As we draw closer to the festival the more my hair stands on end with excitement knowing that I will be joining the huge crowds to grace the grounds of Prestbury Park on the 10th March ready to join in the Cheltenham ROAR as the tape is drawn on the first race of the Festival The Supreme Novice Hurdle.
This is a race I pay special attention to at the festival each year as my specialty is in maiden, juvenile and novice hurdlers, so all through the year I draw up my lists for the race as the season progresses.
I will be making notes adding or even taking horses off the lists and even putting them back on again all to build up a good solid picture of the horses which are going to contest the opener at Cheltenham and I always say if you can get a good winning wager behind you from the first race then it sets you up for the rest of festival.
The race is open to 4 year olds and above and is run over 2m 110yards.
Today I’m going to share with you what I might be looking for from some trends from previous races, so I can come up with my contender list for the race.
In the 94 running’s of this race to date the majority of winners have been made up of 5 & 6 year olds.
• 4 year olds -13 winners
• 5 year olds -39 winners
• 6 year olds -32 winners
• 7 year olds -6 winners
• 8 year olds -3 winners
• 12 year olds -1 winner
The last 4 year old to win was back in 1999- Hors la Loi.
The last 7 year old to win was back in 2008-Captain Cee Bee.
The last 8 year old to win was back in 2002-Like A Butterfly.
And then it’s a 50/50 split between the 5 & 6 year olds since 2009.
In the last five years only one favourite has won this race and that was Vautour last year, but the winner has come from the top 5 in the market in this time.
Also in the last five years, only once has the winning horse come to this race with a 100% record over the hurdles and again that was last years winner Vautour.
From the last 5 winners everyone has at least won one race with good in the going description.
Mr Mullins has won this race for the past 2 years so the UK contingent will be looking to take the honours back for this race.
Four of the last five winners has had an official rating in the one hundred and forties again the exception was last years winner.
Four of the last five winners have had 4 runs over hurdles before coming to this race again the exception being last years winner. (I have only included UK & IRE in this, though Vautour did run twice in France)
Those are few of the pointers I will be looking at for the race and I will be back with my final verdict nearer the time.