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Supreme Novices Hurdle preview

As the Black Eyed Peas sang, let's get it started! The Festival kicks off tomorrow with my favourite race of the week, the (William Hill) Supreme Novices' Hurdle. It's a high class race, usually featuring a new star on the scene, and sets the tone for the week. Returning to the blog to preview this cracking encounter is The Young Racegoer (blog), Calum Madell. He is heavily plugging the race sponsor on his site this week, so as part of his 'fee', I'll share his links. In case you weren't aware, they are betting five places on this race, which was generous if it was a field of 18, it's madness if they can keep the win book % similar to their rivals with just a dozen to greet the starter!

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1:30 – William Hill Supreme Novices´ Hurdle Grade 1 (Class 1) (4yo+)

The William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the Festival showcase and it sees My Tent Or Yours go off a strong favourite. He is already rated 161 after winning the Betfair Hurdle in incredibly comfortable style last time out off 147. Before that his only defeat had come behind Chatterbox in heavy ground on New Year’s Eve but since that he hacked up at Huntingdon and then as mentioned couldn’t be any more impressive next time. For that reason he looks unopposable but the ground won’t be his ideal and there is a suspicion in my eyes that the Supreme is just not a race that will suit him. It certainly won’t be a speed test and though his class will mean he will travel very well, I wouldn’t be backing him at the odds he is. Certain stats are also against him, some novelty, some less so and all in all I’d rather be leaving.

Jezki also represents JP McManus but he’s certainly one I’d be wanting to oppose he’s a thorough speed horse and though the ground will suit, a flatter track is for me what he needs. A lack of a run also is a negative in my eyes.

The defection of Melodic Rendezvous today is a real loss to the race though Ireland’s chances are boosted by Un Atout, unbeaten in two starts and very hard to gauge how good he is and the Champion Bumper winner from last year Champagne Fever. The ground is also in his favour but I don’t think he is good enough to be winning this.

The best chance of a home winner is Dodging Bullets who has rock solid form on the table, including a win round here and a third In the Christmas Hurdle last time out. He is second highest rated coming into the race and that rating of 156 would be good enough to win virtually every Supreme over the past few years.

PUFFIN BILLY meanwhile comes here now due to the rain and despite losing his unbeaten run last time, is one I would not ignore at the prices at all. He looked top class before last time out and he clearly wasn’t right that day (subsequently found out to be wrong too) and with a stronger pace likely to suit him to defect his regular keenness and also with the ground absolutely fine, he is certainly one I would not ignore.

The exact same can be said for CAUSE OF CAUSES and both were my antepost bets last month and I have no reason at all to not stick by them. He ran a poor race last time out in the Betfair but that was in a very slowly run race and it clearly wasn’t his running. Before that he won the Ladbroke in great style from the rear and also beat the smart Midnight Game in a small field. That is rock solid form and with a rating already of 152, he is well up to the standard to run a big race. 33/1 is an absolutely massive price considering he stays well, will relish the ground and the good pace of the race.

River Maigue is the second string to the favourite and though you can totally forget his last run when second to Far West in a joke of a race, he is very much long term for me.

2011 Champion Bumper winner Cheltenian made a good return from a long layoff last month but this is a major ask now while Pique Sous is rated just 129 and needs to step up hugely. Fire King and Ostentation would both be major shocks.

Already advised in an antepost preview (only on his site)–
Puffin Billy 2pts win @12/1 generally
Cause Of Causes 1pt e/w @20/1 generally

Today's Advice
Cause Of Causes 1pt e/w 5 PLACES with William Hill @25/1

Read more of Calum's work on his excellent blog or follow him on Twitter @calummadell

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