Adrian Wall is back with his weekly Cheltenham Festival blog. We are less than two weeks away from the greatest show on turf so the excitement is building. This week we will take a look at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race of the festival.
The one to beat
Willie Mullins has won this race four times from the past eight renewals. He has certainly mastered the Grade 1 contest and the master of Closutton will unleash hot favourite Appreciate It in two weeks time.
At the time of posting, the seven-year-old is the 7-4 market leader and deservedly so. Just touched off by Ferny Hollow in last season’s Champion Bumper, he has done everything right over hurdles this season.
Sent into Grade 1 company on his second start over timber after a nice success at Cork, he destroyed a quality field in the Grade 1 Future Champion Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown in December before going on to taste success at the Dublin Racing Festival.
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The horse to back
Ballyadam has been thumped by Appreciate It twice this season now but did get a lot closer to him at the Dublin Racing Festival. He will certainly be seen to better effect at Cheltenham on fresher spring ground and is better than that bare form.
He does have an entry in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle but the Supreme should be set up perfectly for him. Appreciate It was galloping rather than quickening hitting the line the last day so he might be vulnerable going up the Cheltenham hill.
JJ Codd said that Ballyadam was probably the best horse to ever run at Downpatrick which were bold words. We haven’t seen the very best of him yet and he could be peaking at the right time.