Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Betting Tips, Stats & History

Getting day two of the Cheltenham Festival underway is the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle also known as the Baring Bingham. The non-sponsored name of the race honours the man who organised the first ever Festival back in 1902, though in recent years this one has been known as the Neptune (for previous sponsorship purposes).

Race Info

2m5f is the trip for this Grade 1 Novices’ Chase contest which offers £125,000 in total prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as good to soft, but with plenty of rain in the area it would be no surprise should it come up soft on the day.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to Soft 2m5f Grade 1 £125,000 16 Runners 1/4 1-3

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Betting Tips

Cheltenham, 13:30, Wednesday 13th March 2019

No trainer has landed this prize on as many occasions as the Irish maestro Willie Mullins. We hope that record will be improved still further this year as we will be lending our support to his number one representative, at what looks a tasty price.

There have been some fine victors of this race in recent years who have gone on to claim even more hurdle success. Among them are former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen and Aintree Hurdle champion, The New One.

The betting has tended to be a useful guide in this race with just one of the last 10 winners setting off at odds greater than 7/1. The shortest priced winner over this period came only last year as Irish “good thing” Samcro came home in front.

There are a few real crackers at Cheltenham this week, and this contest has the potential to be right up there with the best of them with a whole host of interesting contenders from both Britain and Ireland.

Champ To Claim The Title?

Best of the home team, and current market leader for the race, is the Nicky Henderson runner, Champ. Unbeaten in four so far this season, he looks to hold his fellow British entries – headed by Brewin’upastrom – on form and is 5lbs clear of the field on official ratings. He wouldn’t be the flashiest type, sometimes taking a little while to hit top stride, but landed the Challow Hurdle in good style last time out, is already a Grade 1 winner and seems likely to at least go close to claiming a fifth win on the spin.

Elliott To Win The Battle?

Top trainer at last year’s Festival - and winner of this race in 2018 - Gordon Elliott sends two to post in the form of the unbeaten duo of Galvin and Battleoverdoyen. Galvin will likely have his supporters at a nice each way price, but it is Battleoverdoyen who boasts the more compelling claims. Like Champ this one has already scored at the top level having stayed on well to claim a Grade 1 at Naas last time out. Considering that was only his second start over obstacles, this six year old is clearly developing at a rate of knots and is greatly feared for a trainer who does so well here.

Game Runner The Each Way Value?

Sams Profile and City Island are interesting each way alternatives to the market leaders, but for us the one who looks to have been most underestimated by the market is the Willie Mullins runner, Easy Game. On a line of form through a horse by the name of Getareason, there wouldn’t be much between this one and Battleoverdoyen at all. The Elliott runner having beaten Getareason by 4¾l, and Easy Game mastering that same rival by 2l despite a terrible passage through the race. Not much between them on the book but Easy Game is available at more than six times the price.

Final Verdict: Easy Game each way

Champ would be our marginal choice from those towards the head of the market, but for us this seems a lot more open than the betting would suggest, and as such we are keen to side with one at a bigger price each way.

The runner to carry our cash is the Mullins representative, Easy Game. This one seems to have surprised even his trainer with the progress he has made this season, and we liked the determination he showed to come from an unpromising position to score last time out. He powered right through the line that day and is fancied to make his presence felt coming up the hill.

Recent Winners

2019 City Island 8/1 Martin Brassil Mark Walsh
2018 Samcro 8/11 Gordon Elliot Jack Kennedy
2017 Willoughby Court 14/1 Ben Pauling David Bass
2016 Yorkhill 3/1 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2015 Windsor Park 9/2 Dermot Weld Davy Russell
2014 Faugheen 6/4 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2013 The New One 7/2 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies
2012 Simonsig 2/1 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2011 First Lieutenant 7/1 Michael Morris Davy Russell
2010 Peddlers Cross 7/1 Donald McCain Jason Maguire

About the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: A Path Taken by Hurdling Greats

Cheltenham Racecourse Buildings
Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0) (Image Cropped)

The history of the Cheltenham Festival is littered with legendary horses, jockeys and trainers. None of it, however, would have been possible were it not for one man.

Baring Bingham was the owner of Prestbury Park around the turn of the 20th century and it was he who is credited with hosting the very first Cheltenham Festival in 1902. He may not be the most well-known man in the history of Cheltenham but the organisers have ensured that he will always be remembered by naming an important race after him.

The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle is the number one race in the mind of many trainers for their leading up and coming hurdlers. Recent stars of the novice hurdling division such as Samcro, Faugheen and Simonsig have hammered home their dominance by winning this race although you’re unlikely to hear many people referring to the race by its official title when discussing those horses’ careers.

What’s In A Name?

The race is currently called the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle after the property development company who sponsor it but it has been variously named after Sun Alliance and Neptune Investment Management over the years.

Chart Showing the Sponsors and name Changes of the Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle Between 1971 and 2019

No matter what it’s called the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is always won by a top class display of hurdling. With a distance of two miles and five furlongs it is a race that demands a certain amount of stamina from the winner, especially as they climb the famous Cheltenham hill in the closing stages.

It’s also a demanding test of hurdling. It’s rare for one of the most fancied horses to fall in running but with such a high level of competition even the slightest jumping mistake at any of the 10 hurdles will be pounced upon and magnified.

Picking The Winner

As winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle takes such a high class performance it is unsurprising that the winner has always shown a high level of hurdling before. The majority of winners had already won at least twice over hurdles and the importance of prior form means that shocks in the betting are very rare indeed.

Clearly, not all previous wins are equal and there are a handful of important races in the build-up that punters should concentrate on. Irish trained horses tend to compete in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown, the Navan Novice Hurdle and the ‘Monksfield’ Novice Hurdle which are both run at Navan.

Chart Showing the Trial Course of Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Winners Between 1990 and 2019

The big British trials include the Winter Novices’ Hurdle, both Ballymore Novices’ Hurdles which are run at Cheltenham in January and the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Warwick.

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is usually one of the most exciting and competitive betting heats of the Cheltenham Festival. That’s because there are always a handful of classy young hurdlers in with a real shot. Moreover, it’s not a race which has been dominated by any one trainer although Irish trainers do have a good record with Willie Mullins leading the way.

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