Min’s Supreme chances grow stronger as form line holds water

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Despite the notion that Min, Rich Ricci and Willie Mullins’ latest fearsome novice hurdler, hasn’t beaten anything of note under rules, it will be the owner’s eye-catching pink-and-green polka dot silks that will be favoured for the Cheltenham Festival’s opening race come March.

Indeed, Ladbrokes already make the five-year-old the overwhelming 5/4 ante-post fancy for the Festival’s opening race, ahead of Nicky Henderson hope Altior at 9/2.

With two runs over hurdles under his belt this season, detractors say that Min hasn’t come across anything like the stiff competition that Prestbury Park will provide, except that theory is proving increasingly misguided as the Fesitval creeps closer.

Having triumphed by 14 lengths in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown in December, the French-bred star’s performance has been bolstered by the subsequent two-timer that Gurteen, the second that day, has amassed.

After winning a National Hunt Flat race later that month, Robert Tyner’s six-year-old went on to win his second start over hurdles, beating De Plotting Shed by three lengths at Navan last month.

Having destroyed the first field, Min then went on to claim a nine-and-a-half length success in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Navan in January.

The runner-up that day is yet to turn back out, but third-place Ball D’Arc – who is a 25/1 shot for the Supreme – has run twice since and won both times.

Gordon Elliott’s horse claimed a Listed Race over hurdles at Punchestown next time out, then followed up with an even more impressive two-length Grade Two triumph at Naas on Sunday.

All four wins have served to heighten the form line of Mullins’ ante-post favourite, a fact the Closutton handler knows only too well.

Speaking to At The Races, Mullins said of Min: “Everything that runs from his races compliments him. I think he’s as good as Faugheen and Vautour were (when they went to Cheltenham as novices).”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.