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CHELTENHAM: Will we get another Altior or a Labaik?
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CHELTENHAM: Will we get another Altior or a Labaik?
on 23 January 2019
Finding the winner of the opening race at the Cheltenham Festival is key for punters

The 2019 Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday, March 12th.

Between now and then, horse racing fans will spend countless hours studying form and watching replays of all the trial races.

The four-day fixture is one of the biggest betting events in the sporting calendar. Punters will be trawling the internet in search of special offers, most of which are listed in this article.

There are 28 races in total and getting off to a good start is half the battle. With that in mind, we have carried out extensive analysis of the last 10 runnings of the opening race, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

In 2018 the opening race was won by 9/1 shot Summerville Boy,

a mild surprise as the Willie Mullins-trained Getabird failed to run to his best.

There was an even bigger shock in 2017 when Labaik triumphed at 25/1.

Neither Labaik nor Summerville Boy have managed to win a race of any description since their Cheltenham success, which is unusual for winners of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The 2016 edition was won by Altior, who has continued on a long winning streak since then and is now unbeaten in 17 starts over obstacles.

So, will the 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle give us another Altior or another Labaik? We think these key trends will help you find the winner.

• Last 10 winners were all 5 or 6 year olds.

• Last 10 winners had all run either 4 or 5 times over hurdles.

• From the last 16 winners only Altior and Captain Cee Bee were unbeaten over hurdles. However only three of the last 22 winners were beaten on their previous run.

• Last six winners had all won at least a G3 Novice Hurdle.

• The last 63 runners to have their previous run in a non novice hurdle have been unsuccessful. Although Kalashnikov came close last year beware those coming from winning performances in big handicaps such as the Betfair Hurdle. At short prices, Get Me Out Of Here, My Tent Or Yours and Ballyandy from that route also beaten here in recent years.

• Despite Getabird’s disappointing run last year, in the previous five renewals Willie Mullins had trained at least one horse to finish in the first two, winning three. In total Mr Mullins has won this 5 times going back to Tourist Attraction in ‘95.

• Champagne Fever 2013 (W Mullins) is the only horse since Montelado in 1993 to have completed the Champion Bumper/Supreme double in consecutive years. Nothing that ran in the Champion Bumper has won this since Champagne Fever. In the last decade five others were unsuccessful in their attempt to complete the double ranging in prices from 4/5 (Dunquib) to 17/2 (Cork All Star).

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