The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older.
It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 2 miles and 5 furlongs and there are ten flights of hurdles to be jumped.
The Irish have won seven of the last eight renewals of the race. Willie Mullins is the winning most trainer of the race and has taken the prize four times in the last thirteen years so it is a race that he clearly targets with his staying novices.
Gordon Elliott has a better recent record in it though striking in two of the last four renewals. Nigel Twiston-Davies is the winning most trainer of the home contingent having won the race twice with the likes of Fundamentalist and The New One.
The race usually takes in and around five minutes to complete. It usually pays to side with horses who have at least been placed at Graded level and have won a race within the previous three months.
The only five-year-old to have won this race in the last decade was The New One back in 2013. The winner is also usually well found in the market with Willoughby Court being the only double-figure priced winner in the last decade.
Previous Winners of the Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle 2022.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
SIR GERHARD – WILLIE MULLINS
Sir Gerhard comes here unbeaten this year and put clear daylight between himself and Three Stripe Life in a Grade 1 race at Punchestown last month despite a slight error at the last flight.
Racing in the colours of the infamous Cheveley Park Stud, connections clearly feel he has the proven stamina to see out this extra five furlongs.
It should be known that he won a three-mile point-to-point at Boulta by no fewer than a dozen lengths. Every chance of extending the excellent Irish record in this race.
JOURNEY WITH ME – HENRY DE BROMHEAD
Journey With Me is unbeaten and represents the same owners as last year’s winner in Bob Olinger.
He has only been seen in novice and maiden company so far but he has won as he liked in both starts.
He could well be anything but as he is untested at the top level compared to some of these, there have to be reservations.
Bob Olinger had won at Graded level prior to coming into this and this lad hasn’t. He definitely has untapped potential but others may have more.
STAGE STAR – PAUL NICHOLLS
Hard to tell what he has done so far for Paul Nicholls as he comes into this race unbeaten over hurdles. All of his three wins though have come at flat tracks such as Chepstow and Newbury.
He represents a trainer that has had plenty fancied in this in the past and all have proved bitterly disappointing.
He brings Challow Hurdle winning form into the race, but to date that has never been good enough in the past.
The form has been let down since so he isn’t one to back with confidence.
THREE STRIPE LIFE – GORDON ELLIOTT
Three Stripe Life was no match for Sir Gerhard over two miles when last seen out at Leopardstown last month.
This extra five furlongs is a complete unknown for the Gordon Elliott trained six-year-old.
He looks to be the stable second string here given that Ginto is also in the line-up and is also proven at the trip.
WHATDEAWANT – WILLIE MULLINS
Whatdeawant stepped into Grade 1 company following a maiden win at Navan and was left trailing in the wake of an impressive Ginto.
He looks to be very much the stable second string here and will need a lot of things to go his way to be successful.
Every horse to win this in the last ten years has finished in the first two places last time out, so history is against him too.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2022 Ballymore Novices Hurdle Tips & Key Trends
It is hard to get away from SIR GERHARD who represents top connections.
He hails from a yard that knows exactly what it takes to win this (Faugheen and Yorkhill) and he is most likely to be ridden by Paul Townend.
Sir Gerhard has it all to prove over this longer trip and this will prove the ultimate test of stamina for him, but he is a class act.
His stablemate Classic Getaway is still open to any amount of improvement and could outrun his double figure odds.
- 11 of the last 13 winners were top or second top rated on official ratings
- 10 of the last 13 winners had won a Graded race
- 21 of the last 27 winners won last time out
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 4/6 Sir Gerhard
- 6/1 Three Stripe Life
- 13/2 Journey With Me
- 13/2 Stage Star
- 16/1 I Am Maximus
- 20/1 Whatdeawant
- 66/1 Scarface
- 100/1 Haxo
- 150 Hemlock