Tullyhill’s path to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Excitement is building for the 2024 renewal of the Cheltenham Festival, and it is now just days until the spine-tingling roar will echo around the Cotswolds as the tape is lifted for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The two-mile, half-a-furlong contest is an exhilarating start to the four-day meeting, with the most promising young hurdlers from the top yards in the United Kingdom and Ireland thrilling spectators as they vie for the £75,965 prize.

Irish handler Willie Mullins holds the record for the most victories in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with seven wins, but he hasn’t added to his tally since Appreciate It’s win in 2021.

That looks set to change this year, however, as the Closutton trainer holds an incredibly strong hand in the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival — with Ballyburn (11/8), Tullyhill (5/1), and Mystical Power (13/2) all in the top four of the Supreme Novices Hurdle 2024 odds.

The spotlight is naturally drawn to Ballyburn, as he is the short-price favourite to land Mullins a record-extending eighth Supreme. But we’re here to talk about Tullyhill, who was slashed in the market after an impressive performance last month.

That said, let’s look at the Cheveley Park Stud-owned horse’s path to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and assess whether he has what it takes to win the prestigious Grade 1 race.

Upset on hurdle debut at Punchestown

Winner in both a point-to-point and one of his two bumpers, Tullyhill made his debut over obstacles at Punchestown in November.

However, despite being priced as the overwhelming favourite at 1/8 for the two-mile, six-furlong contest, Tullyhill was beaten by a comfortable 24 lengths by the Gordon Elliott-trained Shannon Royale.

Off the mark at Naas

After that rather underwhelming debut at Punchestown, Tullyhill returned in January and made his presence felt with a commanding first victory over obstacles.

Dropped in trip to two miles, the six-year-old set off at odds of 2/9 and romped to a seven-length win over Lightkeeper in the Maiden Hurdle.

Impressive Listed win sets up Supreme bid

It was Tullyhill’s impressive performance in the Sheila Bourke Novice Hurdle back at Punchestown last month that started the fanfare for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

With odds of 6/5, it was just the second time in his career that Tullyhill was priced above odds on, and the bookmakers were made to rue that decision.

The six-year-old went clear approaching the last under Paul Townend and was pushed out on the run-in for a comfortable nine-length victory over No Flies On Him.

“Tullyhill is entitled to go anywhere after a performance like that. He’s coming all the time. He has a great cruising speed and his jumping is starting to match,” Mullins said afterward.

All roads lead to the Supreme

All roads now lead to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for the exciting Tullyhill, and he has a fantastic chance of winning the Grade 1 contest.

At odds of around 5/1 as well, the six-year-old could prove to be good value for your Cheltenham welcome offers.

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