At 1.30pm on Tuesday the racing world will be greeted to the truly wonderful sound of the ‘Cheltenham roar’ which signals the start of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and Getabird is certainly my idea of the winner.

Willie Mullins’ six-year-old looked more of a staying type when easily landing his debut over timber at Punchestown in December but dropped in trip and back at the same track in January he made a mockery of some smart rivals to very much insert himself at the head of the Supreme market.

However, at 5/4 he’s skinny enough for the curtain-raiser, and I’d rather have Mengli Khan onside each-way at 12-1. Rated 96 on the flat for Hugo Palmer, the five-year-old impressed when landing a hat-trick before the turn of the year, but then inexplicably ran out at the second last in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle over Christmas, having tanked through the contest and holding every chance before coming to grief.

Granted, Mengli Khan was subsequently put firmly in his place by Getabird at Punchestown, but he again travelled strongly and just had no answer to the latter’s turn of foot. That may well the case again here, but I’d rather take 3-1 about Gordon Elliott’s charge running into a place than the prohibitive odds on the Mullins’ hotpot.

Apple’s Jade looks the absolute banker on day one in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (4.10).

Elliott’s charge is the odds-on favourite for this same contest she landed in such thrilling style last year, and although Vroum Vroum Mag does reoppose again, there can be no confidence in her overturning the form given she’s been off the track since a below-par display at Punchestown way back in April.

Elliott’s six-year-old meanwhile has had a near faultless preparation this season, easing to victories at Navan and Fairyhouse prior to producing a cracking performance to land the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, outstaying Supasundae under a power-packed ride from Davy Russell.

Many observers – myself included – think she should be running in the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday, a race I believe she would win, but she’s Michael O’Leary’s horse and if the Ryanair-owner wants to claim this lesser-prize year-on-year then good luck to him. Trading at around 4/6 during the past week, there’s a good chance there will be some evens around on Tuesday morning and I’d put no one off at that price.

Conditions are set to be on the softer side this week due to the recent snow and rain at Cheltenham and one handicapper who won’t mind one iota is Donald McCain’s Testify, who looks well set to strike a serious blow for the North in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap (5.30) which brings day one to a close.

Testify produced some smart form over hurdles (rated 135) but has really flourished during his novice campaign over fences, winning three decent races on going no better than soft, including a pair of commanding performances to win twice at Haydock, albeit beating just four rivals in total. His lack of experience in a big-field handicap is a sight worry, but that’s factored into his price (generally 20-1, 25s available) and he certainly appeals as having strong each-way claims off a mark of 145, in what will be the tightest handicap of the week, with around 4lb set to separate the 20-runner field.

This looks a seriously hot race, with a host of unexposed novices including De Plotting Shed, but it’s hard to make a case for backing him at 5-1, with Testify having nothing to find with Gordon Elliott’s antepost favourite yet being available at five times the price, with no worries over soft underfoot conditions.

Day 1 selections

1.30: Getabird

2.10: Footpad

2.50: Singlefarmpayment

3.30: Faugheen

4.10: Apple’s Jade (nap)

4.50: No Comment (nb)

5.30: Testify