Cheltenham Tips: Rory Delargy’s ante-post fancies for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Where better to start than the first Cheltenham Festival 2023 race? As always, Rory has done his homework!

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*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules.

It’s getting closer! The countdown is on to the Cheltenham Festival 2023 and racing fans will be eyeing a little bit of insight into every race, so we’ve got jump jockey icon turned tactical guru Ruby Walsh and top pundit Rory Delargy with us every week to hopefully get you more bang for your buck.

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle kicks off proceedings on Tuesday, March 14th so we’ll start there too.

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Our dynamic duo will be doing weekly ante-post podcasts to deliver their early thoughts on every race – amazing, eh?

Will Willie Mullins’ Facile Vega bolt up like the market suggests? Or is it worth looking elsewhere and siding with Marine Nationale, Impaire Et Passe or Tahmuras?

RORY DELARGY: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The pattern with very short ante-post favourites at the Festival is that they are often bigger after declarations – the best example of this is three-time Stayers’ Hurdle winner Big Buck’s, who was a red-hot ante-post favourite for the 2010 and 2011 editions but was offered odds-against in the ring on the day. Bookies, both off and on-course will always look to get money ‘in the hod’ for the first race of the meeting as customer retention is more valuable than a safety-first approach.

In short, the above is advice to avoid backing Facile Vega ante-post even though his claims are clear. Backing favourites in this race has not been a great move historically, and it’s a race where the winners have needed a slice of luck as well as class given it can be run at a breakneck gallop, but the trend recently has been for smaller fields and that tends to suit the classier horses. Facile Vega would be only the second winner of the Champion Bumper to follow up in the Supreme since Montelado in 1993, so the stats are against him, but it was Willie Mullins who trained the most recent winner in Champagne Fever, and Willie tends to run riot against the stats merchants. I won’t be opposing him lightly, if at all.

8/11
Facile Vega Supreme Novices Hurdle (Antepost)

Marine Nationale is the main threat on paper, with his Royal Bond win working out and coming in conditions which probably don’t suit him. The better the ground in March, the better his chance, but it’s worth noting that trainer and jockey are relative newcomers to the Cheltenham Festival and experience counts for plenty, and not just for the horses.

5/1
Marine Nationale Supreme Novices Hurdle (Antepost)

Impaire Et Passe looked a stayer on debut over 2¼m but didn’t seem short of speed at Punchestown on Sunday, so enters the reckoning, but punters have been quick to latch on, and he’ll be going much faster at Cheltenham.

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Tahmuras is better than he looked when winning the Tolworth, where he walked through the last two hurdles. Winning at Sandown isn’t always pretty and the key to that contest is how powerfully he travelled. He can do better again, but I’d hope to see him run again before March in order to sharpen up his jumping. Paul Nicholls likens him to Noland and Al Ferof who won the Supreme by outstaying their rivals, and it’s notable that both those horses were having their fifth run over hurdles when winning the Supreme, with the pair having a prep in February.

Il Etait Temps could become overpriced because punters tend to look at horses that have been beaten by the favourite already. I could see him becoming a decent price.

Rory’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Antepost Tips

Facile Vega

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules.

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