This is the first race of SpankTheBookies' Cheltenham Betting Preview. We have Cheltenham Festival Tips for all 28 races...
Willie Mullins' dominance in this race could continue. He's got a strong hand to choose from with Min currently 6/4 to get favourite backers off to a winning start on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival in 2016.
Mullins has won the last three Supreme Novices' Hurdles with Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan.
Willie Mullins also has Yorkhill, Bellshill, Bleu Et Rouge, Long Dog and Petit Mouchoir entered but I'd be surprised if he runs any more than three.
Nicky Henderson has two entries and is hoping to win this race for the first time with Altior and Buveur D'air.
Quote from Willie Mullins "I don't think he's as good as Douvan."
Mullins has trained the winner in this race for the last three years so he knows exactly what it takes to win a race like this. The fact that Min is a shorter price than any of those previous three winners slightly puts me off, especially when you consider Mullins' quote above. I think the reason that Min is 6/4 is because bookmakers are taking no chances at all. If Min bolts up by 10l's in this then bookmakers will be sweating.
Away from the Willie Mullins hype, this is the horse that I think has the best hope of beating Min and getting bookmakers off to a great start at the Festival. Altior is a very progressive novice hurdle and now races off an official hurdle rating of 154. That rating would've been good enough to win five of the last ten runnings of this race but in recent years you need to be rated closer to the 160 mark. Any more improvement at all from this horse gives him a huge chance. Nicky Henderson says that this horse is "very good" but he says the same about Buveur D'air who also runs here. Altior would be suited by a strong pace because he can pull hard but he may get it if Min tries to make all.
Officially rated 151 over hurdles and runs left handed for the first time. No question that Yorkhill will get up the Cheltenham hill as his pedigree suggests he could get 3m in time. Positive comments from Mullins regarding this horses chances in this race and no surprise if Yorkhill runs a big race. Yorkhill is a son of Presenting and could improve for better ground. I think Yorkhill is a very good each way bet.