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Often the Festival curtain raiser can be a real source of value in the weeks and, most notably, days leading up the second Tuesday in March – as bookmakers are keen to entice punters in at the beginning of the week.
With that in mind, and with most of the trials for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle out of the way, it is a surprise that I am finding myself keen to suggest an ante-post bet for it right now.
But, Gordon Elliott’s Abacadabras makes a fair chunk of appeal at 6/1 with William Hill right now – I see him being a bit shorter come the day certainly. He was a general 7/2 shot after winning the Grade 1 Future Champions Novices’ Hurdle at Leopardstown at Christmas. Due to the emergence of one or two likely types, namely Shishkin, Asterion Forlonge and Fiddlerontheroof – Abacadabras has been eased slightly.
A very high-quality bumper horse, when on two separate occasions he was the only rival who possessed the pace to go with Envoi Allen at Leopardstown in February last year, and in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
On both occasions, he paid for that effort. Firstly being forced to run out over the rail at Leopardstown, as he was closing back up on Envoi Allen’s heels, and with horses on his outside, he had nowhere to go. Then at Cheltenham, he was a bit keen and fresh in a slowly run affair, and paid for it late on by fading into fourth.
Every hurdle start he has had to date has only added to the notion that a well-run race over the minimum trip will see him to best effect – the only time he got anything like that, he was a cracking second, again to Envoi Allen, in the Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Indeed, Envoi Allen is the only horse to beat Abacadabras over hurdles thus far, and Gordon Elliott’s Cheveley Park-owned superstar is Ballymore-bound. With him out of the way, Abacadabras looks a magic bet at 6/1.