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Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2020 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.

1:30

Wednesday 11 March

Distance: 21f 0y Age: 4yo + Prize: £125000 Going: Soft

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. DECOR IRLANDAIS (FR)
J: Mr N. McParlan
T: Noel C. Kelly, Ireland
7
11-7
Much-improved model over hurdles this season, shrugging aside a double penalty to score at Catterick in December. Good second to Mossy Fen in Warwick Grade 2 since, but this is a big ask.
22 stars

2
jockey silks 2. EASYWORK (FR)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6
11-7
Bumper winner who won his first 2 starts over hurdles, jumping slickly on both occasions. No match for Asterion Forlonge at Leopardstown last time but will prove suited by this step back up in trip.
33 stars

3
jockey silks 3. ENVOI ALLEN (FR)
J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6
11-7
Winning pointer who won all 4 bumper starts last term, notably the Champion Bumper. Also 3 from 3 over hurdles this season, including 2 Grade 1s. Lot better to come yet, so very much the one to beat.
55 stars

4
jockey silks 4. GETAWAY FRED (IRE)
J: Harry Cobden
T: Colin Tizzard
6
11-7
Winning Irish pointer who landed 2m Chepstow novice in November. Has posted good efforts in defeat since, including up in trip last time, but has lots to find now raised significantly in grade.
11 stars

5
jockey silks 5. LONGHOUSE POET (IRE)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: Martin Brassil, Ireland
6
11-7
Won sole start in points/bumpers and ran out a cosy winner of a big-field maiden at Navan in December. Much better form when third in a pair of Grade 1s since and he's not without each-way hope.
33 stars

6
jockey silks 6. MOSSY FEN (IRE)
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
5
11-7
Strong, rangy 5-y-o who quickly got back on the up when landing 5-runner Warwick Grade 2 in January, finding plenty to lead close home. Can improve again, but hard to see him troubling the principals.
22 stars

7
jockey silks 7. SHAKEM UP'ARRY (IRE)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Ben Pauling
6
11-7
Good prospect who has chased home 2 of Nicky Henderson's brightest young prospects in consecutive starts at Newbury (2m). Will win races in time but this is a very difficult task.
11 stars

8
jockey silks 8. SHAN BLUE (IRE)
J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
6
11-7
Opened his hurdling account in Southwell maiden and good second in Huntingdon listed event last time, though no match for winner Shishkin. A big step forward is required here.
22 stars

9
jockey silks 9. SON OF CAMAS (FR)
J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
5
11-7
Disappointed in Land Rover bumper but back on track this season, winning a Newbury bumper/maiden hurdle in good style. Well held third in the Tolworth last time and has had a wind operation since.
22 stars

10
jockey silks 10. SPORTING JOHN (IRE)
J: Barry Geraghty
T: Philip Hobbs
5
11-7
Winning pointer and unbeaten in 3 novice hurdles, looking potentially top-drawer when readily landing 4-runner Ascot event up in trip last time. More to come, and well worth his chance in this grade.
44 stars

11
jockey silks 11. THE BIG BREAKAWAY (IRE)
J: Robbie Power
T: Colin Tizzard
5
11-7
Cost £360,000 after bolting up in a point and has won both his starts over hurdles impressively at Chepstow and Newbury. This asks for more but he's an exciting prospect who shouldn't be overlooked.
33 stars

12
jockey silks 12. THE BIG GETAWAY (IRE)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
11-7
Point/bumper winner who fully confirmed the promise of his hurdling debut with wide-margin maiden success at Naas (19f, soft) in January. Has scope for plenty of improvement.
33 stars

Analyst's Verdict

Last year's Champion Bumper winner ENVOI ALLEN has looked a potential top-notcher over hurdles this season, and has even more to give should the situation demand it, so he's taken to stretch his unbeaten record in this sphere to 4. Sporting John is proving a most progressive novice, so he's clear pick of the home contingent, ahead of Colin Tizzard's The Big Breakaway.

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 2020 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 (2020)

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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