The Finale Juvenile Hurdle is one of the key supporting races sharing the card with the Welsh Grand National from Chepstow. This is one of only Grade 2 National Hunt race run for three year olds, alongside the Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle, before becoming classed as four years old at the turn of the year.
Juvenile hurdlers competing here will be aiming to take form from this contest to take to the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle during the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April.
Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle Course Map (Jumps Course)
Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle Past Winners
|2022||Comfort Zone||10/11||Joseph Patrick O'Brien||Jonjo O'Neill Jr|
|2021||Porticello||10/3||Gary Moore||Jamie Moore|
|2020||Adagio*||5/2||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2019||Allmankind||6/5||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|2018||Quel Destin||7/4||Paul Nicholls||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2017||We Have A Dream*||8/11||Nicky Henderson||Daryl Jacobs|
|2016||Defi Du Seuil||4/5||Philip Hobbs||Richard Jonson|
|2015||Adrien Du Pont*||11/8||Paul Nicholls||Nick Schofield|
|2014||Bristol De Mai||6/1||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Daryl Jacobs|
|2013||Le Rocher||11/2||Nick Williams||Richard Johnson|
|2012||Ruacana||10/3||John Ferguson||Denis O'Regan|
|2011||Hollow Tree||13/8||Donald McCain Jnr||Timmy Murphy|
|2010||Marsh Warbler||4/1||Brian Ellison||Fearghal David|
|2009||Me Voici||10/1||Nick Williams||Daryl Jacob|
|2008||Walkon||7/2||Alan King||Robert Thornton|
|2007||Franchoek||7/4||Alan King||Richard Johnson|
|2006||Good Bye Simon||9/4||Theirry Doumen||Mick Fitzgerald|
|2005||Blue Shark||7/1||Nicky Henderson||Mick Fitzgerald|
|2004||Phar Bleu||9/1||Georgie Browne||Tony McCoy|
|2003||Sunray||40/1||Evan Williams||Andrew Thronton|
*Races run in the following January due to abandonment at Chepstow in December.
About the Finale Juvenile Hurdle: Grade 1 Action at the Welsh National Meeting
Late December each year sees what is by some margin the biggest day of the season at Chepstow racecourse, as the track plays host to the stamina-sapping Welsh Grand National. It is a hugely popular event with racegoers, and regularly one of the biggest betting heats of the festive period.
For every feature event on a card, there needs to be a few other half-decent races though; and the Monmouthshire venue doesn’t disappoint in this regard, with plenty of quality featuring on the undercard. The pick of the bunch being this Grade 2 event (Grade 1 up to 2021) for the juvenile hurdlers.
First run in 1971, and open only to runners aged three years at the start of the current season, this two mile contest had been one of only three top level juvenile hurdling events of the season – the other two being the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and Aintree’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle, before being being downgraded from 2022.
Unsurprisingly due to the time of year at which the contest takes place, the race has fallen foul of the weather on a few occasions; it was abandoned altogether in 1978, 1994, 1995 and 1996, and delayed until January in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020. As all horses have their birthday on 1st January, the field had all turned four by the time those latter four editions took place, unintentionally breaking the rules of the race (though obviously none were disqualified!).
Jacob and Johnson Vie For The Lead
There have been seven jockeys in all to come home in front in this race on more than one occasion, including some of the biggest names in the sport from both past and present but, as of 2022, no rider has yet managed to break the three wins barrier.
Co-leaders Richard Johnson, Peter Scudamore and Mick Fitzgerald won’t be adding to their haul now but Daryl Jacob is still active and may yet claim the outright lead.
Henderson Joins Martin At The Top
No jockey may yet have managed to claim this pot on more than three occasions, but we do have two trainers who have achieved that feat. Legendary handler Martin Pipe was the first to do so when Tony McCoy steered Rainwatch to victory in 1997.
That final success in the race for Pipe came two years before Nick Henderson’s first win in the race with Mister Banjo in 1999, but by 2017 Henderson had drawn level at the top of the trainers table, thanks to the victory of We Have A Dream.
With Pipe now retired, and Henderson still going strong, will it be the Lambourn handler who is the first to five wins?
Bristol And Defi The Class Acts
This contest comes very early in a National Hunt performer’s career, and not all winners of the race have gone on to deliver on the promise of such a precocious Grade 1 success. Some do though, with two runners in particular standing out from the crowd.
Successful for Nigel Twiston-Davies in 2014, the talented grey Bristol De Mai went on to land four Grade 1 triumphs as a chaser, in addition to an admirable third place finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The pick of the previous victors for our money though is Philip Hobbs’ 2016 champ Defi Du Seuil. The JP McManus owned star registered a further six successes at the top level, including wins in the Triumph Hurdle and JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Bristol De Mai & Defi Du Seuil Comparison (as of 2022-23)
|Bristol De Mai||Defi Du Seuil|
|Trainer||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Philip Hobbs|
|Sire||Saddler Maker||Voix Du Nord|
|Dam||La Bole Night||Quarvine Du Seuil|
|Grade 1 Wins||5||7|