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Are punters on the right Mullins horse in Supreme Novices Hurdle?

| 25.02.2014

Irving and Vautour are dominating the market for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after putting up brilliant performances in their respective trials. Irving is now 5-2 clear favourite with Vautour and 7-2 and stable companion Wicklow Brave at 13-2.

Support for Irving has been strong since he underlined his claims with a fluent victory in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday. Apart from a couple of minor errors, it was difficult not to be impressed with the son of Singspiel as he strode five lengths clear.

Much was made of Vautour’s impressive victory over The Tullow Tank but the race did turn into a bit of a sprint. 200-1 outsider Draycott Place was still in touch at the third last before the leaders quickened away.

Trainer Willie Mullins had no hesitation in nominating Vautour and Wicklow Brave as his main hopes for the Supreme but would not be drawn on which would be the better. Wicklow Brave is a five-year-old son of Beat Hollow out of a Rainbow Quest mare.

He made his debut in a Punchestown bumper last April and got off the mark at Galway in July. He added further victories at Listowel and Tipperary before being put over hurdles at Cork in January.

He outclassed his rivals to beat Synchronicity by seven lengths and was upped in class to a Listed race at Punchestown at the start of this month. Despite landing awkwardly at the last, he quickened away under Ruby Walsh to beat Lieutenant Colonel by four and a half lengths.

Mullins currently has nine entries in the race including Adriana Des Mottes, Faugheen, Upazo and Valseur Lido. The unbeaten Faugheen is favourite for the two and a half mile Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at 3-1.

Punters are still waiting anxiously to hear whether Un De Sceaux and Annie Power line up at the festival. The meeting has taken a couple of serious blows in recent days with Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card both withdrawn.



Harvey Mayson