Market support for Cue Card after Irish challengers give up fight

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Last year the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle saw punters get off to a bad start when the so-called Cheltenham banker Dunguib failed to justify his 4/5 favouritism.

Only three horses in the last 15 runnings of the Supreme Novices Hurdle have won at odds shorter than 3/1, which suggests Cue Card is up against it as the Colin Tizzard-trained five-year-old continues to shorten in the betting – now 2/1 from 9/4.

But Cue Card is no Dunguib, and while Dunguib headed into last season’s Supreme Novices unbeaten, he was never tested in any of his five races following his Champion Bumper win at the 2009 Festival.

For so long Cue Card’s connections were undecided whether or not to bypass the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in favour for a crack at the Champion Hurdle.

After Cue Card proved his Champion Hurdle credentials finishing second behind 4/1 Champion Hurdle second favourite Menorah at Cheltenham, many believed he would be a Champion Hurdle contender.

But the right decision has been made and Cue Card can justify his favouritism in the Supreme Novices’ and go on to challenge in the 2012 Champion Hurdle at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Brave Inca, Back In Front and Like-A-Butterfly were the three horses to justify short favouritism in the last 15 years, and both Brave Inca and Back In Front faced stiff tasks before their Supreme Novices run.

Brave Inca beat Newmill – later to become a Champion Chase winner – by 3/4’s of a length in the race before his Supreme Novices win, while Back In Front lost to Hardy Eustace – later to become a Champion Hurdle winner – in the race before his Supreme Novices win.

Should Cue Card run to his potential, then he has the ability to destroy a Supreme Novices field that has been weakened by the withdrawal of Day Of A Lifetime and Unaccompanied.

A £25 stake on Cue Card winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle would return £75. New customers can sign up here for a free Cheltenham bet worth £25.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.