Antepost Punting: The Supreme Novices Hurdle

1pt each-way Blue Lord in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 33/1 (William Hill)

Ferny Hollow’s unfortunate setback left us without a horse in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and, in spite of looking at the betting at length in recent weeks, there had been nothing that had taken my fancy until today.

In a strange quirk of what I would like to believe is fate, I’ve plumped for the horse that was beaten today by the horse that chased home Ferny Hollow at Gowran Park in November, namely BLUE LORD.

The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned six-year-old made a successful Irish debut at Punchestown in November on the back of a 436 day absence. We know from experience that Willie Mullins likes to give high quality french recruits plenty of time to settle into life at Closutton, and connections may well reap the benefits of that patience this spring.

The Blue Bresil gelding took a sizeable step-up in both class and trip to contest the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle this afternoon, and he was far from disgraced in chasing home the hugely exciting Bob Olinger, who we have already backed for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 25/1 (and in the ‘any race’ market at 16/1).

While I was clearly paying close attention to Henry De Bromhead’s charge, my eye kept being drawn to Blue Lord, who was noticeably keen throughout the two-and-a-half-mile contest and therefore didn’t have enough left in the tank to challenge the impressive winner.

To the eye – I haven’t looked at the clock yet – they didn’t appear to go quick for the first mile-and-a-half and that obviously didn’t suit Willie Mullins’ charge. However, I can’t help but feel that he would be ideally suited by a strongly run race over the minimum distance – making the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle an obvious target.

Indeed, Elixir D’ainay finished second in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle last year before dropping back in trip for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and he was in the process of running a mighty race in the Festival curtain raiser before being brought-down by his wayward jumping stablemate Asterion Forlonge.

I can see the Irish champion trainer making the same decision regarding Cheltenham Festival targets and I feel that there is a distinct lack of depth beyond Appreciate It and Metier in the Supreme betting. Therefore 33/1 about Blue Lord could look extremely big come the day.

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