Angel’s Breath was well-backed for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, but the Nicky Henderson runner struggled in tricky conditions, eventually finishing down the field in seventh position.
Punters may wish to give the five-year-old the benefit of doubt; he didn’t have the easiest trip and his Irish point-to-point form suggests that he will improve.
Previously trained by P.M.J Doyle, Angel’s Breath ticks all the right boxes for a long and successful career as a hurdler. With better conditions, he could take a step up and prove himself against Grade 1 rivals.
He finished second in a Grade 2 at Kempton Park back in February and the grueling nature of that battle may have had a lingering impact on his preparations for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The money came for Angel’s Breath but he failed to justify the hope. Backed confidently in online casino and betting markets, the Henderson runner was as short as 5/1 with firms for Supreme glory.
Cast your minds back to his point-to-point victory at Moira in April 2018; he finished a good 12 lengths clear of second on that day and that is arguably his best form so far.
Bizarrely, that win was also on soft/heavy ground. Perhaps it was the famous Cheltenham hill or he just failed to settle under Nico de Boinville – you won’t find many punters writing Angel’s Breath off just yet.
Trying to find the reason for his poor run is hard but connections will work hard at home to make sure Angel’s Breath bounces back stronger for that Festival disappointment.
Henderson will have to try and figure out the best path for Angel’s Breath – sending him out quickly to Aintree might not be the best option.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Angel’s Breath sit out and he could bounce back stronger ahead of the 2019/20 National Hunt campaign. Sending him over an extended three miles wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world; this was just his fourth run over hurdles after all.
best in the business
Angel’s Breath is out of dam Mystic Masie and she has now given birth to two winners; a positive indicator for the future. Does he look like a chaser? Possibly but he isn’t the biggest or strongest five-year-old around. Staying over hurdles is preferred and next year could be stick or twist time for connections.
This time next year, he could be lined up for anything.
Stay patient with Angel’s Breath and you may be rewarded. Henderson is one of the
and knows talent when he sees it. Angel’s Breath isn’t another hype horse; he is the real deal.
Given time, we could see the best of Angel’s Breath in 2019/20 and beyond. If we see him before, it might be wise for punters to give him a second chance off the back of that tricky Festival run.