The Supreme Novices Hurdle brings the curtain up on Cheltenham 2018 and punters have a real chance to get off to a flyer with odds compilers seemingly at a loss to nail down the winner. Labaik stole the show last year for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy off a monster 25/1 but there’s no hope of two-in-a-row.
Getabird is favourite in the antepost betting across the board, with williamhill.com marking the six-year-old up at 11/8 the weekend before the race. Willie Mullins’ gelding has been a popular pick of those looking to beat the rush and get their money down early, but we’ve seen in past renewals of this contest that being favourite doesn’t always guarantee success.
Here are some trends you should know about before sticking your neck on the line…..
Forget the fav – take a chance on a bigger price
The jolly has failed to deliver in each of the last two runnings of the Supreme Novices. Labaik’s win was preceded by Altior the year before at 4/1. In fact – and this one is worth sitting down for – only two favourites have won this race 13 renewals, and even one of those was joint-fav, Vautour (2014). That stat alone will be enough to scare shrewd backers off the market leader.
Mullins threat must be respected
Trainer Willie Mullins does have a fearsome reputation in this race and it’ll be a brave punter who opposes him, the star trainer winning three of the last five. He left empty-handed in each of the last two races but did win three on the bounce, Champagne Fever (2013), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015). All three victors were short in the betting, with no better than 5/1 the SP.
Each of last two winners have been six-year-olds
Six has been the magic number in recent times with a six-year-old winning the last two Supreme Novices, and half of the last 10. Will we get a hat-trick and, if so, who’s the runner to deliver it? It remains to be seen if he’ll run in the race, or target another Cheltenham challenge, but Samcro is a six-year-old who is more than capable of carrying the baton. Not only does the age fit but he’s guided by last year’s winning trainer Gordon Elliott and brings a 100% win record from six previous starts. Chalked up as a 6/4 second favourite but there’s few in a rush to write him off.
Early betting makes Summerville Boy worth a look
If you prefer to keep your stakes low and take a chance on something at a bigger price you may be interested to learn that the Supreme Novices is no stranger to an upset, giving five winners at double-figure odds in the last decade. Labaik was 25/1 SP last year but, in that period, there has been 2x 10/1 winners and a couple at 12/1. William Hill have one 10/1 shot in the antepost field – Summerville Boy, and one at 12/1 – Mengli Khan.