Longshot Ted: Adam still catches the eye in the Supreme

Ballyadam won the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in November.
Ballyadam won the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in November.

In this week's column, Ed Quigley takes a look at this weekend's action at Warwick, before giving his long range views on the Supreme Novices' Hurdle...

NEXT DESTINATION has enjoyed his return to the track and his new lease of life with Paul Nicholls, and looks to have every chance of making it two from two over fences in the Grade 2 Hampton Novices Chase at Warwick on Saturday. Formally trained by Willie Mullins, the nine-year-old shaped with plenty of his old zest when finishing second to Roksana in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, and jumped nicely to see off his rivals on chase debut in a Grade 2 at Wetherby. This represents a tougher examination of his credentials, but it looks as though he is enjoying fences, and with Paul Nicholls firing in the winners from all angles at present, he can maintain his unbeaten record over the larger obstacles before a potential tilt at the RSA Chase.

On the same card, the Tom Lacey trained ADRIMEL puts his unbeaten record on the line over hurdles. The only time he hasn't visited the winner's enclosure was when finishing down the field in last year's Champion Bumper. The six-year-old battled well to win at Haydock last time out, and looks as though he should thrive stepping up in distance. He has been doing his best work in the closing stages over 2 miles, so 2m5f should bring about even more improvement for the six-year-old. Richard Johnson should take the ride, and he looks to have major claims in this Grade 2. Conditions on the soft side will enhance his claims and I am looking forward to seeing this imposing sort once again who regardless of what he achieves this campaign, should make up into a smashing chaser next year.

Hampton Novices' Chase
Next Destination silk

Next Destination

won
Leamington Novices' Hurdle
Adrimel silk

Adrimel

won
Cheltenham Festival Races

Looking ahead to the Cheltenham Festival, which is just 9 weeks away now, I wonder if BALLYADAM has been unfairly written off in some quarters for Prestbury Park success after a lacklustre display when only managing to finish fourth at Leopardstown over Christmas. However, like Abacadabras, many of the horses from the Gordon Elliott yard scoped badly or were off colour, and he failed to spark when sent off 9/4 second favourite. Admittedly, Appreciate It looks a very smart horse, but that clearly wasn't Ballyadam's true form.

He is 14/1 NRNB for Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and in which case, in order to line up in the race he will have to come out and win a prep run, in which you would see his price contract to single figures on the basis of doing so. If he gets soundly beaten and doesn't make the Festival or they up him in trip to tackle the Ballymore, you have the insurance of getting your money back. He needs to liven up in the jumping department, but he is a very smart horse who won the Royal Bond in good style and shouldn't be discounted from dining at the top table just yet.

Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Non-Runner No Bet)
Ballyadam silk

Ballyadam

Selections

Hampton Novices' Chase, Warwick, Saturday 16th January - back Next Destination at 2/1 (generally)

Leamington Novices' Hurdle, Warwick, Saturday 16th January - back Adrimel at 4/1 (generally)

Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday 16th March - back Ballyadam NRNB at 14/1 (Paddy Power)

Cheltenham Festival Tips
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