Cheltenham - At The Races

13:30 Cheltenham 13 Mar 2018

Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO plus)

Winner £71,188 - 19 ran

1

2m 87y

Heavy (Soft in places)

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Gary Nutting
by Gary Nutting

Published 8th February

CLAIMANTAKINFORGAN might be worth forgiving his recent odds-on reverse at Musselburgh as he’s drifted to a value price for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s 6yo was backed as if defeat was out of the question in Scotland and small wonder given the impression he’d created in winning his previous hurdle starts at Newbury and Ascot.

At the former course, he comfortably brushed aside Lostintranslation, who remains highly regarded by Colin Tizzard despite a subsequent flop in desperate ground at Haydock, and followed up in similarly decisive fashion at the royal venue.

Indeed, jockey Nico De Boinville was so taken with the Ascot success that he was moved to say: “He was very impressive. We went a proper gallop and it was a proper race. He jumps and travels great, and looks to have a big future.”

Certainly, he didn’t jump with his usual fluency - thereby putting himself on the back foot round such a sharp track - and produced the sort of performance overall that I’d be happy to put a line through given what he’d shown previously.

Although the gelding has winning form in the mud, the idea of prepping at Musselburgh was to take advantage of the forecast better ground - but more rain than anticipated fell there and conditions ended up quite testing.

Certainly, he didn’t jump with his usual fluency - thereby putting himself on the back foot round such a sharp track - and produced the sort of performance overall that I’d be happy to put a line through given what he’d shown previously.

A bigger field at Cheltenham should be more his cup of tea - he did after all finish third in last year’s Champion Bumper - and I like that he’s apparently seen as a specialist two-miler, this being his only Festival entry at the time of writing (handicaps remain an option).

The Irish particularly love a ‘banker’ in the meeting’s curtain-raiser and look assured of a short-priced favourite, most likely Getabird, though, Samcro might usurp him if switched from the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

Despite the pair’s multiple entries and different ownership, all the vibes suggest they won’t clash at Cheltenham which means the Willie Mullins-trained 6yo remains firmly at the head of the market.

Unbeaten in four starts, including two bumpers, Getabird represents the Mullins-Rich Ricci combination that has won three of the last five renewals, none of them going off bigger than 5-1.

Gary's Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):

SKY BET SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE (Tuesday 13th March)

1pt win CLAIMANTAKINFORGAN (20/1 Boyslesports, StanJames, OR 14/1 bet365, Paddy Power – all Non-Runner No Bet)

Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2017 Good to Soft 14 Labaik 6 11 7 - R11RR6 16 days G Elliott J W Kennedy 25/1 3:52.70
2016 Good to Soft 14 Altior 6 11 7 - 3-61111 80 days N Henderson (51 miles) N De Boinville 4/1 3:46.10
2015 Good to Soft 12 Douvan 5 11 7 - 2111 59 days W P Mullins R Walsh 2/1 3:47.50
2014 Good to Soft 18 Vautour 5 11 7 - 22-111 30 days W P Mullins R Walsh 7/2 3:46.40
2013 Soft 12 Champagne Fever 6 11 7 - 11-1231 31 days W P Mullins R Walsh 5/1 3:55.60
2012 Good 19 Cinders And Ashes 5 11 7 - 50-2111 52 days D McCain (62 miles) J Maguire 10/1 3:56.60
2011 Good 15 Al Ferof 6 11 7 - 12-F311 31 days P Nicholls (69 miles) R Walsh 10/1 3:52.20
2010 Good to Soft 18 Menorah 5 11 7 - 11212 24 days P Hobbs (90 miles) R Johnson 12/1 3:56.30
2009 Good to Soft 20 Go Native 6 11 7 - 1-12121 16 days N Meade Paul Carberry 12/1 4:01.00
2008 Good to Soft 22 Captain Cee Bee 7 11 7 - 723111 115 days E P Harty R Thornton 17/2 4:06.45