Rachael Blackmore tips Slade Steel for Cheltenham victory in Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Rachael Blackmore is confident Slade Steel can deliver victory on day one of the Cheltenham Festival in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

The superstar jockey is primed for another big week at ‘The Greatest Show on Turf,’ and has four chances of a win on Tuesday.

The Irish woman delivered wins on Honeysuckle in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle and Envoi Allen in the Ryanair Chase last year.

Blackmore will be targeting victory before another run at the Gold Cup on Friday, following wins on Minella Indo (2021) and A Plus Tard (2022) in recent years.

And the 34-year-old will be hoping to add to her 14 total victories across four packed race cards this week in what promises to be a thrilling climax to the jump racing season.

And Blackmore believes Slade Steel could deliver the perfect start with the soft ground suiting him.

1.30 - Slade Steel

“Slade Steel runs in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle instead of in the Gallagher,” the Betfair ambassador says. “Before I rode him in the Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle over two miles at the Dublin Racing Festival, I would have said that he would have been better in the longer race. But he was sharp at Leopardstown, I don't think that the two-mile trip will be an issue for him.

“Obviously this is a very good race, it's a Supreme Novices' Hurdle and it's very competitive, but I think that he is bang there with his chance. He's a horse we've always held in high regard and soft ground won't be an issue for him. We're hoping for a big run.”

Rachael Blackmore with Slade Steel on the gallops ahead of the Cheltenham Festival (David Davies/PA Wire)
Rachael Blackmore with Slade Steel on the gallops ahead of the Cheltenham Festival (David Davies/PA Wire)

2.10 - Qulixios

“I'm really looking forward to riding Quilixios in the Arkle. We were very happy with his run at Naas last time, dropped back down to two miles. His jumping was good and he won well.

“This is a very competitive Arkle, but Quilixios is a Triumph Hurdle winner, he has a touch of class and he won his only race at the track. I think that he can run a really big race.”

2.50 - Eklat De Rire

“Eklat De Rire has had his issues, but he put up a much improved performance last time at Fairyhouse. Only two of us finished in the end, but his jumping was good and he kept on well.

“Unfortunately he unseated me in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Cheltenham three years ago when we thought that he would run a big race. He is 10 now, but the handicapper has given him a chance. He goes into the race in good form, he should enjoy the ground and I hope that he can go well.”

4.10 - Telmesomethinggirl

“This is very competitive again, Lossiemouth is last year's Triumph Hurdle winner and she looked impressive at Cheltenham on her return this season, but Telmesomethinggirl goes there with a live chance.

“She won the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2021 and she was unlucky to be brought down at the second last flight in the Mares' Hurdle the following year when she was travelling well.

“She was chasing last season, but she has improved with each of her runs this season back over hurdles. She ran really well last time in the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas, and I hope that she can run a big race.”

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