Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle takes place at 1.30pm on Day 2 (Wednesday) of the Cheltenham Festival.

The race, which will be broadcast on ITV Racing and Racing TV (RTV), has been won by the likes of Simonsig, Faugheen and Istabraq. The latter two went on to victory in the Champion Hurdle the following season.

Length of race – The race is run over 2m5f.
Where to watch – ITV and RTV.
When to watch – Wednesday, March 13 at 1.30pm.
Prize-money – Last year’s race was worth £125,000.
Course –  The race is run on the Old course at Cheltenham.
Race type – The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 for novices only, meaning horses who have won over hurdles in previous seasons are unable to compete.
Weights – Most horses will run off level weights at 11st 7lb, with mares getting a 7lb allowance. Four-year-olds get an allowance of 8lb.
Ages – Horses aged four or older can run in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Sponsor – Ballymore have sponsored the contest since 2018.


Past ten winners:


Year Horse Recent form Age Price Trainer Jockey
2018 Samcro 11-111 6 8-11F Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy
2017 Willoughby Court 15-211 6 14-1 Ben Pauling David Bass
2016 Yorkhill 11-11 6 3-1 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2015 Windsor Park 1-1142 6 9-2 Dermot Weld Davy Russell
2014 Faugheen 1-111 6 6-4F Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2013 The New One 1-1112 5 7-2 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies
2012 Simonsig 1-121 6 2-1F Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2011 First Lieutenant 1-4131 6 7-1 Mouse Morris Davy Russell
2010 Peddlers Cross 111 5 7-1 Donald McCain Jason Maguire
2009 Mikael D’Haguenet 21111 5 5-2F Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh


Race stats

  • Aged five or six, 10/10
  • Rated within 8lb of RPR top-rated, 10/10
  • Adjusted RPR of at least 152, 10/10
  • Started career in Irish points or bumpers, 9/10
  • Won at least 50 per cent of hurdle runs, 9/10
  • Scored over at least 2m4f, 9/10
  • Won a Graded hurdle, 9/10
  • Finished first or second on all completed starts over hurdles, 8/10
  • At least three runs over hurdles, 8/10

Other factors

  • Four of the last ten favourites have obliged (Mikael D’Haguenet 2009, Simonsig 2012, Faugheen 2014, Samcro 2018) and in that period only Willoughby Court’s SP (14-1 in 2017) was bigger than 7-1
  • Ruby Walsh is the leading jockey in the history of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle with four wins. Those victories came on Fiveforthree (2008), Mikael D’Haguenet (2009), Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016).
  • Willie Mullins is the leading trainer in the race with four wins. Those victories came with Fiveforthree (2008), Mikael D’Haguenet (2009), Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016).

Key trials

In Britain, the Grade 2 Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle has been an excellent festival pointer with three of the last 14 winners going on to complete the double (Willoughby Court, The New One and No Refuge).
The Grade 1 Challow Hurdle is not necessarily the most indicative trial for the Ballymore, having produced Albert Bartlett winner Wichita Lineman. The Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on trials day has produced Ballymore winners including The New One.
In Ireland, the Grade 2 Navan Novices’ Hurdle and Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle have often been used by Irish challengers en route to Cheltenham.

What happened last year?

Samcro, unbeaten in all his starts in bumpers and over hurdles, produced the leading novice performance of the season when beating Black Op by two-and-three-quarter lengths. Members’ Club subscribers can view the 2018 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle result and replay here.

Where can I get Cheltenham Festival tickets?

Cheltenham Festival tickets can be purchased from the official festival website here.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tip

Champ has not looked back since finishing a tight second to the smart Vinndication last season and has done nothing wrong this term with two eye catching victories at Newbury, including the Challow Hurdle. Keen on both occasions, the strong pace and larger field look set to suit the good-looking seven-year-old and he can be chased home by the equally exciting Brewin’Upastorm.
(Kitty Trice)

1. Champ, 2. Brewin’Upastorm, 3. Battleoverdoyen

View the racecard and place your bets here.