Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips: Ballyadam to down Appreciate It

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips: Ballyadam ready to challenge Appreciate It in opener
Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips: Ballyadam ready to challenge Appreciate It in opener

Ed Quigley picks out his Supreme Novices' Hurdle tip ahead of the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival, which sees Appreciate It and Ballyadam clash...

Longshot Ted's Supreme Tip

Ballyadam at 11/2 with bet365

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival gets underway with the traditional Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle to kick off proceedings at Prestbury Park. We have one of the smallest fields we have seen in ages with eight runners due to set off as the tapes go up, headed by Willie Mullins unbeaten hurdler APPRECIATE IT. Runner-up in the 2020 Festival Bumper, he has an unblemished - three wins from three starts over hurdles - with the last two wins coming at Grade 1 level. He has a very uncomplicated manner, is a good jumper, and is a strong stayer at the trip. He has done most things right and looks to have a favourites' chance. Statistics would be against him given the record of seven-year-olds, but of a bigger concern would be better ground - he has looked very happy dictating matters in deep ground, and I just wonder if he could be a little susceptible to something with a turn of foot over this trip.

88-rated flat horse METIER has notched up three wins from three over hurdles, and the Harry Fry representative looked very smart when landing the Grade 1 Tolworth by 12 lengths on his latest start. Clearly a class act, but I would have concerns about his ability to handle the ground, given all his form is in a bog, and connections have voiced their preference for substantial cut underfoot. The form of the Tolworth doesn't look sparkling, and considering flat recruits don't have a great record in this, I am happy to look elsewhere at the prices.

BALLYADAM has been a little frustrating over hurdles on his last couple of starts, but looked very smart when winning the Grade 1 Royal Bond, and has had valid excuses since. He was off colour when well beaten on deep ground at Leopardstown over the Christmas period behind Appreciate It, but got much closer to that rival when beaten just over 3 lengths at the Dublin Racing Festival despite making a clumsy leap at the last. I think this track and on better ground can see Ballyadam firing on all cylinders, and I think this horse, who possesses a smart turn of foot looks to hold every chance with ground conditions which look to be coming in his favour .

Of the remainder, I get the feeling we are yet to see the best of BLUE LORD, and a strongly run 2m on a stiff track like Cheltenham may suit, as well as better ground. However, he has shaped recently as though he is just a notch below what is required in order to dine at the top table. He should settle better in this and can make the frame.

SOARING GLORY arrives here on the back of an impressive performance to land the Betfair Hurdle, and this progressive sort should give a good account of himself. However, he is in deeper waters here, and it is a little alarming that connections are reaching for cheekpieces so soon.

Official ratings suggest GRUMPY CHARLEY is probably a bit overpriced, but nonetheless will need to improve as will IRASCIBLE, who had the option of the County Hurdle, but Gigginstown have opted to let him take his chance here. Better ground should suit, but will need to take a big step forward.

FOR PLEASURE is likely to get on with things at the head of affairs, but looks up against it at this level.

VERDICT:

  1. BALLYADAM
  2. APPRECIATE IT
  3. BLUE LORD
13:20 Tue - Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Ballyadam silk

Ballyadam

placed
Cheltenham Festival Tips
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