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Supreme Novice Hurdle 2015 Stats
Tue, Mar 10th, 2015

The opening race of the Cheltenham Festival is the Supreme Novices Hurdle. It is run over the same distance ( 2 miles and 110 yards) as the Champion Hurdle and horses winning this might be expected to contest that race in the following season. The last horse to win both the Supreme Novices and Champion Hurdle was Brave Inca (2004 & 2006). The 2014 Champion Hurdle winner had finished third in the 2013 Supreme.

The 2014 Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Vautour had embarked on a Novice chase campaign so if there is a Champion Hurdle winner to come from the 2013 race the  third home look like the most likely candidate is the third home Vaniteux.

In all the Supreme Novices' Hurdle roll of honur includes one winner who doubled up in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and three in the Stan James Champion Hurdle. L'Escargot won in 1968, before consecutive Gold Cup triumphs in 1970 and 1971. Bula scored in 1970, before Champion Hurdle victories in 1971 and 1972, the 2002 Stan James Champion Hurdle winner Hors La Loi III took the race in 1999, and Brave Inca captured the Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2006, having landed the novice event two years earlier. The best renewal of recent times was probably the 2011 race - the  2013 Champion Chaser Sprinter Sacre finished third with the 2013 Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card a place further back in fourth. 

Sky Bet are now Non Runner No Bet on the 2015 Supreme Novices Hurdle

Supreme Novice Hurdle Stats 2004-2014

  • 10 out of 11 won last time out
  • Vautour the first winning favourite since 2004
  • Just 3 of the last 17 horses to start at 3/1 or less have won
  • 10 of the last 11 came from the first 6 in the betting
  • Five champion bumper winners have contested this since 2007 finishing 7 5 3 4 1
  • 9 out of 11 had a prep run between 16 and 52 days beforehand
  • Paul Nicholls has trained two winners since 2006
  • Nicky Henderson has sent out 26 runners since last winning this race in 1992 with Flown.
  • Henderson horses overturned in recent season include My Tent or Yours (2nd) Darlan (2nd), Spirit Son (2nd), Sprinter Sacre (3rd) and Oscar Whisky (4th)
  • The Irish have won 6/11

Supreme Novice Hurdle Winners 2004-2014

LR = Last Run, FOF = Fate of favourite, MP = Market Position of Winner

We have analysed the form of the Cheltenham Festival's three winning most jockeys since 1946 - Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and AP McCoy in this article.

Supreme Novice Hurdle Trivia

  • The race was originally known as the Gloucestershire Hurdle.
  • Between 1948 and 1972 the race was split into two divisions.
  • Between 1954 and 1959 Vincent O'Brien trained the winner 9 times.
  • Tommy Burns rode 7 of O'Briens 9 winners during this spell.
  • Since 1972 no jockey or trainer has won the race more than twice.
  • Irish trained horses won seven successive renewals between 1977-83
  • The overall breakdown by age since the race was run as single division in 1972 is 4yo - 2 wins, 5yo - 16 wins, 6yo - 19 wins, 7yo - 2 wins, 8yo - 2 wins.
  • The longest-priced winner was Arctic Kinsman at 50/1 in 1994,
  • The 2007 victor Ebaziyan is one of only two 40/1 shots to have scored.
  • The shortest-priced winners at 4/9 were Tsaoko in 1950 and Flyingbolt in 1964.
  • Favourites have been successful eight times (20 per cent) in the 40 runnings since 1972.
  • The 1993 winner, Montelado is the only horse to have won consecutive Festival races, landing the Champion Bumper in 1992, the last race of that year's meeting, and returning to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 1993, the first race 12 months later.


Susannah Ricci has owned the last three winners ( Champagne Fever- Vautour - Douvan).

Previously Jim Joel enjoyed three successes with Beau Normand (1961, Division 1), Deetease (1963, Division 3) and Beacon Light (1976). Since the race ceased to be divided in 1972, the other most successful owners are J P McManus and John Hales, who have both owned two winners. McManus was successful with Like-A-Butterfly (2002) and Captain Cee Bee (2008), while Hales triumphed with Noland (2006) and Al Ferof (2011).

Before the Supreme Novices' Hurdle ceased to be divided, the most successful trainer was Vincent O'Brien, who landed an amazing 10 divisions between 1952 and 1959. Since 1972  Willie Mullins is leading supreme novices trainer with five wins  (Tourist Attraction (1995), Ebaziyan (2007) Champagne Fever (2013) Vautour (2014)  and Douvan (2015). A total of seven trainers have won the race twice. Mick O'Toole (Mac's Chariot (1977), Hartstown (1981)), Edward O'Grady (Golden Cygnet (1978), Back in Front (2003)), Nicky Henderson (River Ceiriog (1986), Flown (1992)), Martin Pipe (Sondrio (1989), Hors La Loi III (1999)), Pat Flynn (Montelado (1993), French Ballerina (1998)), , Noel Meade (Sausalito Bay (2002), Go Native (2009)) and Paul Nicholls (Noland (2006), Al Ferof (2011)).

Before 1972, the most successful jockey was Tommy Burns, who landed seven divisions between 1955 and 1959.

Since the race ceased to be divided  Ruby Walsh has won five times  (2005, 2011,2013, 2014 and 2015). Two time winners are Charlie Swan (1993 and 2002), Tommy Carmody (1980 and 1983), Niall 'Boots' Madden (1978 and 1981), Jamie Osborne (1992 & 1997), Paul Carberry (2000 & 2009) and have each won the race twice.

The longest-priced winner was Arctic Kinsman at 50/1 in 1994, while the 2007 victor Ebaziyan is one of only two 40/1 shots to have scored. The shortest-priced winners at 4/9 were Tsaoko in 1950 and Flyingbolt in 1964. Favourites have been successful 9 times (20 per cent) in the 42 runnings since 1972.

The oldest horse by far to have won was 12-year-old Beau Caprice in 1966 (Div One). At the other end of the scale, 13 four-year-olds have been successful, although none since Hors La Loi in 1999.

The overall breakdown by age since the race was run as single division in 1972 is as follows:
4yo - 2 wins
5yo - 17 wins
6yo - 18 wins
7yo - 2 wins
8yo - 2 wins

The fastest time for the winning horse was achieved by Montelado in 1993 at 3m 50.6s. French Ballerina came close to that record in 1998 when her time was 3m 50.9s.

The race has been won by Irish-trained raiders on no less than 41 occasions, and by the French once. Of the 16 divisions from 1952-59, Vincent O'Brien won an amazing 10. Ireland also kept a stranglehold on the race for seven years from 1977-83 and has won seven of the last 12 runnings, most recently with Go Native in 2009.

If you are a Cheltenham Festival fan we would love to get your views on our discussion forum. We have dedicated threads for all 27 races and will be gathering stats, quotes and tips in the Countdown to 16 March 2016.


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