Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips – Who Wins Festival Opener?

Check out our Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ Hurdle tips from our panel of horse racing experts ahead of Cheltenham’s opening race.

Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips

The first race of the Cheltenham Festival threw up some mixed views from the panel at the BoyleSports Cheltenham Preview night at the Bardic Theatre last Friday evening.

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You can listen to our panel of horse racing experts previewing the opening race at The Festival in the video below.

Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ Hurdle NAPs

David Casey – Facile Vega @ 11/4 with BoyleSports

Denis O’Regan – Dark Raven EW @ 20/1 with BoyleSports

Peter Fahey – Marine Nationale @ 7/2 with BoyleSports

Robbie Power – Il Etait Temps @ 9/2 & High Definition EW @ 10/1 with BoyleSports

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Preview

David Casey

“I keep the faith (in Facile Vega after Leopardstown).

Paul gave him a braindead ride. He went too fast – they went 7f pace.

He was 6 seconds quicker than the Handicap Hurdle and 3.5 seconds quicker than the Champion Hurdle, on the same day.

He just done the damage early. Paul knew the game was up and just gave up on him. He still actually finished ahead and finished faster than Gaelic Warrior did, timewise. When you look at the two races. He’ll be alright.   

“It [Leopardstown] was a bad run. You’d prefer it didn’t happen. He was lame for a week after. He got a bad overreach in the race, but he worked very well yesterday and Patrick actually rode him yesterday and was delighted with him. I’d forgive any horse one bad run. We forgave Shishkin!”

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Denis O’Regan

“I’d be a little bit negative on Facile Vega. He’s obviously a quality horse but if he jumped the last or the second last in Leopardstown and he finished fifth, third, fourth, getting tired, I would sit down and blame the ride, but I thought he was beaten quite early in the race, and I’d be nervous of that going into Cheltenham.

I actually fancy, at a big price, a horse called Dark Raven of Willie’s, for a bit of each way value.

Only for the fact that I rode a nice horse the other day in Gowran Park called Doctor Bravo and he beat him in his maiden at Leopardstown. To me that would be good each way value at a big price.”      

Peter Fahey

I don’t think Facile Vega stands much of a chance to be honest with you.

Even if they change tactics going back to Cheltenham… like, he’s never jumped a hurdle behind a horse, so I reckon he could go to Cheltenham and run way too keen.

I like Barry Connell’s horse Marine Nationale. He was very good. Things didn’t work out for him the last day when he won the Royal Bond, but he’d be my pick of the race.”

Robbie Power

“The fact that Willie [Mullins] is probably going to run four or five in this race. If Willie has a really hot one, he doesn’t do that…

he divides them up and sends them in different ways, so I think the fact they’re going to run four here, but I agree with what the lads are saying.

I think High Definition, not ideal going into the Supreme on your second run, unseating at the fourth hurdle, has an each way chance and is probably over-priced. Of Willie’s selection, I think Il Etait Temps is probably better value to run his race. I think backing Facile Vega is dodgy at this stage.” 

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Preview

Facile Vega – Supreme Novice Hurdle Favourite 2/1

Last time out the six-year-old gelding W-P Mullins trained gelding had it’s first career defeat coming 5/6 horses on the 5th of February 2023 coming 20 lengths a-back from eventual winner Il Etait Temps. Prior to this defeat the horse had been in imperious form winning its first six races by an accumulative 41 lengths starting 26th December 2021 in Leopardstown to a victory on the 27th December 2022 on the same track.

The horse also has Cheltenham form winning the Champion Bumper during the 2022 Festival. This was the horse’s latest defeat – is it a sign of a chink in his armour or will he return to his imperious best for Cheltenham? Facile Vega is currently a 2/1 favourite to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Marine Nationale – Supreme Novice Hurdle Second Favourite 7/2

Last time out the impressive six-year-old gelding won in an 8-horse-field over the 2-mile trip in Fairyhouse on the 4th of December 2022. That win made it the horses fourth success from four races in which it has won by a cumulative 19 lengths across 3 race-courses Punchestown (2), Killarney and Fairyhouse.

Barry Connell who is both the Trainer and Owner of this impressive gelding will be hoping the unbeaten record can stay in-tact and he can win again this March at the Cheltenham Festival. Marine Nationale is currently 7/2 to come good again at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Impaire Et Passe – 4/1

The five-year-old gelding is another undefeated member of this field and on his most recent run he won on the 15th of January in Punchestown beating a five-horse-field by 6.5 lengths over the 2-mile trip. The horse has won three from three races in its career with a cumulative 30.5 lengths margin-of-victory across three racecourses Nancy, Naas and Punchestown.

Another member of the W-P Mullins team, Impaire Et Passe is currently 4/1 to win the Supreme Novice Hurdle.

Il Etait Temps –  6/1

The last time we saw this five-year-old gelding was when he won on the 5th of February over the two-mile-trip in Leopardstown against a six-horse-field. That day he finished 9.5 lengths ahead of second-placed Inthepocket. Interestingly, that was Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Facile Vega’s only defeat as he came in fifth in that race.

In this horse’s previous race on the 27th of December 2022 at Leopardstown Facile Vega had beaten him by four lengths over the 2-mile-trip. Despite not boasting a record as good as the aforementioned horses above, Il Etait Temps has won two out its last three races and is a 6/1 shot to take the prize for W-P Mullins’ team.

Luccia – 7/1

Last time out this five-year-old won on 12th of February over a 2-mile ½ furlong trip in Exeter by beating a six-horse-field. This horse boasts another impressive undefeated streak which started in Warwick in January of 2022 and has gone on to win in Sandown, Newbury, and Exeter by a cumulative forty lengths.

The Nicky Henderson trained mare Luccia is a 7/1 chance to stay undefeated and claim the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Gaelic Warrior – 7/1

In his most recent outing the five-year-old gelding made it 3 wins on-the-spin for W-P Mullins and his team. Gaelic Warrior has been on an impressive run which started on the 6th of December 2022 where it won by an incredible 86 lengths in Tramore over a 2-mile-trip. The horse also won on the 17th of January in Clonmel by 15 lengths. That makes its cumulative margin-of-victory in its last 3 races 104¾ lengths!

The horse last suffered defeat during the 2022 Cheltenham Festival when he was beaten by a short head in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. Gaelic Warrior is a 7/1 chance to make it four wins on-the-spin in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival this March.

Cheltenham Race Previews & Tips
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Supreme Novices Hurdle The Ballymore Ryanair Chase Gold Cup
Arkle Chase Brown Advisory
Champion Hurdle Coral Cup
Mares Hurdle Champion Chase
Cross Country

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Cheltenham Supreme Novices' Hurdle Odds

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