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Cheltenham Festival 2024 Tips - 10/1 shot can Fire Gordon to Supreme glory

jon-vine
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Last updated: 20 Jan 2024
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Jon Vine 20 Jan 2024
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  • Our first ante-post tip for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival
  • We've backed Firefox at 10/1 for the 2024 Supreme Novices' Hurdle
  • The 2024 Supreme will be run at Cheltenham on Tuesday 12th March
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supreme novices hurdle labaik
Jack Kennedy riding Gordon Elliott's first Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner, Labaik to victory in 2017. (Getty)

Following a fantastic weekend of racing at Fairyhouse, we've put up a 10/1 shot as our first Cheltenham Festival 2024 ante-post tip.

2024 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips - Firefox


Two of Ireland's most promising novice hurdlers clashed at Fairyhouse on Saturday. Ballyburn carried the tag of favouritism into the contest, but it was FIREFOX who claimed victory, making all under Jack Kennedy before pulling clear to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

When the betting opened, Ballyburn was the 8/13 favourite, with Firefox available at 2/1, so the fact that they eventually went off at almost identical prices shows that Ballyburn might have needed the outing. Firefox had the benefit of a run under his belt too, having cruised to an easy victory in a bumper at Down Royal on his reappearance. 

The overall time of the race was much slower than standard, but Firefox's finishing sectionals make for impressive reading. 

From the second-last to the line, Firefox was a full ten seconds quicker than stablemate Farren Glory, who won the Royal Bond over the same course-and-distance the following day - albeit in slightly trickier conditions. Firefox was also a second-and-a-half quicker over the same stretch of track than Risk Belle, who won the Grade Three WillowWarm Hurdle a little later on Saturday afternoon, carrying 16 pounds less on her back.

After the race, Gordon Elliott spoke in glowing terms about the winner.

"He's a good horse and Jack said he's so straightforward." Elliott told Racing TV. "We thought he needed two and a half miles and that's why we were making every post a winning post."

"Jack said he could go two and a half but he's got so much boot and is so relaxed that everything is very easy to him. He looks exciting and you'd like his attitude. We wanted to get today out of the way first and I just loved the way he jumped. Jack said he was so professional over the last two."

I remember Willie Mullins saying that you need a speed horse for the Ballymore and more of a stayer for the Supreme - which explains why many Ballymore winners have gone on to do well in the Champion Hurdle. Firefox would have no trouble seeing out the Ballymore distance, but the turn of foot he possesses makes the Supreme Novices' Hurdle the ideal target.

I doubt Gordon would hesitate in saying that Firefox is better than any of his Royal Bond runners and stablemate Down Memory Lane looks tailor-made for the Ballymore. Current Supreme favourite, A Dream To Share has suffered a setback and won't jump a hurdle until the New Year, while Nicky Henderson's talented duo of Jeriko Du Reponet and Willmount have to prove themselves against a higher quality of opponent.

Firefox is entered in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas - a race Gordon Elliott has won with Mighty Potter and Abacadabras in recent seasons, both of whom went on to run in the Supreme. There, Firefox could renew rivalries with Ballyburn, or square off against Willie Mullins' other Supreme potentials, Mirazur West, Its For Me and Mystical Power. 

*Update 13/1/24*


Gordon Elliott went against my wishes and ran Firefox in the Lawlor's Of Naas. Jack Kennedy's mount jumped and travelled well, but couldn't pick up like he did at Fairyhouse and finished a distant fourth. I'm hoping to see Firefox drop back to the minimum distance on his next start. He remains an extremely exciting prospect and I've backed him again to win the Supreme at his revised price of 16/1.

*Update 20/1/24*


Today, Gordon Elliott told the press that Firefox was lame following his disappointing run in the Lawlor's Of Naas. He also confirmed that Firefox would be heading straight to Cheltenham now, where he will run in the Supreme. At least we have a runner!

Verdict

If Firefox managed to land that Grade One at Leopardstown, then he'll likely jump to the head of the betting for the opening race at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival. 10/1 looks like excellent value to me.

Best Bet1: Firefox 2024 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Ante-Post Tip @10/1 at BoyleSports - 10 Units
Firefox
2024 Supreme Novices' Hurdle Ante-Post Tip
@10/1 - 10 Units
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