The Supreme Novices and The Neptune and their impact past and future

There are three Grade One Novice Hurdles for horses aged four years and upwards at the Cheltenham Festival; The Supreme Novices Hurdle (2 miles) first run in 1946 and is the traditional curtain raiser to the four days. The Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle first run in 1971 (2m 5f, registered as the Baring Bingham) and The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle first run in 2005 (3 miles, registered as the Spa Hurdle) With the Albert Bartlett still being somewhat in its infancy, 2011 will see only the seventh running of the race, the focus here is just on The Supreme and The Neptune. Although the Albert Bartlett is already starting to show the “Festival factor” with both Wichita Lineman & Weapons Amnesty going on to further Festival success after their victories in the race (Wichita Lineman in the William Hill Handicap Chase 2009 & Weapons Amnesty RSA Chase 2010) .
Throughout the history of both The Supreme and Neptune; future Cheltenham Festival winners have been uncovered along with subsequent winners of other big races in Britain and Ireland. The listings that follow show the future major wins of each of the first four horse’s home in each race over the last ten years. The results are staggering and highlight that both races have a huge impact on the form book season after season. The Supreme is generally known as “The Supreme” rather than its race sponsor at the time, whereas the now Neptune tends to be known by its sponsor. Hence the various race titles for that race in the listings.

The Supreme Novices Hurdle 2000-2010 has produced:

Cheltenham Festival winners:

3 Gold Cup winners: Kicking King, War of Attrition and triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate. All three were placed second in the Supreme Novices, Kicking King in 2003, War of Attrition in 2004 and Best Mate in 2000.

3 Champion Hurdle winners: Brave Inca, Sublimity & Binocular. Brave Inca was the winner of the Supreme Novices in 2004, Sublimity was fourth in the 2006 Supreme and Binocular was second in the 2008 Supreme.

1 National Hunt Chase winner: Youlneverwalkalone (3rd in the 2000 Supreme)

1 Jewson Handicap Chase winner: Copper Bleu (4th in the 2009 Supreme)

Wins in other major races, (Not in Calendar order; some results for horses with multiple entries omitted for space reasons)

King George VIII Steeplechase, Kempton: Best Mate; Kicking King x2
Christmas Hurdle, Kempton: Straw Bear (2ND in the 2006 Supreme) Binocular and Go Native (winner of the Supreme in 2009)
Lexus Chase, Leopardstown: Best Mate

Haldon Gold Cup, Exeter: Best Mate

Irish Champion Hurdle, Leopardstown: Like a Butterfly (Winner of the 2002 Supreme) & Brave Inca
Arkle Novice Steeplechase, Leopardstown: Kicking King

Guinness Gold Cup, Punchestown: Kicking King and War of Attrition

Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle, Punchestown: Back in Front (Winner of the 2003 Supreme) Wild Passion (2nd in the 2005 Supreme) & Brave Inca

Rabobank Champion Hurdle, Punchestown: Brave Inca

Boyne Hurdle, Navan: War of Attrition

Hattons Grace Hurdle, Fairyhouse: Youlneverwalkalone & Brave Inca

December Festival Hurdle, Leopardstown: Brave Inca x 2, Sublimity

Morgiana Hurdle, Punchestown: Brave Inca

Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase, Punchestown: War of Attrition

Daily Star Best for Racing Chase, Punchestown: War of Attrition X 3

Clonmel Oil Chase, Clonmel: War of Attrition

Galmoy Hurdle, Navan (But run at Gowran Park in this instance): War of Attrition

Mildmay Novices Chase, Aintree: Like a Butterfly

Powers Gold Cup, Fairyhouse: Like a Butterfly

Greatwood Hurdle, Cheltenham: Menorah (Winner of the 2010 Supreme)

International Hurdle, Cheltenham: Back in Front, Binocular & Menorah

Ryan Air Novice Chase, Punchestown: Captain Cee Bee (Winner of the 2008 Supreme)

Poplar Square Chase, Naas: Captain Cee Bee

4YO Anniversary Hurdle, Aintree: Binocular

Maghull Novices Chase, Aintree: Kalahari King (4TH in the 2008 Supreme)

John Durkan Memorial Chase, Punchestown: Noland (Winner of the Supreme in 2006)

Scilly Isles Novices Chase, Sandown: Medermit (2ND in the 2009 Supreme)

Champion Hurdle Trial, Haydock: Medermit

Scottish Champion Hurdle, Ayr: In Contrast (3rd in the 2002 Supreme)

Welsh Champion Hurdle, Ffos Las: Oscar Whisky (4TH in the 2010 Supreme)

Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Newcastle: Arcalis (Winner of the 2005 Supreme) and Go Native.

Top Novices Hurdle, Aintree: In Contrast

Future Champions Novices Chase, Ayr: Keltic Bard (4TH in the 2003 Supreme)


2000 Supreme Novices winner Sausalito Bay: Career badly interrupted with a fractured pelvis.

2001 No Festival due to Foot & Mouth epidemic

The Neptune Investments Hurdle (Registered as The Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle) previously sponsored by Royal & Sun Alliance & Ballymore Properties & those titles used where appropriate

2000-2010 has produced:

Cheltenham Festival winners:

1 Gold Cup Winner: Denman (2nd in the 2006 RSA Hurdle)

A dual Champion Hurdle winner: Hardy Eustace (Winner of the 2003 RSA Hurdle)

A triple World Hurdle winner: Inglis Drever (2nd in the 2004 RSA Hurdle)

2 Arkle Chase Winners: Forpadydeplasterer (4th in the 2008 Ballymore) & Tidal Bay (2nd in the 2007 Ballymore)

1 RSA Chase Winner: Denman.

Wins in other major races (Not in calendar order & some results for horses with multiple entries omitted for space reasons)

Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, Newbury: Denman x 2 & Diamond Harry (3rd in the 2009 Ballymore)

Grand National, Aintree: Bindaree (4th in the 2000 RSA Hurdle) & Comply or Die (4TH in the 2004 RSA Hurdle)

Welsh Grand National, Chepstow: Bindaree

Eider Chase, Newcastle: Comply or Die

AON Chase, Newbury: Denman

Lexus Chase, Leopardstown: Denman

Berkshire Novices Chase, Newbury: Denman

Altcar Novices Chase, Haydock: Diamond Harry

Rabobank Champion Hurdle, Punchestown: Hardy Eustace

Irish Champion Hurdle, Leopardstown: Hardy Eustace

Red Mills Trial Hurdle, Gowran Park: Hardy Eustace

Morgiana Hurdle, Punchestown: Hardy Eustace

William Neville & Sons Novice Chase, Leopardstown: Pizarro (2nd in the 2003 RSA Hurdle)

Dr P.J Moriarty Novice Chase, Leopardstown: Pizarro

Kingwell Hurdle, Wincanton: Inglis Drever

John Smiths Hurdle, Aintree: Inglis Drever

Long distance Hurdle, Newbury: Inglis Drever x2

Ascot Hurdle, Ascot: No Refuge: (Winner of the RSA Hurdle in 2005)

Mersey Novices Hurdle, Aintree: Tidal Bay & Peddlers Cross (Winner of the 2010 Neptune)

Maghull Novices Chase, Aintree: Tidal Bay

Champion Hurdle Trial, Haydock: Tidal Bay

Fighting Fifth Hurdle, (run at Newbury due to abandonment of Newcastle): Peddlers Cross

Cleeve Hurdle, Cheltenham: Classified (4th in the 2003 RSA Hurdle) Inglis Drever & Tidal Bay

National Spirit Hurdle, Fontwell: Classified

Boyne Hurdle, Navan: Catch Me (3rd in the Ballymore in 2007)

Christmas Hurdle, Leopardstown: Catch Me

Lismullen Hurdle, Navan: Catch Me

Hattons Grace Hurdle, Fairyhouse: Catch Me

Centenary Trial Hurdle, Gowran Park: Catch Me

Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle, Punchestown: Nicanor (Winner of the 2006 RSA Hurdle) Mikael D’Haguenet (Winner of the 2009 Ballymore) & Reve De Sivola (2nd in the 2010 Neptune)

Champion Stayers Hurdle, Punchestown: Refinement (3RD in the 2006 RSA Hurdle)

John Smiths Extra Cold H’cap Hurdle, Aintree: Refinement

World Series Hurdle, Punchestown: Five For Three (Winner of the 2008 Ballymore)

Drinmore Novice Chase, Fairyhouse: Trafford Lad (3rd in the 2008 Ballymore)

Florida Pearl Novice Chase, Punchestown: Trafford Lad

Buck House Novice Chase, Punchestown: Trafford Lad

Star Best For Racing Novice Chase, Punchestown: China Rock (4th in the 2009 Ballymore)

Gowran Park Champion Chase, Gowran Park: China Rock

United House Gold Cup (H’cap Chase), Ascot: Massinis Maguire (Winner of the 2007 Ballymore)

Henry VIII Novice Chase, Sandown: Racing Demon (2nd in the 2005 RSA Hurdle)

Peterborough Chase, Huntingdon: Racing Demon x 2

Imperial Call Chase, Cork: Our Ben (3RD in the 2005 RSA Hurdle)

Hillyway Chase, Cork: Our Ben

Relkeel Hurdle, Cheltenham: Karabak (2nd in the 2009 Ballymore)

Ellier Developments Novice Chase, Punchestown: Lord Sam (3RD in the 2003 RSA Hurdle)

Lightening Novice Chase, Lingfield: Foreman (4th in the 2003 RSA Hurdle)

Maghull Novices Chase, Aintree: Foreman

November Novices Chase, Cheltenham: Fundamentalist (Winner of the 2004 RSA Hurdle)

Challengers Novices Chase, Sandown: Silverburn (4th in the 2007 RSA Hurdle)

Ascot Gold Cup, Royal Ascot: Rite Of Passage (3RD in the 2010 Neptune)


2000 RSA Hurdle Winner: Monsignor didn’t run again due to continuous leg injury.

2001 No Festival due to Foot & Mouth epidemic

2006 RSA Hurdle 4th: Mr Nosie, suffered serious leg trouble after the race and has only recently returned to training, ran in a beginners chase at Fairyhouse 29/01/11.

With the information that was correct at the time of this article going to press the horses that are involved in the placing’s of both races over the last ten years and are heading back to the Festival this year are:

Captain Cee Bee: Has been confirmed as on course for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 2011 Festival, currently available at 10/1 with the major firms. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see him cross the line in front as his win in the 2008 Supreme Novices gives him the all important “Festival factor”. His last Racecourse outing saw him finish 4th behind Big Zeb in the Grade One Paddy Power Dial a Bet Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas. He was 8th in last year’s Arkle Chase where he broke a blood vessel but recovered after that to take the Ryan Air Novice Chase at the 2010 Punchestown Festival. On his first run this season he won the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase at Naas over 2 miles.

Binocular: Runner up to Captain Cee Bee in The Supreme of 2008 as a four year old and currently the reigning Champion Hurdler. He put in great performance to take The Christmas Hurdle at Kempton where his jumping was electric. His latest outing at Sandown was reminiscent of the same race last year where he failed to impress, this we have come to know about Binocular though. One minute he is scintillating and the next downright puzzling! He is not to be underestimated on his defence for his crown. His Festival record reads 2nd, 3rd & 1st and although the Champion Hurdle this year looks tougher with Hurricane Fly, Peddlers Cross & Menorah to contend with I wouldn’t want to be laying him come March 15th!

Kalahari King: Slowly coming back to form and looking a very likely winner of the Ryan Air! Has a Festival record of 4th, 2nd & 3rd and ran well behind Master Minded at Ascot last time out considering he was hampered by the fall of Petit Robin at the 5th and then very nearly carried out by the loose Petit Robin after the 9th obstacle He was very nearly the winner of the Arkle in 2009 when just held by Forpadydeplasterer by a short head. 10/1 for The Ryan Air is still available with William Hill and Boylesports.

Medermit: Currently disputing favouritism for the Arkle with Finians Rainbow and Ghizao and of the three this is the one I would like to be on come the day. An impressive winner of the Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Sandown last time out over 2m 4f, they say to win an Arkle you need to be able to stay further than 2m. It is worth mentioning that he was also fourth to Hurricane Fly at last year’s Punchestown Festival when his stable was really under a cloud; now they are firing on all cylinders and given his Cheltenham form he has to be almost banker material.

Somersby: Apparently heading for the Queen Mother Champion Chase after just failing to pip Master Minded by a short head at Ascot last time out. Second in last year’s Arkle and ran a blinder behind Master Minded when 3rd in the Tingle Creek in December, after rearing up and falling on the walkway on the way to the start and making a mistake at the 9th. Personally I would’ve liked to have seen him contest the Ryan Air but Henrietta Knight has trained more winners than me. Nothing will be staying on up the hill better than this fellow. Festival record reads: 3rd & 2nd. Could this be the horse to take Hen & Terry back to the glory days?

Menorah: The new face of British Hurdling, impressive winner of last year’s Supreme Novices. Again showed his liking for Prestbury Park when winning The Greatwood off top weight in November then took the International in fine style in December seeing off young hot shots Cue Card & Silviniaco Conti. Has the ideal profile for a Champion Hurdler but it will be his toughest assignment to date when he lines up in the race on March 15th.

Get Me Out Of Here: Holds an entry in the Champion Hurdle and depending on how he runs in his next assignment will determine whether he makes the final cut for the race. Was an intended runner in the Totesport Trophy when that race was abandoned in tragic circumstances, impressive winner of that very race last year and 2nd to Menorah in last year’s Supreme Novices.

Dunguib: On target for the Champion Hurdle but hasn’t run since a below par effort in The Rabobank Champion Hurdle at The Punchestown Festival. He is an intended runner in Saturdays Grade Two Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park after this article has gone to print. Dunguib should not be underestimated. Who can forget the way he swept to victory in the 2009 Champion Bumper. I think there is still a lot more to come from this horse. Festival record reads 1st & 3rd.

Oscar Whisky: Exploded on to The Champion Hurdle scene when taking the Cheltenham & Three Counties Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, has subsequently been an easy winner of The Welsh Champion Hurdle. Currently available around the 14/1 mark for the Champion Hurdle.

Peddlers Cross: Gave us all the wow factor when winning the Neptune last year then followed up in great style in the Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree. This season he won the rescheduled Fighting Fifth at Newbury with Binocular back in third. Remains unbeaten in all starts under rules and won his only point to point too. Make no mistake this horse is class through and through. Heading for The Champion Hurdle and is available at 11/2 for that race.

Reve De Sivola: Holds entries in the RSA and The Jewson. Beat the useful Wishful Thinking over 2m5f at Cheltenham in December. Winner of The Champion Novice Hurdle, at last year’s Punchestown Festival. Likes Cheltenham; course record reads: 3rd, 2nd, 6th, 2nd, 2nd, 1st and 3rd.

Mikael D’Haguenet: Currently baffling. Holds entries in the RSA, Arkle and World Hurdle. Target unknown after 3rd in Saturdays Dr P.J Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown. Connections are in discussion as to where to go next. He would be dangerous back over Hurdles.

Tidal Bay: Enigmatic, Mysterious, talented and lovable! Last seen flying at the finish in the Argento Chase, after doing the same behind Imperial Commander in the Betfair Chase. Reportedly on target for the Gold Cup, Don’t rule him out, this 2008 Arkle winner will be thereabouts!

Karabak: World Hurdle entry. Winner of the 2010 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham, stable right back to form.

Diamond Harry: Hennessy winner at Newbury in November and now Gold Cup bound. As low as 8/1 in places, has only once been out of the frame in his entire career.

China Rock: Currently 100/1 for the Gold Cup and ran well for a long way before tiring into fourth place in Saturdays Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Denman: A herculean effort carrying top weight into third in the Hennessy at Newbury in November. A real ambassador for the jumps game; with an Impeccable Festival record of 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd & 2nd. Heads to the Gold Cup for the fourth time, he’s a Gold Cup winner and an RSA Chase winner. The Tank journeys on!

Catch Me: Entered in the World Hurdle, was a smart hurdler in 08/09. Mixed results Novice & Handicap Chasing since. 66/1 for the World Hurdle.

Five For Three: Not seen since winning the World Series Hurdle at The Punchestown Festival in 2009. Out with injury since, holds engagements in races after this article has gone to print. Entered The World Hurdle and around the 33/1 mark for that race

Venalmar: Very smart novice hurdler in 07/08 Out with injury for over a year 08/09 hasn’t really shone since. Holds an RSA entry.

Forpadydeplasterer: Returned home a sick horse from The King George at Kempton. Reportedly recovering and heading for the Ryan Air. Would hold every chance if back to his best. Festival record: 4th, 1st & 2nd.

Cathryn Fry, 14 February 2011