Cheltenham 2017 – SkyBet Supreme Novices Hurdle


13:30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+, 2m 110y)

‘ The 2017 Roar’ kicks off  with the Supreme Novices Hurdle a grade one event run over a distance just over two miles.

Likely to be run at a cracking pace with a big field it’s been a good hunting ground for the Irish over  the last two decades with around a 60{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} strike rate.

Willie Mullins has won this race five times since Tourist Attraction in 1995 and he has the current favourite with his five-year-old Melon. Short priced favourites have suffered here albeit this one is a general 4/1 favourite to press and with Ruby Walsh likely to be in the saddle.

Second favourite Ballyandy, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and is well experienced around the course with two wins and a third placed finish at the trip.

We’ll be making our minds up over the weekend but below are some key stats to check out that may influence your selection?

Bonus is that this is one of the ‘SkyBet – Money Back If You Lose – Non Runner No Bet’ features on the opening race each day……so would be rude not to put something up on that basis!!!


Let’s check out some of the stats for this one……..

  • Grade 2 winner or placed Grade 1
  • Rated 140+
  • All of the last 5 winners won LTO and
  • 17 of the last 19 winners won LTO
  • Of the last 21 winners all but four had run during the previous 45 days
  • Irish charges have won 15 of the last 25 renewals
  • Nicky Henderson has not won a Supreme in 25 years
  • Only one Supreme winner has been off the course for more than 68 days
  • 10 of the last 13 favourites to be sent off at 2/1 or shorter in the Supreme were beaten ( Min suffered the same fate last year)
  • Four of the last 14 winners finished in the first five in last season’s Champion Bumper
  • All of the last 5 winners were aged 5 or 6yo
  • Front running prominent charges do well
  • Previous experience in last year’s Champion Bumper has been a bonus

According to Ben at ‘Narrowing The Field’….the biggest stat that the favourite has to overcome is…

If Melon is to justify Supreme Hurdle favouritism he will need to be the first horse in 20 renewals to do it off one solitary hurdle start…

Melon has been a bit of a ‘wobbler’ in the market at various times since his impressive 10L Leopardstown maiden cruise but he still, somehow, remains favourite for the festival opener.


The last 19 Supreme’s have seen 34 horses try and win the race off the back of only ONE previous hurdle start. They have returned the following figures…

0/34 | 0{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} S/R | -£34.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 1/34 | 3{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} S/R

Only ONE even PLACED!

If it was a weak Supreme I could maybe understand his place at the head of the market but I don’t think it is a weak renewal, far from it. There are a number of potentially very good animals lurking behind him in the betting.

Furthermore it’s hardly as if his Leopardstown maiden has worked out all that well either. Seven have run since, zero have won, one has placed.

Can Melon really become the first Supreme winner in 20 years with the minimum of experience under his belt?

The defence…

The Mullins/Walsh record on last time out winners over the 16f-20f trips.

Assuming Ruby Walsh rides Melon there is a very strong Mullins/Walsh combo record that boosts the 5yo’s chances. The stats from the last six years for the above trend are…

18/32 | 56{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} S/R | +£53.35 BFLSP – Win & Place 25/32 | 78{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} S/R

That’s a damn strong record from the duo. Mind you Min was a qualifier last year and he got turned over…


Melon could be anything, we simply don’t know enough about him to make a serious judgement on him, but the stats are just pulling me away from him enough to make me want to look elsewhere…

I’ll be interested to see if he makes my trends shortlist for the race although at a quick glance I’d be very surprised should that happen…



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SkyBet Cheltenham 2016

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