*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
The Cheltenham Festival 2021 will get underway with the traditional curtain-raiser – the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Run on the Old Course at a distance of just over 2m, the field – made up of horses aged four years or older – will have to negotiate eight flights as they vie for a share of the £125,000 prize pot.
There may be no iconic ‘Cheltenham Roar’ to accompany the start of the Grade 1 contest this year due to a lack of fans on site, but the competition remains as fierce as ever.
Appreciate It looks the horse to beat according to the betting markets, although there are seven other contenders hoping to challenge the Willie Mullins-trained charger.
Best of all, we’re dishing out a FREE £/€5 bet to every Paddy Power punter for the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Woof!
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Ruby Walsh: “APPRECIATE IT has the pace to win at 2m and we know he stays further as he won a 2m4f bumper. He’s a good jumper and ticks all the right boxes. All you have to worry about really is whether you’ll back him at the price. Maybe he’ll be better value on the day.
“I don’t think Paul Townend will have a difficult decision to make among Willie’s other runners to see who he might ride in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. If I was still riding, that’s who I would be on.”
FULL PREVIEW: SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST PICKS FROM RUBY WALSH
Matt Chapman: “These are the fastest ground conditions that APPRECIATE IT has encountered, but he’s going to take all the beating for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend and there should be a huge virtual roar as he powers up the hill.”
Andrew Cunneen: “The big benefactor here could be METIER – the impressive Tolworth Hurdle winner who I believe is the best novice in Britain this year given how he both travels with relative ease and the emphatic nature he finishes off races to boot”
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Gina Bryce: “As is often the case a short-priced favourite from the yard of six-time winner Willie Mullins dominates the betting with Appreciate It many punters’ idea of the first banker of the week. However, I think last year’s Bumper runner up may have his work cut out against the high-class flat recruit METIER.”
Mick Fitzgerald: “BALLYADAM is a strong traveller and made a mistake late on at Leopardstown when beaten by Appreciate It. He can get a lot closer now.”
FULL PREVIEW: MICK FITZGERALD’S BEST BETS FOR DAY ONE OF THE FESTIVAL
Paddy Power: “I’ve also been a fan of BALLYADAM and I think he could take on Appreciate It. He might want better ground but there’s some value in Ballyadam over Appreciate It.
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Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trainers’ verdicts
Willie Mullins, trainer of Appreciate It and Blue Lord: “Appreciate It has done nothing wrong this season and is in tip-top shape. He was second in last year’s Champion Bumper so we know he’ll handle the track. We’re very happy with him and hopefully he’ll get our meeting off to a good start. Blue Lord jumps very well and ran a good race when third to Appreciate It last time. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him finish in the first three.
Harry Fry, trainer of Metier: “We couldn’t be more pleased with his preparation. We were delighted with the rain on Sunday evening. We’ve kept him fresh for this race and we’re really excited about his chances. He won the Tolworth really well and has impressed in everything he’s done in three starts for us. He’ll have to progress again but there’s no reason why he can’t keep climbing the ladder.
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Ballyadam and Irascible: “Ballyadam seems good. He travelled without any hiccups. I know people might say the ground softening is not to his advantage, but it will be lovely, fresh ground and I’m sure he’ll cope fine with it. Irascible has been running well all season and I’ve been very happy with him. He should run well.”
Jonjo O’Neill, trainer of Soaring Glory: “He’s in grand form and came out of winning the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury well. He’s taking on some good horses and the ground getting softer probably wouldn’t help him but we’ll take our chance.”
Chris Honour, trainer of Grumpy Charley: “On ratings there isn’t too much for him to find and he beat a good horse last time in Eamon An Cnoic giving away a lot of weight. He’s in great form and has improved with every run this season. If he improves as much as he did last time then he could be flying. The rain will help his chances too. It’s obviously a competitive race but we’re going there without fear and believe he has a decent chance.”
Alex Hales, trainer of For Pleasure: “He came out of Newbury well and deserves to take his chance. He was giving weight away in the Betfair Hurdle and is 11lb better off with the winner. He’s adaptable in terms of ground, having won the Grade 2 trial on soft ground at Cheltenham. We’ll try to make the running and hopefully save enough for the second half of the race. It’s a competitive contest but we’re looking forward to running him.”
Today at the Cheltenham Festival
- Cheltenham LIVE! The latest updates from Day 1 at the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: ALL of today’s selections in one handy widget
- Cheltenham results: Have you had a winner? Find out with our Fast Results
When is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle?
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winners at last five festivals
2020 – Shishkin (Horse), Nico de Boinville (Jockey), Nicky Henderson (Trainer)
2019 – Klassical Dream, Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins
2018 – Summerville Boy, Noel Fehily, Tom George
2017 – Labaik, Jack Kennedy, Gordon Elliott
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES
March 16 – 13.20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 16 – 13.55 – Arkle Chase latest odds and tips
March 16 – 15.05 – Champion Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 16 – 15.40 – Mares’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 17 – 13.20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 17 – 13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 17 – 15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase latest odds and tips
March 17 – 16.50 – Champion Bumper latest odds and tips
March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips
March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips
Cheltenham Festival Day One schedule
13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y
14.30 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f
15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y
16.15 – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y
16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y
*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.
Cheltenham Day 2 Tips
- Pundits’ Cheat Sheet for all Wednesday’s races
- Ruby Walsh’s Cheat Sheet for Wednesday’s renewals
- Mick Fitzgerald’s best bets for Day 2
- Frank Hickey’s best bets for all 7 races on Wednesday
- Timeform’s slick picks for every race on Day 2
Read More on Cheltenham 2021
- Cheltenham Festival dates, race times and top tips from our experts
- Cheltenham Festival: Willie Mullins’ top runners rated and slated
- Cheltenham Festival going and weather plus latest track conditions ahead of day one
- Paddy Power Cheltenham Offer for NEW and EXISTING customers for 2021 Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Our pundits Cheat Sheet for all of Tuesday’s races
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh’s Cheat Sheet for all of Tuesday’s races