Supreme Novices Hurdle: 2m, Tuesday, March 15, 1:30pm
Key stat: 17 of the last 19 winners won last time out
A Willie Mullins benefit in the past three years with Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan all delivering. Ante-post favourite Min is out to give the Irish trainer, jockey Ruby Walsh and owner Rich Ricci a fourth successive winner.
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has been Ireland’s best race at the meeting of the long-standing races at the Festival winning 14 of the last 24 contests. Nicky Henderson has not saddled the winner for 24 years – but has 10 second, third or fourth-place finishers in the last nine years alone. His Altior and Buveur D’Air could be the biggest dangers to the favourite.
Four of the last 14 winners finished in the first five in the previous season’s Champion Bumper making that the best individual race guide in recent seasons. Last year’s winner Moon Racer looks like making his hurdling debut in this race, but there’s also Supasundae (sixth) who led to the final furlong in that contest.
As many as 17 of the last 21 winners ran in the previous 45 days, and only one horse that raced on the Flat has finished in the first three in the last eight years. That was a subsequent Champion Hurdler in Binocular which tells us a lot as to how the Supreme has altered.