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POINTERS ON TRACK

Strong representation of ex-Irish pointers in Supreme Novice

The opening race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices hurdle sees a final entry of 22, with multiple point-to-point graduates amongst them.

Gold Cup-winning owner Joe Donnelly holds two entries in the contest, both Asterion Forlonge and Shishkin repectively.
 
Shishkin won a four-year-old maiden at Lingstown in commanding fashion in 2018 for handler Virginia Considine. Following that success, the son of Sholokhov was snapped up for £170,000 by Highflyer Bloodstock.
 
Since joining the Nicky Henderson stable, he has won on three occasions from four starts, falling at the second flight of hurdles on his second start.
 
He has impressed since that mishap, winning at Newbury and Huntingdon in impressive fashion on both occasions.
 
Asterion Forlonge was a winner of a four-year-old maiden at Oldtown for Pat Doyle in 2017, where he quickened clear to beat Assemble by six lengths.
 
He has remained unbeaten on all three starts since for Willie Mullins, most recently impressively winning the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, defeating Easywork by nine and a half lengths.
 
The grey son of Coastal Path is one of the leading contenders in the betting  for Tuesday's opener.
 
Unbeaten on his three starts to date in England, Chantry House sold for £295,000 at the Cheltenham December sale in 2018 to Nicky Henderson following his four-year-old maiden success at Tattersalls Farm in 2018 under Jamie Codd. The son of Yeats represents one of two entries for J.P Manus.
 
Envoi Allen (pictured above), one of the main talking horses of the season heads the betting for the Grade 1 contest. 
 
Now trained by Gordon Elliott, the son of Muhtathir has remained unbeaten in all of his seven starts following his facile victory in a four-year-old maiden at Ballinaboola in 2018 before subsequently changing hands for a grand sum of £400,000 at the 2018 Cheltenham January sale where he was bought by Tom Malone.
 
Fiddlerontheroof looks to be improving with every run, winning the Grade 1 Tolworth at Sandown most recently in January, where he defeated the Gavin Cromwell-trained Jeremy's Flame by a cosy six-lengths.
 
The imposing son of Stowaway ran in two point-to-points for Shirley Berry, before changing hands to John Joe Walsh where he won a bumper at Navan upon the third time of asking.
 
On that occasion, he beat the well-regarded The Big Getaway, before heading to the Aintree Sale in April where Ross Doyle and Colin Tizzard bought the gelding for £200,000.
 
Although likely to be sent off at big odds if he shows up, Shan Blue won a four-year-old maiden on his debut at Turtulla in 2018 for the Andy Slattery team.
 
Ridden by Roger Quinlan on that occasion, he has since changed hands to Dan Skelton, where he won his maiden hurdle most impressively by 20 lengths.
 
The son of Shantou has most recently finished just 11 lengths off the aforementioned Shishkin at Huntingdon in early February.
 

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