Racer can have the edge
Our horse-by-horse guide to the field in Sunday's Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham.
David Pipe: Taken to strike with Moon Racer
Crosshue Bay: More exposed than the rest of these and hard to fancy on the balance of his form including wins at Punchestown and Kilbeggan. Readily passed over.
Keep In Line: Useful on the Flat and promises to be even better over timber judged on his two starts to date. Followed up debut win at Huntingdon with more polished display at Bangor last time, racing with zest and pulling clear of his rivals. More to offer and should not be underestimated.
Mirsaale: Won back-to-back races at Perth and potentially just found stamina stretched when upped in trip for Persian War at Chepstow next time. This could prove a more suitable test, but the opposition is stiffer.
Moon Racer: Festival Bumper winner in 2015 and while he had spell on the sidelines after, he ran out a three-parts-of-a-length winner over Ballyandy on hurdling debut at Perth. Needs to improve to confirm form on these terms but was well on top at the finish that day and looks sure to take high rank among this season’s two-mile novice hurdlers. The one to beat.
Movewiththetimes: Held in high regard by his powerful stable and two from two after winning on hurdling debut at Fontwell last month. Looks far from the finished article at present and while he has abundant potential, this is a very stiff test at an early stage of his development.
Ballyandy: Went down all guns blazing behind Moon Racer at Perth having been upsides at the final flight and hard to think there’ll be much between them again. Another hugely exciting prospect but perhaps one who will be better served over longer trips as the season progresses.
What About Carlo: A fascinating recruit to the winter game having looked every bit as good as ever on the level when winning handicap at Newbury off a mark of 95 in October. Could hardly be starting off in better company but the small field will be a plus as he learns his new trade.
Verdict: A fascinating race and one that probably boils down to the re-match between MOON RACER and Ballyandy. The former gets a tentative vote despite the revised terms as he should be sharper for the run. Keep In Line is best of the rest.