Supreme Novices Hurdle

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 race for four-year-olds and upwards over two miles.

The winner is automatically quoted for next season’s Champion Hurdle but it has a better record for producing top-class chasers. Notable recent winners include Vautour (2014), Douvan (2015), Altior (2016) and Shishkin (2020).

The Supreme is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Cheltenham Festival in March. The runners are sent on their way by the famous “Cheltenham Roar” as the crowd celebrate the start of four days of top-class National Hunt racing.

Find out more about the Supreme Novices Hurdle:

Supreme Novices Hurdle

Supreme Novice Hurdle – Race Overview

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle takes place on Tuesday the 15th of March 2022 at 13:30 which is the opening day for the Cheltenham Festival.

This race is a Grade 1 National Hunt located at Cheltenham racecourse on the old course.

The horses will run a distance of 2 miles and 110 yards with a total of 8 hurdles to be jumped.

Some of the most talented horses in recent history have won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, including Altior, Vautour, and Douvan, all of which went on to win numerous Grade 1 races.

Famous Supreme Novices Hurdle Winners

The Supreme was first run as the Gloucestershire Hurdle in 1946 before being renamed the Champion Novices’ Hurdle in 1974. It did not adopt its current title until four years’ later under the sponsorship of Waterford Crystal.

Famous early winners include subsequent champion steeplechasers Flyingbolt (1964) and L’Escargot (1968). Flyingbolt went on to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Irish Grand National.

L’Escargot won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1970 and 1971 and the Grand National in 1975. His Aintree victory was notable for denying Red Rum a Grand National hat-trick. Red Rum finally recorded a historic third victory as a twelve-year-old in 1977.

1970 Supreme winner Bula went on to win the Champion Hurdle for the next two seasons.

Many racing fans still maintain that 1978 winner Golden Cygnet was the easiest ever winner of the Supreme. He stormed to a 15 lengths victory but was tragically killed when falling in the Scottish Champion Hurdle before he could reach his full potential.

Another horse that looked set for a big future was 1984 winner Browne’s Gazette. He started odds-on favourite for the 1985 Champion Hurdle but whipped round when the tape went up and had no chance of making up the lost ground.

Hors La Loi III won the Supreme in 1999 and went on to win the Champion Hurdle in 2002.

Brave Inca (2004) also went on to win the Champion in 2006 as well as two Irish Champion Hurdles (2006 and 2009).

The highest quality renewal came in 2016 when Nicky Henderson’s Altior beat Min with stable companion Buveur D’Air back in third place. Altior went on to become the highest-rated steeplechaser in training, including two Champion Chase victories during a record 19-race unbeaten run. Min earned almost £1 million in prize money during his career while Buveur D’Air won the Champion Hurdle in 2017 and 2018.

The high standard of Supreme winners was maintained in 2020 when Shishkin overcame trouble in running to win narrowly. He returned to Cheltenham to win the Arkle the following season and would be rated higher than Altior by Timeform after winning the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in 2022.

Key Supreme Novices Hurdle Trials

The Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown, formerly sponsored by Chanelle Pharma, has been the best guide to the Supreme. Horses to win both races include Like-A-Butterfly, Brave Inca, Champagne Fever, Vautour, Klassical Dream and Appreciate It.

The Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown is billed as an important Supreme trial but only Summerville Boy (2018) has won both races in recent years. Before that, you have to go back to Noland in 2006.

The next major target for Supreme Hurdle winners is often the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle. Brave Inca, Douvan and Klassical Dream all went on to victory in that race.

Supreme Novices Hurdle Betting Trends

What are the betting trends for the Supreme Novices Hurdle

  • Horses aged five and six have dominated the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle over the years.
  • Four-year-olds usually run in the Triumph Hurdle which is restricted to their own age group, although Hors La Loi III in 1999 was the only juvenile to win here since 1973.
  • Sondrio (1989) and Like-A-Butterfly (2002) won at the age of eight, the latter starting a well-backed favourite.
  • Short-priced favourites are quite common in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but the recent record of favourites is relatively poor.
  • Shock results are rare, although 25-1 shot Labaik was successful in 2017.
  • Gambles landed in the Supreme include Destriero (1991) for the Noel Furlong stable and the Edward O’Grady-trained Back In Front in 2003. He defeated Kicking King who would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005.
  • Experience is a key factor in this race with winners often having raced at least four times prior to the Cheltenham Festival.
  • Most had won on their previous start, usually within the previous two months.
  • Horses with an official rating of 142 or higher with two or more victories over two miles account for a high percentage of recent winners.

Supreme Novices Hurdle 2023 Odds

The 2023 odds for the Supreme Novices Hurdle are listed below:

  • Facile Vega – 4-1
  • American Mike – 14-1
  • El Etait Temps
  • Redemption Day – 20-1
  • Mercurey – 20-1
  • Jamess Gate – 20-1

Previous Winners of Supreme Novice Hurdle

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2012 Cinders And Ashes 5 Jason Maguire Donald McCain
2013 Champagne Fever 6 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2014 Vautour 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2015 Douvan 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2016 Altior 6 Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson
2017 Labaik 6 Jack Kennedy Gordon Elliott
2018 Summerville Boy 6 Noel Fehily Tom George
2019 Klassical Dream 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2020 Shishkin 6 Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson
2021 Appreciate It 7 Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2022 Constitution Hill 5 Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson

How Many Favourites Have Won The Supreme Novice Hurdle

Appreciate It won at a short price recently, but this race hasn’t been kind to favourites in recent years, with only three favourites winning in the last 14 renewals.

Only a few winners started at odds greater than 12-1. Arctic Kinsman, a 50-1 shot in 1994, was the longest-priced winner, while Ebaziyan, a 40-1 shot in 2007, was one of two 40-1 winner. Tsaoko in 1950 and Flyingbolt in 1964 were the shortest-priced winners at 4-9.

In the 49 races since 1972, the favourites and joint-favourites have won 11 times.

Supreme Novices Hurdle Betting Offers

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Supreme Novices Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Irish-trained runners have an excellent record in the Supreme, particularly Willie Mullins who won it for a record seventh time with Appreciate It (2021). His first success came with Tourist Attraction in 1995 and he then had to wait twelve years before Ebaziyan (2007).

Mullins then teamed up with jockey Ruby Walsh for three successive victories with Champagne Fever (2013), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015). All three were very well backed and went on to success over fences.


Walsh rode his sixth and final Supreme Hurdle winner for Mullins on Klassical Dream (2019). He had also been successful on Noland (2006) and Al Ferof (2011) trained by Paul Nicholls.

Nicky Henderson won it for the fourth time when Shishkin got up close home in 2020.

Betting on the Supreme Novices Hurdle 2022

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle betting is available all year round with almost any notable performance from a novice earning a quote for the race.

Bookmakers have started offering “non-runner – no bet” on the race towards the end of January each year. This is a good concession to have because the big stables can often have two or more likely Supreme contenders and they can sometimes be switched to the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

As the first race of the Cheltenham Festival, there are always plenty of special offers from bookmakers. These can include free bets and enhanced each-way terms for existing customers and massive odds on the favourite for new customers. For example, William Hill offered new customers 50-1 Appreciate It to a £1 stake (SP 8-11) before his easy victory in 2021.

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Popular Questions

What distance is the Supreme Novices Hurdle?

The total distance of the Supreme Novices Hurdle is 2 miles and 87 yards.

What time does the Supreme Novices Hurdle start?

The Supreme Novices Hurdle starts at 13:30.

What date is the Supreme Novices Hurdle?

The Supreme Novices Hurdle is on the 15th of March 2022.

Summary of the Supreme Novices Hurdle

The Supreme Novice Hurdle is the curtain-raiser of the Cheltenham, the first race on day one of Cheltenham.

Always a fiercely contested and fiercely run affair, it has produced a string of top-class horses who have gone to become champions.

The 2022 renewal promises to be as dramatic and exciting as others and we can’t wait to hear the roar and the hoofs thunder, as the festival gets underway.

Other Cheltenham Related Articles

If you have enjoyed this Supreme Novice Hurdle page, here are some other articles related to Cheltenham betting you may also like:

If betting at Cheltenham, please bet responsibly.

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