Dodging Bullets came out of the Triumph Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival as arguably the most exciting horse in the field and he has done nothing this season except build on that reputation.
Yet despite this, Dodging Bullets remains a fair way down the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle betting at 14/1, with Ladbrokes offering this top price that is asking to be snapped up.
That Triumph Hurdle start was only his second over hurdles and the way he sauntered into the lead approaching the final flight was impressive, even if he didn’t quite have the gears in the closing stages to finish better than fourth.
This season, Dodging Bullets has shown that he can handle Cheltenham, as his two starts at the course have both ended in victory.
The second of these was especially significant as he beat 10/1 Supreme Novices’ fancy River Maigue, despite having to concede weight and not getting any preferred early speed, which meant he had to take up the running himself.
Since then, Dodging Bullets was significantly raised in class to take on some of the leading Champion Hurdle fancies in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, where he was not disappointed in finishing third.
In the process, he was ahead of the likes of Countrywide Flame and Cinders And Ashes and enhanced his official mark to 156, which is the highest of those with a rating in the Supreme Novices’ entry list.
Even clear 5/2 favourite Jezki was only allocated 147 before his victory at Leopardstown last time.
A further factor in favour of Dodging Bullets is that he almost certain to be ridden by Ruby Walsh.
It does seem slightly staggering that 14/1 is available for a horse with Cheltenham Festival form, who has beaten horses with solid place claims for the Champion Hurdle and is the best in the field based on official ratings.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date