Betfair Ambassador Olly Murphy has two runners in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Read how he hopes to get on in the first day of the Cheltenham Festival.
"This is a very open race though with no real outstanding novice hurdler yet to put up his hand so, if the ground is okay, my fella, with Dickie Johnson in the saddle, would have a nice each way chance at a big price if he can get through the ground."
Getting through the ground
Supreme Novices Hurdle 13:30 - Thomas Darby
Thomas Darby was one of my "Five To Follow" for the season and he hasn't let me down. He beat Elixir De Nutz over course and distance back in October and the collateral form of that race has been franked since with the runner up undefeated in three races. One of those being the G1 'Tolworth'.
He is the model of consistency having never been out of the first three in his five-race career and his two runs between landing his maiden and winning a novice hurdle in Taunton were also good efforts.
I would have concerns if the ground came up very soft though as I thought the softer ground took its toll on him when third behind Mister Fisher in Kempton on Boxing day. Although he was giving the winner 5lbs that day which was also obviously a contributing factor in his 5L defeat there.
This is a very open race though with no real outstanding novice hurdler yet to put up his hand so, if the ground is okay, my fella, with Dickie Johnson in the saddle, would have a nice each way chance at a big price if he can get through the ground.
Rain, rain go away
Supreme Novices Hurdle 13:30 - Itchy Feet
Itchy Feet has also been a model of consistency and is a very talented horse in his own right and like Thomas Darby he also has collateral form with Elixir De Nutz having finished second to him in a 'Supreme' novice hurdle trial over the course and distance back in November. We gave him a winter break as he is not a horse which really flourishes on soft ground so the forecast rain and subsequent likely ground would be a worry.
Having said that he is in very good form, his work has also been very good and a fast run race like this will really suit him. If the ground doesn't come up to slow he would have an each way chance. Gavin Sheehan, who has ridden in all bar one of his races, knows the horse well and rides again.