Tony Elves takes a look at weekend clues for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
True to say the Walk In The Park gelding was a 1-7 shot, but his spring-heeled hurdling and the relentless gallop he set under Ruby Walsh led to the obvious conclusion that Min will take plenty of beating in the Sky Bet Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Having pulled himself to the front from the third Min was in command from thereon and, although Attribution cut back some of the leeway three-out, that only acted as a spur to the Willie Mullins-trained favourite as he bounded away for a very easy nine-and-a-half length success.
That win complimented a 14-length victory from Gurteen in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown at the beginning of December and the question you have to ask is, how did the Mullins team have the insight to buy a son of Walk In The Park who had started at long odds and managed only two reasonable efforts in his two runs at Auteuil in three-year-old hurdles?
Of course, Douvan was a son of Walk In The Park and took the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in splendid style last March and it a third straight win in the race for Mullins with Vautour and Champagne Fever taking the previous two runnings.
Bookmakers, understandably, were running for cover afterwards and Min is as low as even money with William Hill, although Coral are a little more generous with their quote of 6-4. However, Min is unlikely to be any shorter come the day and will have the company of several more likely lads when he lines up for the opening race of the festival.
That points us back in the direction of the already recommended Yanworth as an each way prospect for the Supreme. The JP McManus-owned gelding caught the eye with an exemplary performance in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices Hurdle at Ascot in December and his top bumper form makes the 14-1 still available a tempting each-way prospect. Alan King is still mulling over the thoughts of stepping up in trip for Yanworth before making a final decision on his Cheltenham Festival target, but his earlier effort suggest the Supreme could be right up his street.
At Chepstow on Saturday, Adrien Du Pont made it three wins from four runs over hurdles when taking the Grade 1 coral.co.uk Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle by two-and-three-quarter lengths from Chic Name, and looks worthy of his place in the line-up for the Triumph Hurdle. However, it wasn’t a performance that suggested he could rustle the feathers of our main hope Ivanovich Gorbatov, who continues to harden in the betting for the juvenile crown.