Supreme display from Irving

  • Last Updated: February 22 2014, 18:15 GMT

Irving is the clear 4/1 second favourite for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle following an impressive performance at Kempton Park.

Irving ran out a very easy winner of the Dovecote Hurdle
Irving ran out a very easy winner of the Dovecote Hurdle

Paul Nicholls' charge is now unbeaten in four starts over hurdles and justified strong support in the Sky Bet sponsored Dovecote Novices' Hurdle with a five length defeat of Amore Alato.

Irving had been 7/1 in the morning of the race but is now challenging Vautour for favouritism in the ante-post market for the Cheltenham Festival with some firms betting 3/1 the pair.

Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners said: "That was a fantastic win for Irving and he looks the real deal heading into the Sky Bet Supreme.

"His potent turn of foot could be the decisive weapon at Cheltenham and he's clearly the top of the tree regarding the English-trained contenders.

"With Vautour leading the Irish challenge, we're all set for a mouthwatering battle for what promises to be a supreme start to the Cheltenham Festival."

William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke was hoping for a different result, saying: "We wanted to get Irving beat but it wasn't to be - and he's now the shortest-priced British hope for the Supreme."

The six-year-old also has an entry in the County Hurdle for which he is still available at 14s although he is as low as 7/1 from 16s for the two mile handicap.

Activial, a horse who Harry Fry said would probably 'skip Cheltenham and go for the Grade One at Aintree', has given his trainer a headache by impressively winning the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton.

The Grade Two contest has been a good pointer to the JCB Triumph Hurdle in recent years and Activial, who finished second to leading Triumph fancy Calipto on his British bow, is now a general 12/1 chance (from 25s) for the juvenile crown.

His Newbury conqueror has also been cut as a result and the Paul Nicholls-trained runner is down to 5s in places after having his form franked in good style.

Fry, however, is still not committing to next month's meeting saying: "We won't nail our colours to the mast on Cheltenham. Noel (Fehily) said he's not necessarily a Triumph horse."

There were more potential Triumph Hurdle candidates on show at Fairyhouse where Willie Mullins duly won the Grade Two Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle although it was with neither this week's market mover All Pepper nor odds-on favourite Adriana Des Mottes.

The last-named did finish second but she had to play second fiddle to Abbyssial who is now as low as 14/1 for the juvenile crown at the Cheltenham Festival from 33/1 but he is still 25/1 with Racebets.

The runner-up is out to 33/1 with the same firm while All Pepper has also been pushed back out to 40s, the price at which he was available earlier in the week.

Abbyssial does have an alternative entry at Cheltenham and the Beneficial gelding has been cut to a general 14/1 from 25s for the Fred Winter with Adriana Des Mottes 12s from 16s for the same race although the top price is still available.

Rory Jiwani of Stan James summed up the Triumph Hurdle market movers, saying: "Harry Fry's Activial wore down his rivals to take the Adonis Hurdle and we cut him from 20/1 to 10/1 for the Triumph although jockey Noel Fehily said afterwards he was not necessarily a Triumph horse.

"He could wait for Aintree but his win enhanced the claims of Calipto who beat him at Newbury in November. Paul Nicholls' charge is now our 5/1 Triumph favourite from 7/1.

"Over in Ireland, Abbyssial won at Fairyhouse for Willie Mullins with stablemates Adriana Des Mottes and All Pepper in behind. The winner's tail-flashing antics may give punters cause for concern but we cut him from 33/1 to 16/1 for the Triumph and 20/1 to 10/1 for the Fred Winter."

Looking further ahead to the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree in April, Wyck Hill and On His Own were both shortened after winning at Newcastle and Fairyhouse respectively on Saturday.

The former won the Eider Chase for trainer David Bridgwater and is now 33/1 from 40s while the Willie Mullins-trained On His Own is 20/1 (totesport, Betfred) from 25s.

  • Update posted at 1600 GMT on 22/02/2014.