Navan’s Sunday card revolved around one horse, Andy Dufresne, who had been priorly touted for leading roles at the Cheltenham Festival. Racing at long odds-on, the shine was taken off his immediate reputation with a disappointing defeat. Given the potential of Andy Dufresne, I’ll be focusing on his performance, and why I believe he should be dropping back in distance for the Supreme. For our horse racing tips, check on site now.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of Andy Dufresne’s defeats was the fact the race was laid up for him on a silver platter. He was given the office to boss and dominate the race, left alone in an uncontested length lead for most of the contest. Still travelling kindly before the third last, he never looked likely to pull away when asked for his effort, eventually overhauled by Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition.
A very easy course and distance winner on his prior start, there are very little excuses to be drawn from his performance. That flashy turn of foot he showed in that prior success was nowhere to be seen and he looked disappointingly once-paced over a distance he won over previously.
It’s far too soon to be giving up on him just yet, given his reputation, and that effort did suggest that the Supreme could be the perfect race for him. The Festival opener is always a stiff two-mile test and given his performances thus far, there’s plenty of reason to believe that contest would play to his strengths.
Andy Dufresne clearly isn’t lacking in stamina, travelling powerfully and surging clear late to land a 2m 4f contest at Navan on hurdling debut. That success was also gained on soft to heavy ground, which would have made it even more of a difficult staying task.
As previously mentioned, the Supreme is a race that takes a lot of getting. The combination of a hotly-contested pace and the stiff climb up the Cheltenham Hill means it’s a very long way home for the younger horses. Barring Summerville Boy’s success in 2018, most recent renewals have been won by a horse whose flown away at the finish. Klassical Dream, Altior, Douvan and Vautour are all examples of this.
Winning both his bumper and maiden hurdle by either leading or tracking the pace, Andy Dufresne also possesses plenty of raw speed. He’s a strong traveller and you need to be in a race like the Supreme, with it being very rare that the race isn’t run at a very strong, end-to-end gallop.
It’s paid to be close to the speed in recent renewals of the Supreme too, with the majority of winners since 2010 all being prominent throughout the contest. With his combination of speed and stamina, it really should be a race he can relish.
On both his hurdling starts thus far, he’s really impressed with his slick and economical jumping. He barely put a foot wrong in a very eye-catching debut victory and even though he lost his unbeaten run last time, he only made one mistake of note.
As previously mentioned, the Supreme tends to be electric throughout, and it’s a race that really punishes jumping errors. Given what he’s shown so far, he certainly wouldn’t have a problem keeping up in that department.