criteria over the last 10 years (considering we’re focusing on hurdles starts in just the UK and Ireland). These were Dunguib (3rd in 2010), Marsh Warbler (11th in 2011), Jezki (3rd in 2013), Champagne Fever (1st in 2013) and Summerville Boy (1st in 2018).

The main factor which narrows down the field here is the grade one win over hurdles. There are only a limited number of opportunities for a horse to pick up a grade one win over hurdles before the Supreme – the Challow Novices Hurdle over 2m 5f (won by Champ), the Tolworth Hurdle (won by Elixir De Nutz), the Royal Bond Novices Hurdle (won by Quick Grabim), Future Champions Novice Hurdle (won by Aramon) and the Slaney Novices Hurdle over 2m 4f (won by Battleoverdoyen). Still to be run at the Dublin Racing Festival are a 2m 6f novice hurdle and a 2m novice hurdle. It’s likely that only the latter will be of any significance to the Supreme, while the winners of the Challow and the Slaney Novices Hurdle are unlikely to run here.

So, so far this season our grade one-winning contenders are Elixir De Nutz, Quick Grabim and Aramon. Interestingly, all of these have run in at least 4 races over hurdles – 6, 6 and 5 respectively. Elixir De Nutz goes straight to Cheltenham so you would imagine that he will be our first definite contender. Quick Grabim has been ruled out with a setback. Aramon is currently 2/1 favourite for the grade 1 2m novice hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and this would be an obvious stepping stone to the Supreme.

The Supreme – The Top 4 in the Market

Before Labaik’s shock win last year, 6 of the last 7 winners of the Supreme Novices Hurdle had come from the top four in the betting market. For this reason, it might be helpful to cast an eye over those horses this year…

The Race Itself

Of the three grade one novice hurdle events at the festival, the Supreme definitely attracts the most attention and hype. In fact, in terms of general interest from punters, the Supreme probably exceeds the majority of grade one contests at the festival, with the exception of a couple of Championship races.

It’s not difficult to see why – the Supreme represents the beginning of the four-day bonanza of racing, with the iconic roar rising above Prestbury Park as the tapes go up and the cream of the crop of two-mile novice hurdlers take each other on.

The hype certainly isn’t unfounded. A quick glance at the list of recent winners tells us all we need to know about the class of the race. 2016 winner Altior will go off favourite in the Champion Chase this year, as 2015 winner Douvan did last year. 2014 winner Vautour went on to win at the festival the next two years, in the JLT and the Ryanair Chase. This year’s field really could contain anything – future Champion Chasers, future Champion Hurdlers, even Gold Cup winners.

There is a perception that the 2018 renewal of the race isn’t the strongest ever. True, the most impressive novice hurdler of the season is undoubtedly Samcro, who will run in the Ballymore over 2m 5f rather than running here. I would be reluctant to think that the race is weak this year, though. There are undoubtedly horses in the field who will make an impact next year in open grade one hurdle company, as well as over fences. However, it is an open renewal.

Since Champagne Fever’s win in 2013, Willie Mullins has come into the race each year with one horse which has looked massively impressive. In 2014 and 2015, these horses showed their class and won in style. In 2016, Min was the main hope of the Mullins yard – however, he was beaten by an extremely talented English horse, Nicky Henderson’s Altior. Last year, Melon represented Mullins but had a lot more to prove than previous stable first-string heading into the race, having only run once over hurdles in Ireland. He was beaten by a quirky but talented Gordon Elliott outsider in Labaik.

Getabird

This year, Mullins trains the ante-post favourite yet again. Getabird looked like more of a Ballymore contender at the beginning of the season, particularly with stablemate Sharjah rumoured to be the yard’s best 2 mile novice hurdler. However, following an easy maiden hurdle win at Punchestown in December, he secured his place at the top of the Supreme market with the most impressive display of the division this season when winning the Moscow Flyer Novices Hurdle at Punchestown in January. This is a tried and tested route for Mullins’ Supreme hopes – Vautour, Douvan and Min all won in on their way to the festival.

It’s worth watching each of those wins and comparing them to Getabird’s – he was certainly as visually impressive as any of those three previous Moscow Flyer winners.

My main reservation around Getabird is his price. At the time of writing, the best price that I can see is 13/8, while 6/4 is standard and there are plenty of firms quoting 5/4. To put this into perspective, Vautour went off at 7/2 and Douvan was 2/1. It’s possible that on the morning of the race, some firms will push him out in what is typically a morning of highly competitive activity from bookmakers trying to lure in punters. However, at around 6/4, I’m keen to take him on.

One concern would be better ground. All of Getabird’s form is on softer ground and he hasn’t proven that he will be as effective on a better surface.

However, my real concern would be his jumping. He got a very easy lead in the Moscow Flyer and made all, clocking a time which wasn’t particularly impressive and going at a pace a lot slower than the Supreme. This meant that he was able to get into a nice rhythm and take each of his jumps nicely. This luxury won’t be afforded to him at Cheltenham, where they will more than likely take off at a ferocious pace and his jumping will need to be almost flawless. Getabird has a tendency to jump right and this hasn’t been punished to date, with all of his starts having come at right-handed tracks. However, this won’t be entertained at Cheltenham in a large field in a strongly-run race. Having said that, Douvan and Min hadn’t run at left-handed tracks before their Supremes either.

In my opinion, he jumps more like a chaser – he isn’t slick and efficient over his hurdles, but leaps over them, leaving plenty of air between horse and obstacle. These audacious jumps may be beneficial to a staying chaser, but in a two-mile hurdle it was ultimately cause him to lose ground.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that until recently, Getabird was considered a stayer – his target was definitely the Ballymore and he was probably considered a future staying chaser. One has to wonder whether he would be aimed at the Ballymore if it wasn’t for the lack of depth in the Mullin yard’s 2 mile novice hurdlers, and the presence of Samcro in the Ballymore.

Ultimately, Getabird could prove to just be too good for all of the opposition in what could turn out to be a weak Supreme. However, I can’t have him at 6/4 – he could become a betting prospect at a bigger price on the day of the race.

Kalashnikov

Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov has become second favourite in the last week following his impressive win in the Betfair Hurdle and the withdrawal of Harry Fry’s If The Cap Fits. Firstly, he won a good race in the Betfair Hurdle, not travelling that well and still managing to win. He was given a peach of a ride by Jack Quinlan to win despite not seeming to travel that well through it, managing to come alive strongly when it mattered and finish well. One significant point is that he’s thought to be much better on good ground than on soft, and so should have been inconvenienced by the large quantities of rain that fell before the off at Newbury on Betfair Hurdle day.

Before that run, he was 2nd in the Tolworth Hurdle behind Summerville Boy, again putting in a good performance on ground that probably didn’t suit him. He’s a progressive horse who seems to be improving for every start and good ground at the festival should bring about further improvement.

However, I tend to be against horses running in grade one’s at the festival having prepped in a handicap. The Supreme is no different, and Betfair Hurdle winners coming to the Supreme have generally failed to win it – notable examples are Ballyandy last year (4th at 3/1), My Tent Or Yours in 2013 (2nd at 15/8) and Get Me Out Of Here in 2010 (2nd at 9/2).

The place record of Betfair Hurdle winners in the Supreme is actually quite respectable – 3 placed (all 2nd) from 8 runners in the last 10 years. However, winning the Supreme having run in the Betfair Hurdle remains quite a task and it’s a big negative to overcome.

I would also have had him down as more of a stayer, with the Ballymore being an interesting option – he seems to have plenty of stamina but I’m not as sure about speed. Again, I wonder whether the decision to run in the Supreme is partially due to the fact that Samcro will run in the Ballymore (after finishing 2nd in the Tolworth Amy Murphy said as much). It was a brave performance in tough conditions in the Betfair Hurdle which I thought made him look like more of a stayer. However, if connections wished to avoid Samcro, the Supreme is realistically the only option as he would carry a tough weight in any festival handicap.

Mengli Khan

I was keen to take on Mengli Khan when he was the Supreme favourite earlier in the season – while he’s a much bigger price now than he is then, and so taking him on won’t really create value for us, I’m still not very keen to have him on side for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he has form to reverse with Samcro. I understand that Elliott felt that he wasn’t at his best in the Moscow Flyer as he should probably have beaten Carter McKay in 3rd by further (I don’t necessarily agree with that as I think Carter McKay might still be a slightly underrated horse). However, there’s no denying that Getabird was by far the superior horse that day.

Before that, Megli Khan ran at Leopardstown over Christmas and was running well when he decided to run out through the wing while leading approaching the second last. Prior to these that mishap, he was probably the most impressive novice hurdler in Ireland during the first half of the season. He has run to quite a high standard and if you’re willing to overlook his last run and trust Elliott in thinking that there was something amiss, you could argue that the market has overreacted and 12/1 is too big. Admittedly, he has already run to a level that would probably see him place in a weak Supreme.

His profile is unusual for the race, however. He ran 6 times on the flat and once on the all-weather (the record of flat horses in the Supreme is notorious but this negative was overcome in last year’s unusual result) and ran two disappointing races over hurdles last season. Elliott wasn’t happy with him and decided to hold on to his novice status for this year. That decision was justified as he won a maiden hurdle, then a grade 3, then the grade 1 Royal Bond Novices Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December. His performance that day was very impressive on the clock and none of his opponents could challenge him on the run-in.

His trainer has mentioned that he should improve for better and ground and this is therefore being accepted as the general consensus. I’m not that convinced – he’s a physically massive horse and his starts this year have been on yielding, soft to heavy, soft, soft and soft to heavy in that order. I wonder whether this could be a case of a large, strong soft-ground horse putting in good performances in the winter, but will he like better ground in the spring?

Looking back on his flat form, he won once from 6 starts on turf – it was the only time that he ran on ground described as soft. On the two occasions that he ran on good ground, he was well beaten. His only other win came on his sole start on the all-weather, on ground described as standard to slow. The only point against this is that both of the disappointing performances last season came on bad ground (soft and heavy respectively). However, there could be other reasons that he simply wasn’t firing at the time.

I would have liked to see him run well on good ground before considering him for the Supreme. Even if the market has overreacted to one mishap when going well and one bad run, he’s not a betting prospect for me.

Summerville Boy

Having moved to Tom George’s yard from Ireland at the beginning of this season, Summerville Boy came up short on all of his first three starts this season despite running respectable races. He came close in his maiden hurdle at Stratford and then in a grade 2 Supreme Trial at Cheltenham in November, finishing 2nd by less than a length on both occasions. He then returned to Cheltenham before Christmas to finish 3rd in a race which really didn’t suit, having been run at a very slow pace.

It doesn’t actually seem that connections felt that he was particularly inconvenienced by the testing ground on these occasions, as the decision was made to send him to Sandown in early January for the grade one Tolworth Hurdle on heavy ground. He won well that day, with that form having subsequently been franked by Kalashnikov. Having said that, the Paul Nicholls horse which finished a well-beaten 3rd that day went off favourite in the Dovecote Hurdle at Kempton at the end of February and was well beaten in 4th, over 14 lengths behind the winner. It is very possible that Kalashnikov improved of his own accord, and that the form of the Tolworth isn’t as strong as the Betfair Hurdle win would suggest.

The overwhelming narrative after that race was that he would improve significantly for good ground – he supposedly wouldn’t have liked the heavy ground at all and will be seen to much better effect on spring ground.

He did stay on well in the Tolworth and he certainly won’t be short of stamina here, with the Ballymore having been suggested as an option earlier in the season. He beat Kalashnikov by 4 lengths (although the runner-up supposedly didn’t like the ground either) and stayed on well up the run-in. However, one major concern would be his jumping. He has made significant mistakes a few times over hurdles and these question marks certainly hadn’t disappeared in the Tolworth when he stumbled over the last.

My hope after that race would have been that he would run again over hurdles before the Supreme in order to gain more experience and improve his jumping. Following his Tolworth win, Noel Fehily commented that he’ll be a better horse next season as he continues to run green (“He will be twice the horse next year – he is still very babyish”). I would have to wonder whether heading straight to Cheltenham is the best option for a horse crying out for more experience. Despite these question marks, it’s possible to argue that he’s overpriced at 12/1 considering Kalashnikov (4 lengths behind him in the Tolworth) is as short as 5/1.

William Hill is the only bookmaker paying double winnings in cash on all bets in the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

If you open an account with William Hill using this link, you’ll receive €30/£30 of free bets once you place your first bet of €10/£10 or more. If you’re interested, take a look at our Free Bets page to find out how you could win some cash prizes from The Parade Ring as well as picking up your free bets. 

Nicky Henderson in the Supreme

It is always worth noting Nicky Henderson’s strong record in the Supreme:

Year Runners Wins Places W/P W/P%
2017 2 0 1 1 50%
2016 2 1 1 2 100%
2015 1 0 0 0 0%
2014 2 0 2 2 100%
2013 2 0 1 1 50%
2012 2 0 1 1 50%
2011 3 0 2 2 67%
2010 2 0 0 0 0%
2009 1 0 0 0 0%
2008 3 0 1 1 33%
2007 1 0 1 1 100%
2004 2 0 1 1 50%
2003 1 0 1 1 100%

This is something which will be looked into in greater detail between now and the festival as it is quite significant. Ahead of the 2016 festival I viewed his record as being one of a trainer who always just comes up short and saw it as a negative for Altior. Altior’s win caused me to reconsider this view and I noticed just how strong Henderson’s win/place record is. Winners may be fairly rare but he has a seriously consistent strike rate in terms of making the frame – 9 of his 14 runners since 2011 managed to do so, which is a 64% W/P rate from a decent sample size.

The actual form in that time reads 032/92/82/32/4/31/63. The horses to finish 10th, 9th, 8th and 6th had starting prices of 22/1, 12/1, 18/1 and 16/1 respectively.

This year, Henderson is represented by just one horse in the race, Claimantakinforgan.

At the time of writing, Claimantakinforgan can be backed at odds of 16/1 with William Hill. However, William Hill are the only bookmaker offering double winnings in cash on all bets in the race.

If you open an account with William Hill using this link, you’ll receive €30/£30 of free bets once you place your first bet of €10/£10 or more. If you’re interested, take a look at our Free Bets page to find out how you could win some cash prizes from The Parade Ring as well as picking up your free bets.