The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older.
It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 2 miles and 5 furlongs and there are ten flights of hurdles to be jumped.
The Irish have won six of the last seven renewals of the race.
Willie Mullins is the winning most trainer of the race and has taken the prize four times in the last thirteen years so it is a race that he clearly targets with his staying novices.
Gordon Elliott has a better recent record in it though striking in two of the last three renewals.
Nigel Twiston-Davies is the winning most trainer of the home contingent having won the race twice with the likes of Fundamentalist and The New One.
The race usually takes in and around five minutes to complete. It usually pays to side with horses who have at least been placed at Graded level and have won a race within the previous three months.
The only five-year-old to have won this race in the last decade was The New One back in 2013.
The winner is also usually well found in the market with Willoughby Court being the only double-figure priced winner in the last decade.
Previous Winners of the Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Gaillard Du Mesnil – Willie Mullins
Gaillard Du Mesnil teed himself up for a crack at this with a brave win in the Lacey & Partners Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last month.
Despite meeting quite a bit of trouble in running the Willie Mullins trained five-year-old overcame the odds to reel in the front running Stattler and Gentlemansgame.
Hopefully, that last race didn’t take too much out of him and he could well add this prize to an ever-expanding portfolio.
Bravemansgame – Paul Nicholls
Bravemansgame was an impressive ten-length winner of the Challow Hurdle at Newbury last time out.
Unfortunately for him, the previous seventeen winners of that race who have all tried to come on and win this have failed.
Six from the last seven have been placed so stats suggest that he has a definite place chance but not a winning one.
Paul Nicholls has also never won this race which is another massive negative.
Bob Olinger – Henry De Bromhead
Bob Olinger has a most likeable profile and won the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle at that track back in January.
Several winners of that race have gone onto win this race including Envoi Allen (2020) and Mikael D’Haguenet (2009).
He has enjoyed a decent break coming into this so will be fresh and Rachael Blackmore will once again be in the saddle.
He looks as though he will stay three miles in the future so this was an obvious target for Henry De Bromhead and he is a massive player.
Bear Ghylls – Nicky Martin
Bear Ghylls is undefeated in three starts but having contested only minor events thus far, it would take a massive leap of faith to think he could trouble those ahead of him in the betting.
He can only beat what is in front of him though and if he was a resident at a bigger yard chances are his price would be much smaller.
The step up to an extended two-and-a-quarter miles at Exeter last time saw him in a better light and if appreciating another couple of furlongs he could go well at a decent price.
Keskonrisk – Joseph O’Brien
Keskonrisk ran better than could have been expected against Appreciate It in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown just after Christmas.
He managed to finished in front of both Ballyadam and Thedevilscoachman.
The form of the race is starting to work out as the latter has come out and franked the form by winning twice since.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could improve again for the step up in trip.
A likeable sort who would appreciate plenty of rain.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Ballymore Novices Hurdle Tips
Bob Olinger could well prove the answer here following his good win in the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle back in January.
Rachael Blackmore has built up a good relationship with the imposing six-year-old and he may not have had as hard a race as Gaillard Du Mesnil did at Leopardstown.
Bravemansgame will have to defy every statistic in the book to win but Gaillard Du Mesnil looks a worthy opponent and has to be respected given the record of Willie Mullins in the race.
Keskonrisk is a lively outsider who ought to acquit himself well.
Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication
- 7/4 Bob Olinger
- 2/1 Gaillard Du Mesnil
- 4/1 Bravemansgame
- 9/1 Bear Ghylls
- 20/1 Keskonrisk
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