Gallagher Novices Hurdle Tips 2024 – Will Ballyburn Run Away With It?

Gallagher Novices Hurdle Tips

Formerly known as the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle event, invites horses aged four years or older to compete.

Taking place on the Old Course at Cheltenham, the race covers approximately 2 miles and 5 furlongs, featuring ten hurdles to clear.

Irish contenders have dominated, securing victory in seven of the last eight editions.

Notably, Willie Mullins stands as the most successful trainer, claiming victory four times in the past ten years, indicating a clear focus on this race with his staying novices.

However, Gordon Elliott boasts a strong recent record, winning two of the last six renewals.

Among the home trainers, Nigel Twiston-Davies holds the record with two wins, achieved with horses such as Fundamentalist and The New One.

Typically, the race is completed in around five minutes. Success tends to favour horses with prior Graded level placements and a victory within the preceding three months.

Only one five-year-old, Impaire Et Passe last season, has triumphed in the past decade, with The New One achieving a similar feat in 2013.

Winners are often well-supported in the betting market, with Willoughby Court being the sole double-figure priced victor in the last ten years.

Previous Winners of the Gallagher Novices Hurdle

Runners To Watch

Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Gallagher Novices Hurdle 2024.

Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

BALLYBURN – WILLIE MULLINS

Outpaced by Firefox in a misleadingly organised two-mile maiden on his hurdling debut in December, this horse rebounded strongly when given the opportunity to compete over two-and-a-half miles in his subsequent outing where he won convincingly by a significant margin.

His exceptional performance in a Grade 1 event at Leopardstown last month further affirmed his status as a top-tier and highly promising novice.

With his connections deciding to extend him back over a longer distance for his Festival appearance, he is widely considered by many as the standout selection of the entire meeting.

ILE ATLANTIQUE – WILLIE MULLINS

Highly effective in bumpers during the previous season, this horse effortlessly secured victory by a remarkable nineteen lengths when returning to hurdles at Gowran Park in November.

Despite being overtaken in the final stretch and failing to live up to expectations as the favourite in a two-and-a-half mile Grade 1 race at Naas in January, there is still promise in that performance, indicating potential opportunities here, and he still has room for advancement.

PREDATORS GOLD – WILLIE MULLINS

Predators Gold made a remarkable debut by winning a significant Punchestown bumper last April.

He continued to showcase his talent in a near two-and-a-half mile maiden hurdle upon his return to the season in November.

Although he finished second in two subsequent Grade 1 races at Leopardstown, there is still potential for him to deliver an even more substantial performance.

He is a strong contender to secure a top position in the upcoming races.

HANDSTANDS – BEN PAULING

After triumphing in his Irish point debut in October, he joined Ben Pauling’s stable and has since maintained an unblemished record over hurdles.

Displaying remarkable ease, he outpaced a former Grade 1 winner in a listed race at Huntingdon last month without needing to reach his maximum potential.

While facing a tougher challenge here, it’s difficult to ascertain the extent of his capabilities.

JINGKO BLUE – NICKY HENDERSON

Despite being the odds-on favourite, he fell short in his hurdles debut in November, finishing behind a stronger competitor.

The following month at Newbury, he managed to secure victory by a mere nose in a novice race spanning two-and-a-half miles.

However, in a significant display of improvement, he convincingly outpaced a highly progressive subsequent winner in a Sandown handicap last month.

Following that remarkable performance, he unquestionably deserves his spot in this line-up.

MERCUREY – WILLIE MULLINS

Mercurey achieved a place in a listed bumper last season and showcased his potential over hurdles on his third attempt, leading from the front and securing victory in a Punchestown maiden on heavy ground by a staggering twenty-two lengths last month.

There is a possibility for further improvement if today’s longer distance is favourable, but there are other contenders with stronger form.

JIMMY DU SEUIL – WILLIE MULLINS

Having secured a place in a French bumper back in 2022, this horse made a highly encouraging debut after a lengthy hiatus, finishing a close second to a very skilled stablemate at Thurles in December.

He effortlessly clinched victory in a Clonmel maiden in January, indicating that he might possess substantial untapped potential over today’s extended distance.

THE GREY MAN – HARRIET DICKIN

Finishing as the runner-up in a Hereford bumper held on good ground in November, this horse displayed resilience by maintaining his position in a standard Ludlow novice race on last month’s hurdling debut.

The increased distance in today’s race might be advantageous for him, but it appears that he’s facing a considerable challenge beyond his current capabilities.

Ticks The Right Boxes?

2024 Gallagher Novices Hurdle Tips & Key Trends

BALLYBURN dropped back in trip to win a top Novices’ Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

He has been sent here to contest this rather than the Supreme with his stamina one of the main reasons for doing so.

Although he hasn’t won over this extra furlong, the style of his win over two-and-a-half miles at Leopardstown in December suggested it would not be an inconvenience.

Paul Townend and Willie Mullins are attempting to win this race for the third time in a row and no surprise to see them manage it with this up and coming young stayer.

Jingko Blue has done nothing wrong and won his most recent race by six-lengths following a short break.

Key Trends

  • 12 of the past 15 winners were top- or second-top-rated (on official BHA Ratings)
  • 6 of the past 16 winners were trained by Willie Mullins
  • 23 of the past 29 winners won last time out
  • 17 of the past 24 winners were aged 6

Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication

    • Ballyburn 2/5
    • Ile Atlantique 11/2
    • Predators Gold 10/1
    • Handstands 14/1
    • Jingko Blue 16/1
    • Mercurey 20/1
    • Jimmy Du Seuil 28/1
    • The Grey Man 200/1



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