Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Betting Tips & Trainer Quotes
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Tips
The Ballymore Hurdle – or to use its real title, the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle – is one of the staples of The Festival and is a race with a long history, having been established as the Aldsworth Hurdle. The insurance company Sun Alliance (later Royal & Sun Alliance) began sponsoring the race in 1974, and the race became known as the Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle, a nickname that some still use to this day.
For the last few years, it has been sponsored by Ballymore, and their brand is now strongly associated with the contest along with a number of sponsored trials for the race.
The race has an illustrious roll of honour, with winners including Danoli, the legendary Istabraq, French Holly, Hardy Eustace, The New One, and Faugheen, whilst Nicanor got the better of a certain Denman in 2006. Recent winners have gone onto achieve some great things, and don’t dismiss those who are placed either – the race is often a rich source of contenders for next year’s Festival.
When & Where To Watch Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
13.30 Wednesday, March 11 - LIVE ON: ITV Racing & Racing TV
The Main Contenders
This race has totally revolved around superstar novice Envoi Allen and that’s totally understandable when you take just one look at his record. He was the winner of the Champion Bumper last year when he had Thyme Hill (unbeaten in three, and since a winner of the Challow Hurdle), and Abracadabras, (who has since won the Future Champions Novice Hurdle) both in behind.
He’s since won the Royal Bond Novice’ Hurdle and the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle with a fine turn of foot that none of his opponents have been able to match. It’s nearly impossible to find a fault in him – bar maybe in extreme ground, but he takes a huge amount of the market and it’s likely that he won’t go off any bigger on the day.
There are a clutch of horses who are vying for second favouritism in the market. There’s a decision to be made for Joe Donnelly, who has Shishkin already going to the Supreme, and Asterion Forlonge as a big contender for this following his demolition job in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival. The same connections also have The Big Getaway, who was a wide margin winner at Naas in January.
Asterion Forlonge’s decisive win came over 2 miles at Leopardstown, and was evidently a surprise to Willie Mullins based on the post-race quotes he gave:
"It surprised me and I'm delighted. I had him down as a two-mile-six or three-mile horse. The last day he won at Naas was a mile-and-seven. I had a three-mile horse down in Cork and he got beaten, so I said to myself, I've this fella in the wrong race over two!". he said.
"It looks like I'm wrong and he's a two-miler. He has a huge cruising speed and I said to Danny, 'go out and make the running, you're not making it for our other two, you're making it for yourself so try to get the fractions right."
The Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle has an illustrious record with producing Cheltenham winners, and whilst it is a two-mile contest, the nine and a half lengths between him and Easywork (previously a very easy winner at Gowran over 2m4f, and also on soft ground) suggest that going up in trip will be absolutely no problem for him. He does look like he's heading for the Supreme though.
The Big Getaway is evidently a horse of major potential – he could have doubled his winning margin at Naas, and the second was rated 120, but he was a 2/5 shot there. He was set for a proper battle with Cobbler’s Way at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival before making a hash of the last and never recovering, having raced keenly all the way.
He jumped much better at Naas, but was under little to no pressure there and the Ballymore is likely to be a very different test for him in terms of pace, with much more pressure on the front end. Of course, it could be that he’s a front running type, but this will be a different test and he’ll need to ration his energy levels very well.
The Big Breakaway, had looked a graded performer all over with deeply impressive wins at Chepstow and Newbury in November and December, powering away when asked and finishing on the bridle both times. The way he races suggests that he is every inch a Ballymore horse, but one would have to be significantly less enthusiastic if the knock he picked up just before Trials Day prevents him from being seen in 2020 before The Festival. At the time of writing, he has entries for a number of trials races, but without a third run one might worry about the lack of match fitness.
The #Racehour Cheltenham Festival Preview Night.
There are a number of question mark horses here, who would have to be huge players if they ran, and all are worth discussing. The way in which Chantry House moved at Newbury once again left the undeniable impression that he’s a graded performer, and he shapes as if going further than 2 miles ought not to be a problem. However, JP McManus also has Sporting John, an impressive dual winner at Exeter and last time at Ascot. His wins also came over 2 miles, but the way that he beat Harry Senior, an impressive winner of the Classic Novices Hurdle suggest that he’ll have no problem stretching out in trip.
Harry Senior was deeply impressive there, but he also has the option of going to the Albert Bartlett if the ground happens to be reasonably good on Cheltenham week. Much could depend on what Colin Tizzard does with Tolworth Hurdle winner Fiddlerontheroof, who would be an attractive proposition here but looks set to head to the Supreme at the time of penning this.
From the same connections of last season’s winner City Island, Longhouse Poet might drop back in trip here, having just got the worst of a stamina argument at the Dublin Racing Festival in the Nathaniel Lacey Novices’ Hurdle. It would be a surprise if he, Latest Exhibition (the winner that day) and Cobbler’s Way (second) didn’t end up in the Albert Bartlett on the Friday.
Sporting John The Each Way Play
It’s obvious that Envoi Allen is the standout pick in the field, but he is already such a short price that there can be no value in recommending him at ante-post, unless any prospective punters were worried that he’d go off shorter on the day – which is a situation that only seems likely if Asterion Forlonge also goes to the Supreme alongside the same owners’ Shishkin.
There’s a question mark about the participation of many other contenders in this contest, but it does seem that Sporting John heads here and he looks interesting to at least finish in the first three - he looks a serious player.
A lack of graded experience is a slight worry for him, but that did not stop City Island last season and he certainly doesn’t lack graded form either having beaten subsequent graded winners already this season. He was a previous point to point winner over further and also won over 2 miles 3 & 1/2 furlongs last time out so the trip won't bother him. He looks an each way bet to nothing at the very least to chase home Envoi Allen.
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2020 Result Prediction
- Envoi Allen
- Sporting John
- The Big Getaway
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