Altior can make mincemeat of Min to reign Supreme in Festival opener


David Metcalf | March 14, 2016

Altior holds all the aces in Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Altior has created a huge impression this season and can get the better of ante post betting favourite Min to land the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle that gets proceedings underway at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival (13:30).

The Nicky Henderson trained six-year-old was a smart bumper performer and has looked a class act in winning all four of his starts over the obstacles.

After sauntering to a facile 34 lengths success on his reappearance at Chepstow, Altior put in a most taking performance when easily beating Ch’Tibello by 1 3/4 lengths at Ascot.

Altior then showed good battling qualities to beat Maputo by half a length in a Grade 2 contest at this venue, before romping to a 13-length success over Open Eagle at Kempton when last seen in action.

Potent turn of foot

The manner in which Altior quickened and put the race to bed in the latter marked him out as potentially something very special.

Open Eagle had also previously beaten Double Island by 2 1/4 lengths at Fairyhouse, and the runner-up finished a 21 length third to Min when they met.

That line of form suggests there is not much between Altior and Min, so it could be argued the former makes a stronger case for victory in the Supreme Novices’. Altior looks the ideal type for this contest.

Min failed to cut any ice in two starts over hurdles in France, but has won both his outings since joining champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins in facile fashion.

Min bidding to follow in the footsteps of stable companions

After barely having to break sweat to score in a minor contest at Punchestown, Min took the step up into Grade 2 company in his stride when landing the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at the same venue by 9 1/2 lengths.

The five-year-old clearly has a huge engine, and and is bidding emulate stablemates Vautour and Douvan who both won the Moscow Flyer en route to glory in this race.

However, the son of Walk In The Park has raced keenly with the choke out in both runs from Mullins and to looks a highly strung type who could boil over and may not find much if put under pressure.

Take Tombstone as each-way alternative

For punters seeking a worthy each-way wager in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Gordon Elliott gelding Tombstone has run really well to finish runner-up in two Grade 1 contests at Leopardstown this year.

Tombstone has always been held in very high regard, and the Gigginstown House Stud owned horse looks a raw type who is open to stacks more progression.

He will be ideally suited by the 2m trip, and another plus is that Tombstone has been placed in all of his six outings over the obstacles.


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Coral’s tip tip: Altior rates a solid bet to land the traditional Festival curtain-raiser for the home team. Tombstone looks value each-way.

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