Since 2000, which was the longest-priced winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle?
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, run over 2 miles and 87 yards on the Old Course at Cheltenham, is the first race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. As such, the runners are greeted by hullabaloo from the grandstands, dubbed the ‘Cheltenham Roar’, as the starter raises the tape.
The 2001 renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was cancelled, as was the Cheltenham Festival as a whole, due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. However, in twenty runnings since, the longest-priced winner was Ebaziyan, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Davy Condon, who prevailed at odds of 40/1 in 2007. Indeed, Mullins, who is the leading trainer in the history of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, has saddled six of his seven winners in that period.
Nevertheless, as far as starting price is concerned, Ebaziyan was something of an exception; along with Arcalis, at 20/1 in 2005, and Labaik, at 25/1 in 2017, he is one of just three horses in the last two decades to have won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at odds longer than 12/1. Of the remaining seventeen winners, five were sent off favourite – including the only odds-on winner, Appreciate It, in 2021 – and another eight were returned at single-figure prices. Of course, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 contest run at level weights, apart from weight-for-age and weight-for-sex allowances, so it is no great surprise that outsiders are something of a rarity.