Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Each-Way Tips – Who to take on Appreciate It with & a 66/1 selection
Trained by the most successful trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, Willie Mullins, Appreciate It was a beaten favourite in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper last year, but has since completed a hat-trick over hurdles, including two Grade One successes.
He looks a worthy favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle this time around but, at a top-priced 7/4 ante-post, whether he represents any value is another question altogether and one we’re looking to answer with our Cheltenham Festival first race each-way tips.
Is Appreciate It going to win?
Indeed, according to Timeform, there’s little to choose between Appreciate It and second favourite Metier (7/1), who is similarly unbeaten over hurdles and completed his own hat-trick with an impressive, 12-length win in the Grade One Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown in early January.
Formerly trained on the Flat by Andrew Slattery, Metier has won up to 2 miles 2½ furlongs over hurdles but, unless the Festival going comes up bottomless, he could conceivably be better suited to the minimum trip on the Old Course – where the emphasis is on speed, rather than stamina – than the stoutly bred Appreciate It.
Metier was, at one point, ante-post favourite for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and the eventual winner of that race, Soaring Glory (12/1), has understandably consolidated his position in the market for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He is due to meet the runner-up at Newbury, Fifty Ball (40/1) on 2lb better terms and, having won comfortably on that occasion, is confidently expected to confirm the form. Soaring Glory has plenty to find with the likes of Metier on official ratings, but a strongly-run race on a galloping track should, once again, play to his strengths and he is by no means a forlorn hope.
Anyone looking to take on Appreciate It should be aware that two favourites, both trained by Willie Mullins, have won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in the last ten years and five other winners in that period were returned at single-figure starting prices.
However, they can solace in the fact that since the turn of the century, Arcalis (20/1), Ebaziyan (40/1) and Laibak (25/1) popped up at rewarding odds in 2005, 2007, and 2017, respectively, demonstrating that victory for a longshot is not altogether out of the question.
With that in mind, looking further afield in the ante-post lists, Bob Olinger (20/1) and Dreal Deal (20/1) make some appeal as each-way options but, with Henry De Bromhead reportedly ‘leaning towards’ the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Ronan McNally battling against aspergillosis, it may be prudent to look elsewhere.
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Win or lose, one horse that is an ‘insulting’ price is the unexposed Any News (66/1), who has done precious little wrong in his fledgling hurdling career, yet appears to have been completely dismissed by the bookmakers.
The easy winner of a ‘bumper’ at Exeter and a maiden hurdle at Bangor on his first two starts for Neil Mulholland, the Stowaway was beaten a length by Make Me A Believer, who was receiving 6lb, in a novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham in December.
The winner did that form no harm when just touched off, by a neck and the same, in the Grade Two Leamington Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick the following month, so Any News looks distinctly overpriced.
He needs to improve to win this, but is entitled to do so after just two starts over obstacles and looks decent value for a place, at the very least.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Each-Way Tip
Selection: Any News each-way (50/1 with bet365).
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