The Finale Juvenile Hurdle is one of the key supporting races sharing the card with the Welsh Grand National from Chepstow. This is the only Grade 1 National Hunt race run for three year olds 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.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 9th January 2021
- Winner: Adagio
- SP: 5/2
- Trainer: David Pipe
- Jockey: Tom Scudamore
As is so often the case at this time of year, conditions at Chepstow are set to be rather gruelling. The predicted heavy going for this rearranged meeting will come as no surprise to anyone involved but it does mean we are set for a rather slow pace in south east Wales.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Heavy||2 miles||Grade 1||£50,000||8||1/5 1-3|
Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2021. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Favourites have enjoyed a lot of success in this race in recent renewals, something which bodes well for this year’s market leader, Nassalam. Four of our last five Finale winners set off as favourites with the only exception being second favourite Quel Destin in 2018. Going a little further back, over the past 12 years there have only been two horses originating from outside the top three in the betting. Interestingly, on both occasions they were horses saddled by Nick Williams who has one name in the mix this time around.
What about experience? How important of a factor has that proven to be in past Juvenile Hurdle renewals? Quite a significant one, it seems, with all 12 of our past champions having made at least three previous hurdles starts before coming to Chepstow. All but two of these horses had also managed to claim victory over the smaller obstacles too. The leading trio in the betting this year all have at least three starts and a win but the only other horse to meet these two trends is the 20/1 outsider, Bannister.
|Nassalam||10/11||140||Gary Moore||Jamie Moore|
|Yggdrasil||20/1||-||Nick Williams||Gavin Sheehan|
Nassalam – 10/11
Backing Nassalam in this contest will not return you a huge amount should he prove a winner but he firmly remains the most attractive option in this contest. After a very solid debut in Clairefontaine, Gary Moore noticed the talented this young horse had and brought him into his yard from across the south border. Handed a few weeks to settle in his new surroundings, Nassalam headed to Fontwell where he blew his three rivals away, winning by a 59-length margin. Jamie Moore ought to be credited for his role in the victory and the 35 year old jockey is booked to join forces with Nassalam once again.
To prove this was no fluke, the chestnut three year old secured a near repeat result at the very same course, this time with underfoot conditions not quite as muddy. Facing five other horses, he scored a 49-length victory, so his big step in class this Sunday is fully deserved. Having proven ability of excelling near the minimum distance, in difficult conditions, should prove decisive this Saturday. We are in for some wet and boggy ground in Wales but this is something Gary Moore’s horse seems to relish. From what we have seen, he is a perfectly solid jumper too, so the risk of him scuppering his chances over one of the eight hurdles appears slim.
Yggdrasil – 20/1
For the more adventurous betters out there who are rarely keen backing a horse at an odds-on price, you do have the option of this rather unfancied contender. Although we do not think he will have the beating of Nassalam, he is a horse we expect will run well with a top two finish well within the realms of possibility. Supporting his case is trainer Nick Williams, whose horses often tend to go under the radar. Just prior to this race, he had been involved in 304 British hurdles races this season, while only recording a tiny level stakes loss of just £8.79. A level stakes loss this low is impressive given the number of starts involved.
So, while it is very possible Yggdrasil is trading at a generous price, is this horse actually any good? We have only seen him out in action once so far but it was a debut showing on which we are expecting him to build. Early last month, the bay gelding headed to Sandown to complete in a Class 2 hurdle event featuring some decent competition. The going was heavy at the time but Nick William’s horse had no issues with the ground as he held off strong favourite Paros to third place. Jumping is, however, a slight concern, with the three year old jumping left at the second and making a mistake at the fourth, but on a debut showing we can forgive these errors. Additionally, his sire, Kapgarde, is responsible for many high-quality jumpers so improvements at Chepstow would come as no surprise.
Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle Winners
|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|
*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 1 event 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 contest is 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.
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 and 2017. 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 2019, no rider has yet managed to break the three wins barrier.
Co-leaders Peter Scudamore and Mick Fitzgerald won’t be adding to their haul now, but both Champion Jockey Richard Johnson and Daryl Jacob are 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 in 2019, 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 (and counting) 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 2020)
|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|