Cheltenham Ante-Post #7 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Ante-Post Preview #7 – 03/03/2019

2m½f Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – Tuesday 12th March 2019

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the traditional Cheltenham Festival curtain raiser, always preceded by the famous Cheltenham roar of a crowd full of anticipation and excitement. Run over a fast paced two-miles, this is one of the most competitive Novice Hurdles of the season. The Supreme has a fantastic roll of honor including the likes of Altior, Douvan, Vautour, Al Ferof and Champagne Fever in recent years – so it clearly takes a classy horse to win. Last year the race was won by Tom George’s Summerville Boy, and we look to have an even more competitive renewal this year with no Willie Mullins hot-pot at the front of the market.

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Cheltenham Ante-Post #6 – Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

Ante-Post Preview #6 – 27/02/2019

2m4f Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) – Tuesday 12th March 2019

The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase is run over two-and-a-half-miles and is limited to Novice Chasers rated 145 or below. This rating band changed from 0-140 last season, and in result we now have an extremely competitive handicap. Last season the bottom weight ran from a mark of 137, and this year we look set for another tightly matched field. Mister Whitaker won from that bottom weight in 2018, but the nature of the race means that the top weights won’t have as difficult a task as they may have in a traditional handicap – we could see as little as 5lbs between the field this year.

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Cheltenham Ante-Post #5 – Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Ante-Post Preview #5 – 26/02/2019

2m½f Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – Wednesday 13th March 2019

The Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is one of two races at the Cheltenham Festival for four-year-olds, and this race is usually made up of horses not quite up to Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle standard. Last year the race was won by Gordon Elliot’s Veneer Of Charm, with the likes of Diego Du Charmil and Sanctuaire also on the honors list. The race is run over two-miles-and-half-a-furlong on Wednesday of the Festival and is the last race over obstacles on the Old Course, before action switches over to the New Course the following day.

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Cheltenham Ante-Post #4 – JLT Novices’ Chase

Ante-Post Preview #4 – 13/02/2019

2m4f JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – Thursday 14th March 2019

The JLT Novices’ Chase is one of three Championship Novice races for Steeplechasers, and opens Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. The race is run over an intermediate distance of 2m4f, and last year was won by the likeable Mare Shattered Love. Since the races’ inception in 2011 Willie Mullins has struck up an impressive four wins (50% strike rate!), most memorably when Vautour demolished his rivals by fifteen lengths in one of the all-time great Cheltenham Festival performances. In a weird season which has been halted by both the weather and Equine Flu, we’re set for another competitive renewal. Continue reading “Cheltenham Ante-Post #4 – JLT Novices’ Chase”