Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Betting Tips & Trainer Quotes
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Tips
The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is the opening race of Day 2 at the Cheltenham Festival and looks one of the more open graded races this year. With it being run at an intermediate trip it attracts horses with both speed and stamina and has been used as a platform to future festival successes for the likes of Faugheen, Simonsig and Istabraq.
When & Where To Watch Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
13.20 Wednesday, March 17 - LIVE ON: ITV Racing & Racing TV
The Irish Contenders
Willie Mullins is the leading trainer in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle with four wins, most recently with the enigmatic Yorkhill, and he has the current antepost favourite in Gaillard Du Mesnil. He was an expensive purchase from the Arqana Sales having shown a good level of form in France and made his Irish debut after 385 days off the track at Punchestown in November. The son of Saint Des Saints (sire of Djakdam among others) shaped like he needed the run that day when second behind Holymacapony over 2m4f.
Like many of the Mullins trained runners at Christmas, he showed great improvement on his next start when beating subsequent winner Mr Incredible by 9 ½ lengths at Leopardstown despite racing keenly throughout. Connections fitted the five-year-old with a first time hood for the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle over 2m6f at the Dublin Racing Festival and it worked well as he settled beautifully throughout the race. He justified strong market support to beat a deep field by 5 lengths showing a good blend of speed and stamina.
The horses who finished behind him; Gentlemansgame, Stattler and Fakiera all look set for a step up in trip to the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the festival so he will be facing new challengers on the opening race of Day 2. The last seven winners of the race were all aged 6 which is a negative for this five-year-old but he is obviously worthy of respect bringing the strongest recent form to the race.
The Robcour owned Bob Olinger won a 2m2f bumper at Gowran Park in March last year impressively by 10 lengths so it was a slight surprise to see this Irish PTP winner make his hurdling debut over 2 miles in November. The Henry De Bromhead trained gelding was only beaten a length by Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow over the minimum trip and emerged with huge credit after the race.
As the 1/8 odds suggested he would, Bob Olinger won easily over 2m4f at Navan in a maiden hurdle before taking the step up to Grade 1 company in his stride with a polished performance in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle in January. The winning distance over Blue Lord, who looks likely to contest either the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle bor a handicap at the festival, was a widening 6 ½ lengths at the finish. He will bid to emulate last year’s winner Envoi Allen who completed the Naas-Ballymore double last season and will head to the festival with strong claims.
The likes of Appreciate It, Dreal Deal and Ballyadam all look set to contest the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Day 1 of the festival so it could be down to recent Naas winner Gentelman De Mee to further bolster the strong Irish hand in the race. He made all to win by 4 ½ lengths on his stable debut for Willie Mullins in February over 2 miles but jockey Mark Walsh was under the impression that a step up in trip to an intermediate distance would be where his future lies.
He would be a fascinating contender if allowed to take his chance in the race although the last eleven winners had all won at least one bumper which would be a negative for his chances.
The UK Contenders
John Dance and Bryan Drew spent £370,000 on Bravemansgame back in 2019 and was picked out by Megan Nicholls in an interview later that year as a horse for the future. He was beaten in two bumpers later that year before finding the speedier Soaring Glory too good over 2 miles at Chepstow on his hurdling debut. Two victories in November followed but it was his 10 length romp in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury that put him to the top of the antepost betting for this contest in December.
The performance drew comparisons to Denman from Paul Nicholls and his trainer will be hoping that this son of Brave Mansonnien can go one better than “The Tank” did in 2006. Denman himself is one of the 17 winners of the Challow Hurdle to come here and fail to win but it is worth noting that 6 of the 7 last to try have placed in the race. Bravemansgame is deservedly the highest rated novice hurdler in the UK and is versatile ground wise but he does look vulnerable to a speedier type if there isn’t a strong pace in the race.
BRAVEMANSGAME (131p)— Grant James Thomas (@Grant_Some92) December 20, 2020
An effortless winner in his last 2 starts but he hasn’t been tested yet!
He has plenty of potential and it was Nicholls himself who brought Denman into the conversation when discussing his future, could be anything, 2m4f his trip pic.twitter.com/ZUzRUlAPJx
Four of the last seven winners of the race arrived into it following unbeaten seasons and that would have been five if 2019 winner City Island hadn’t been disqualified for causing interference on his first start over obstacles. One contender who fits that trend is Bear Ghylls for the Bradley Partnership. This Nicky Martin trained gelding overcame odds of 33/1 to win a bumper on debut before extending that winning sequence to three following victories over hurdles at both Lingfield and Ffos Las. Connections took advantage of an opening handicap mark of 130 last time at Exeter but his jumping will have to improve if he is to be involved in the business end of this race.
Another coming into the race unbeaten over hurdles is the Tom Lacey trained Adrimel. The horse provided his trainer with his first Grade 2 success last time in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick when upped in trip to 2m5f for the first time. He looked a strong stayer in first time cheekpieces that day and also has the option of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the festival later in the week. With a revised rating of 142 he will have to improve to be a factor in this race but he could be the pace angle if being allowed to take his chance.
The Irish have won 6 out of the last 7 renewals of this race and they look to hold a strong hand again this year. Preference goes to the Henry De Bromhead trained Bob Olinger who showed on his hurdling debut over 2 miles that he has lots of speed for a stayer and I expect him to provide jockey Rachel Blackmore with another Grade 1 success at the festival.
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