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Gallagher Novices' Hurdle Trends For The 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 12 mins

Gallagher Novices' Hurdle Trends For The 2024 Cheltenham Festival

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Need some help finding the winner of the 2024 edition of the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle? Well, look no further because our team of experts at Bookies.com have done the hard work for you by pinpointing the most critical trends and pointers from the last 10 renewals in order to help you find the winner of this hot novice contest.

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2024 Gallagher Novices' Hurdle Trends

The last 10 winners:

  • Had won 1-3 hurdle races
  • Had won on a left-handed course
  • Had at least two wins on a galloping track
  • Had run at least twice over hurdles
  • Had won if they had run at Cheltenham before
  • Last ran at least 31 days ago
  • Finished in the top two last time out (only one lost, Windsor Park)
  • Did not run in a handicap last time out, most ran in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 hurdle
  • Had won a bumper*

*The last winner who had not won a bumper was No Refuge in 2005, but he had 14 runs on the Flat instead. Additionally the 2004 winner Funamentalist had no bumper win, but was three wins from seven runs in point-to-points.

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Had won over at least 2m4f (exception Sir Gerhard had only run over 2m)
  • Had won at least two hurdle races (exception Windsor Park)
  • Had not been beaten more than once over hurdles (exception Windsor Park)
  • Were aged six or seven, with only Sir Gerhard being the older age (2023 winner Impaire Et Passe was aged five).

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Key Trials from the last 10 years

  • The winner of Leopardstown's Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle in February tends to run in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, but the two most recent winners that have lined up have won (Samcro and Sir Gerhard). Leopardstown seconds won in 2015 and finished second in 2020 and 2022. Notably, the winner of this race has gone on to win a Cheltenham Festival novices' hurdle next time out six times in the last 10 years. Ballyburn won this year.
  • The winner of the Grade 1 Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas in January has won two of the last four Gallagher Novices' Hurdles - Envoi Allen and Bob Olinger. The winner placed in 2023, 2018, 2013 and 2012. Readin Tommy Wrong won this year.
  • The Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle at Haydock has proven a key trial in Britain with winners of this race placing in the Baring Bingham in 2016 and 2017 and a Rossington second placing in 2019. It wasn’t run in 2023 and Jeriko Du Reponet won this year. However, it is a stronger Supreme trial.
  • The Grade 2 Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick is also worth watching as Willoughby Court and The New One won this en route to Baring Bingham victory. Horses who didn't win this race don't tend to feature in the Baring Bingham, so only add the winner to your notebook.
  • The Grade 2 Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham's Festival Trials day in January used to be a good guide with the horses that placed and won that event going on to win one Baring Bingham and place in three. However, winners now tend to step up in trip for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle instead.
  • Four Grade 1 Challow Novices' Hurdle winners have been placed in the last 10 renewals (Bravemansgame, Champ, Messire Des Obeaux, Parlour Games). Last season’s winner was sixth and this season’s winner is Captain Teague.

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Trainer Trends

  • Willie Mullins is the winning-most trainer with six wins in total, four of which have come in the last decade. Last year he saddled the first three home.
  • Gordon Elliott has won two of the last six renewals, saddling the one-two in 2020 and a second in 2022.
  • Nicky Henderson has a poor record with one winner and one placed horse from 12 runners in the past 11 years.
  • Paul Nicholls has had four runners in the last 13 years and two placed.
  • Nine of the last 10 winners were trained in Ireland

Jockey Trends

  • Given the strong recent records of Irish powerhouses Mullins and Elliott, it goes without saying that close attention needs to be paid to their respective riders, especially when they have a choice of mounts in the race.

How did the trends do last year?

Winner Impaire Et Passe ticked all the trends boxes, although he had not won a Grade 1 or a well-known trial, but it was off-putting that he was five, given 2013 was the last time a horse that age one.

However, it should have been telling that he was Paul Townend’s pick of Willie Mullins’s runners.

The seven-year-old Champ Kiely was a stronger trends pick, before Townend made his choice, as he had also won a Grade 1 at Naas, but could finish only third.

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Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

Applying the Gallagher Novices' Hurdle trends to this year's entries, whittles the field down to just four key trends picks: Ballyburn and Readin Tommy Wrong, and Spread Boss Ted for Willie Mullins and Slade Steel for Henry De Bromhead.

Ballyburn is the outstanding trends pick, ticking all the boxes and winning the best trial, the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle. Crucially, even though that race is 2m, he had previously won over 2m4f by a huge 25 lengths.

Slade Steel was seven lengths second to Ballyburn in the Grade 1, but had won a Grade 2 at Navan over 2m4f previously and ticks all the boxes, even if he hasn’t won a key trial.

Ballyburn’s stablemate Readin Tommy Wrong won arguably the second best trial for this race, the Grade 1 Slaney Novices’ Hurdle at Naas over 2m4f, marking him a big trends pick, while the final Mullins pick Spread Boss Ted is less highly-tried, having not run in any Graded events, but still a good match for the trends and worth considering, depending on jockey bookings.

2023 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Impaire Et Passe 5/2 Willie Mullins Paul Townend
2nd Gaelic Warrior 9/2 Willie Mullins Patrick Mullins
3rd Champ Kiely Willie Mullins Danny Mullins

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.