Cheltenham Preview: Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Alan Marron is on hand to mark your card for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival

Alan Marron has a couple of fancies for one of the Cheltenham Festival’s novice hurdles


Wednesday March 11th, 1:30pm

Ballymore have sponsored this race since 2018 after an eight-year hiatus. The race itself was founded in 1971 and it is registered as the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, in honour of Baring Bingham who purchased Prestbury Park in 1898 and helped organise the first Cheltenham Festival back in 1902.

In terms of the winners of this race, Willie Mullins has a very good record in it as he has won it four times – Fiveforthree (2008), Mikael D’Haguenet (2009), Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016). Willie has plenty of ammunition again this year and he shouldn’t be overlooked.

Some of the main trends and stats for the race are as follows:

  • 26 of the last 27 winners have had at least three runs over hurdles
  • 28 of the last 30 winners were in the top six of the betting for the race.
  • 6 year olds have won 14 of the last 22 renewals
  • The Irish have won this race in 6 of the last 10 renewals.
  • The Navan Novice Hurdle, Deloitte Novice Hurdle and Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle have been good form guides for this race.

Bar One Racing’s ‘Ballymore’ market can be found here

Bar One Racing’s ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival can be found here


THE BIG GETAWAY—— Trainer Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins has a great record in this race and The Big Getaway is a prime contender based on the form that he has shown so far this season.

He really impressed me in a maiden hurdle at Naas last time out and Willie Mullins is not afraid of taking on Envoi Allen should he show up here. The form of the Naas race has worked out really well with the second-placed Foxy Jacks and the sixth-placed Granny Knot both having come out and won nicely since.

The Big Getaway has a line of form in a bumper behind Fiddlerontheroof back at Navan in March 2019. This horse is the type to improve as he grows and could improve off the back of the seventeen-length win last time out and could go very close here.

**The Big Getaway‘s price for the ‘Ballymore’ as at 2:30pm on Tues 25th Feb 2020 was 7/1


Trainer Willie Mullins ha a fine record in the ‘Ballymore’


COBBLER’S WAY ——-Trainer Henry De Bromhead

Whether this horse will actually line up in this race is the main question but he looks value at a double-figure price (Bar One Racing are Non Runner/No Bet in their Cheltenham ante-post markets).

He ran a very respectable race when second last time out at Leopardstown behind the Paul Nolan- trained Latest Exhibition. His form prior to that was strong enough when second to Andy Dufresne in a Navan maiden hurdle, where he was well beaten by the winner. He was five-and-a-half lengths clear of the third and he improved off the back of that when he was successful to break his maiden when he won at Navan with my previous selection (see above), The Big Getaway, back in fourth. He stayed on well that day and this trip should be right up his street. If he ends up in this race he looks a very decent betting proposition and could be decent each-way value.

He will make a lovely chaser next season but is one to pay close attention to for the rest of this season.

**Cobbler’s Way’s price for the ‘Ballymore’ as at 2:30pm on Tues 25th Feb 2020 was 25/1

Cobbler’s Way’s trainer Henry de Bromhead

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article