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Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2021 Racecard

The Ballymore Novices Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race which takes place each year during the Cheltenham Festival in March. Open to horses four years and older who are novices (meaning they hadn’t won a race over hurdles prior to that season), the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about two miles and five furlongs (2 miles 5 furlongs and 26 yards), with 10 hurdles to be jumped.

1:20 Wed 17 Mar BALLYMORE NOVICES' HURDLE

Distance: 21f 0y Age: 4yo + Prize: £93,750 Going: Gd/Sft

Analyst's Verdict

BRAVEMANSGAME, Gaillard du Mesnil and Bob Olinger have all achieved a similar level of form, but it is the first named who edges the vote in a fascinating clash. He's highly regarded and open to plenty more improvement after winning the Challow Hurdle at Newbury in good style.

ENTRY
FORM
SILKS HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
1
jockey silks 1. BEAR GHYLLS (IRE)
J: Matt Griffiths
T: Nicky Martin
6
11-7
* * *
* * *
Unbeaten in 4 starts, readily defying a BHA mark of 130 in 2m2f Exeter handicap in January to complete his hat-trick over hurdles. Step up in trip in his favour and shouldn't be underestimated.
2
jockey silks 2. BOB OLINGER (IRE)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
6
11-7
* * * *
* * * *
Smart novice, making it 2-3 when convincing winner of Grade 1 Lawlor's at Naas (2m4f) by 6½l from Blue Lord. Sure to go well again with more in the pipeline.
3
jockey silks 3. BRAVEMANSGAME (FR)
J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
6
11-7
* * * * *
* * * * *
Big improver who completed his hat-trick in fine style in Grade 1 Challow at Newbury (2m4f) by 10l from Star Gate. Top-class prospect and clear pick of the home contingent. Leading claims.
4
jockey silks 4. DOES HE KNOW
J: David Bass
T: Kim Bailey
6
11-7
* *
* *
Point winner who completed quick hat-trick in Grade 2 hurdle over C&D in November. Ran out at Newbury next time and well held in hood on handicap bow at Exeter latest. Very hard to make a case for.
5
jockey silks 5. GAILLARD DU MESNIL (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
5
11-7
* * * *
* * * *
Ex-French gelding who has made rapid progress in his three runs over hurdles, hooded when easily bagging Grade 1 novice at Leopardstown (2m6f) last time. Top prospect with promise of more to come.
6
jockey silks 6. KESKONRISK (FR)
J: Donagh Meyler
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
6
11-7
* * *
* * *
Lost his unbeaten record but took his form up a notch when 12½ lengths third of 9 to Appreciate It in Grade 1 at Leopardstown in December. Open to even more progress, so no forlorn hope.
7
jockey silks 7. OPTIMISE PRIME (IRE)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Ben Pauling
5
11-7
*
*
Bagged a pair of 2m4f novice hurdles at Hereford before Christmas and better form when third in listed race at Market Rasen 24 days ago. This is a totally different ball game, though.

Betting Forecast : 9/4 2.25 BOB OLINGER, 5/2 2.5 GAILLARD DU MESNIL, 3/1 3 BRAVEMANSGAME, 11/1 11 BEAR GHYLLS, 14/1 14 KESKONRISK, 50/1 50 DOES HE KNOW, 100/1 100 OPTIMISE PRIME

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is the first race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

The race was first established in 1971, and was won by the Harry Thomson Jones-trained Midsprite under jockey Macer Gifford.

In 1974, Sun Alliance (an insurance company which was later know as Royal & Sun Alliance) began sponsoring the race and as a result the contest became known as the Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle.

The association lasted over 30 years until Ballymore Properties backed the event for the first time in 2006.

Just four years later, Neptune Investment Management took over the reins as main sponsor, and the race was run under their banner for seven years, before Ballymore resumed sponsorship for the 2018 running. Their support was well-founded when City Island – trained by Martin Brassil and owned by Founder and Group Chief Executive of Ballymore, Sean Mulryan – won the 2019 renewal.

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle has produced some top-class hurdlers in the past, notably three-time Champion Hurdle winner Istabraq and two-time Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace .

Faugheen produced one of the best performances in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle since the turn of the century when successful in 2014, beating Ballyalton by four and a half lengths under Ruby Walsh, overcoming a bad mistake at the third last in the process.

Faugheen also went on to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the following year, further enhancing the record of winners of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle that go on to do well in that race.

More recently, the Gordon Elliott-trained Samcro was another impressive winner of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle when sauntering clear of his rivals to win the 2018 renewal. He produced the best performance in the race since the aforementioned Faugheen when readily justifying favouritism.

The most successful Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle trainer in recent times is Willie Mullins , who has won the race four times, with: Fiveforthree (2008), Mikael d’Haguenet (2009), Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016).

The most successful Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle jockey in recent times is Ruby Walsh , who has won the race four times, with: Fiveforthree (2008), Mikael d’Haguenet (2009), Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016).

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Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2022 FAQs

What is the distance of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

2 miles and 5 furlongs and 26 yards

How many obstacles are jumped in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

10

What day of the festival is the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

Day 2

What time is the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

13:30

What weights are carried for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

10st 13lbs (4yo). 11st 7lb (5yo+). 7lb allowance for fillies and mares.

What is the purse for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

£125,000 (2019)

Who is the leading jockey in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle*?

Ruby Walsh

Who is the leading trainer in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle*?

Willie Mullins

Who won the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

You can check out our Ballymore Novices' Hurdle results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle?

Click the link to visit our Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1972

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CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN 2022

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CHELTENHAM RACES 2022

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NEXT RACE SMART STATS

3 Alan King's number of winners in past 10 runnings. (saddles PAINLESS POTTER)
48% Daryl Jacob's strike rate on hurdling favourites (rides IMPULSIVE ONE)
20% Alan King's strike rate with hurdlers at up to 2m2f (saddles PAINLESS POTTER)
;