The Supreme Novices' Hurdle is the championship race for 2-mile novice hurdlers and traditional curtain-raiser to the Festival.
As such, it is greeted by the famous Cheltenham roar, as the tapes go up to signal the end of 12 months wait for the highlight of the jumps season.
It is often a stepping stone to further glory, with those involved in the finish frequently going on to even bigger and better things.
Unsurprisingly, a number of Supreme Novices' Hurdle winners have subsequently triumphed in the Champion Hurdle, including the great Bula.
Brave Inca was the last horse to win both races, but since then Binocular and Buveur d'Air both placed in the Supreme before going on to win the Champion Hurdle.
It has also showcased future Cheltenham Gold Cup winners - Best Mate, Kicking King and War Of Attrition were runners-up in 2000, 2003 and 2004 respectively.
More recently, Sizing John finished third in 2015 before winning the Gold Cup in 2017.
SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE TRENDS
Willie Mullins has trained the winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle a total of seven times, but he has also saddled a number of beaten favourites in recent years:
Dysart Dynamo 9/4jf (2022), Asterion Forlonge 9/4f (2020), Getabird 7/4f (2018), Melon 3/1jf (2017) and Min 15/8f (2016).
But the market remains a decent guide - the enigmatic Lebaik is the only Supreme winner at double-figure odds in the last 10 renewals.
Very few genuine ex-flat horses have featured in the finish recently, with the emphasis instead being on NH pedigrees and, very often, high-class bumper form.
LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA
Constitution Hill produced a performance for the ages in 2022, winning by 22 lengths in a new course record time.
He subsequently received a rating of 170, the highest ever given to a novice hurdler since Anglo-Irish Classifications began in 1999/2000:
Runner-up in the Champion Bumper 12 months earlier, Appreciate It fully justified market support to win the 2021 Supreme.
His 24-length victory was the widest winning margin in a hurdle at the Festival this century, albeit his closest pursuer fell at the last:
Shishkin edged out Abacadabras in a thrilling finish in 2020:
Klassical Dream was an emotional winner in 2019, with his owner John Coleman having passed away the previous year:
Summerville Boy snatched victory in the last few strides in 2018, despite errors at the final two hurdles:
Labaik was a surprise winner in 2017, not least because of a tendency to refuse to start races:
Altior won a classic Supreme Novices' Hurdle renewal in 2016, beating the likes of Min and Buveur D'Air:
Douvan bolted up to justify considerable pre-race hype in 2015, with future Gold Cup winner Sizing John third:
Vautour powered to the first of his three Cheltenham Festival wins in the 2014 Supreme Novices' Hurdle:
Champagne Fever, winner of the Champion Bumper in 2012, won what proved to be a vintage renewal of the Supreme in 2013.
The race also featured the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki, the 2015 Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets and three-time Festival winner Cause Of Causes:
Future superstars Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card both came up short in the 2011 Supreme:
Looking back further, Brave Inca's clash with War Of Attrition in 2004 was a classic.
Brave Inca went on to win the Champion Hurdle in 2006 and War Of Attrition the Gold Cup in the same year:
While in 2000, the future three-time Gold Cup winner Best Mate couldn't reel in Sausalito Bay, despite a late charge: