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Cheltenham Festival: Supreme Novices Hurdle odds and race overview

Cheltenham Festival: Supreme Novices Hurdle odds and race overview This years Festival curtain raiser is as competitive as ever and only a tentative nomination for top honours goes to Cork All Star, who can get the better of old rival Muirhead now they meet again off level weights; while Binocular and Rippling Ring head the list of others that have to be respected. The last named could do no more than win on his hurdles debut last month and looks a bright prospect for the Paul Nicholls team. A winner over a mile and half in South Africa, Rippling Ring stayed on powerfully at Doncaster and has plenty of the right attributes to be on the premises here. The undulations of the track represent a new challenge, but the mount of Ruby Walsh has a similar background to 2006 winner Noland, so it is right to assume all the homework has been done behind the scenes.

 Binocular heads a very strong contingent from the Nicky Henderson yard and as such he is well worth considering. His owner (JP McManus) had numerous options for the four-year-old this week and expectations will be high in his bid to maintain his unbeaten status over hurdles. The ground ought not to be a problem and, with his form looking solid, a big run can be expected from Binocular if his stamina holds out under the expected frenetic pace. Henderson also sends out Sentry Duty, Kyber Kim and Zebra Crossing, who all have claims in their own right. However, Sentry Duty may represent the best each-way value at the likely odds, as he posted a much improved effort when winning at Doncaster 38 days ago and looks to be progressing nicely.

 Irish raiders have won six of the last ten renewals, so the likes of Captain Cee Bee, Sophocles and Norther Bay would be dangerous to completely write-off just yet. Tranquil Sea also has a feasible chance of making the frame, so keep tabs on the betting market for any signs of confidence. However, Muirhead and the selection stand out as the main contenders this time around. Muirhead is unbeaten in three previous starts and appears to be going from strength to strength. Noel Meade knows exactly what it takes to win this race and his representative is expected to be primed and ready for the task in hand. Yet the terms of the race leave him with a stiff test if Cork All Star gets his act together today. The Jessica Harrington-trained gelding is expected to be well suited by a strong gallop and his proven ability to cope with the hill (won last seasons Champion Bumper) is a most persuasive factor in giving Cork All Star the nod to come good on the race.

 Here are the 2008 Supreme Novices Hurdle betting odds offered by the U.K. online bookmaker Bet365 on the top 5 contenders: Muirhead - 15/2, Binocular - 17/2, Rippling Ring - 17/2, Khyber Kim - 17/2, Captain Cee Bee - 17/2. Visit the bookie to see the betting odds on all contenders for the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

 Source: Bet365

 Published on 03/10/2008

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