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Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2023 Trends

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 8 mins

Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2023 Trends

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2023 Ballymore 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
  • Finished in the top two last time out 
  • Had run at least twice over hurdles
  • Last ran at least 31 days ago
  • Did not run in a handicap last time out (eight ran in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 hurdle, one in a Grade 1)
  • Had won a bumper
  • Had won if they had run at Cheltenham before

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Won last time out (or were beaten by no more than a neck)
  • Had won over at least 2m4f
  • Had won at least two hurdle races
  • Had not been beaten more than once over hurdles
  • Were aged six or seven, with only Sir Gerhard being the older age (2013 winner The New One was aged five).

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.
  • The winner of the Grade 1 Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas in January has won two of the last three Ballymore Novices' Hurdles - Envoi Allen and Bob Olinger. The winner placed in 2018, 2013 and 2012.
  • The Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle at Haydock has proven a key trial in Britain with winners of this race placing in the Ballymore in 2016 and 2017 and a Rossington second placing in 2019.
  • The Grade 2 Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick is also worth watching as Willoughby Court and The New One won this en route to Ballymore victory. Horses who didn't win this race don't tend to feature in the Ballymore, 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 Ballymore and place in three. However, winners now tend to step up in trip for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle in stead.
  • Four Grade 1 Challow Novices' Hurdle winners have been placed in the last 10 renewals (Bravemansgame, Champ, Messire Des Obeaux, Parlour Games).

Trainer Trends

  • Willie Mullins is the winning-most trainer with five wins in total, three of which have come in the last decade. He’s also saddled nine placed horses in that time.
  • Gordon Elliott has won two of the last five renewals, saddled the one-two in 2020 and a second in 2022.
  • Nicky Henderson has a poor record with one winner and one placed horse from 11 runners in the past 10 years.
  • Paul Nicholls has had three runners in the last 12 years and two placed.
  • Eight 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?

Sir Gerhard was earmarked for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle after winning the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novices' Hurdle at Leopardstown in February, but became a leading trends pick for this event when making the switch, given the fantastic record the few winners of that trial who line up have in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

He also ticked almost every trends boxes, and lined up unbeaten in two runs over hurdles on left-handed, galloping tracks. He was also the 2021 Champion Bumper winner, so his Festival credentials stacked up.

The two negatives were that he was aged older than any other winner in the previous 10 years at age seven, and he had not won over at least 2m4f, which the previous 10 winners had. 

In a weak renewal, there were only two other runners that ticked enough boxes to become a trends pick, with Challow Novice' Hurdle winner Stage Star leading this duo.

The six-year-old, trained by Paul Nicholls, was unbeaten in three hurdle outings on left-handed, galloping tracks, and was also a bumper winner, who had won over 2m4.5f and was lining up after a 77-day break. 

The occasion got to him, he raced too freely and was pulled up three hurdles from home. The same thing happened at the Aintree Grand National meeting.

Unbeaten Journey With Me was the other trends pick, boasting a bumper and two hurdle wins, the hurdle wins coming on galloping, left-handed courses over 2m3f and 2m4f. He was in second and fading when falling at the last.

Check out latest Cheltenham ante-post odds.

Who Fits The Trends Best In 2023?

Applying the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle trends to this year's entries, whittles the field down to just two key trends picks: Champ Kiely and Tahmuras, with Hermes Allen and Shanbally Kid ticking all but a couple of key trends boxes.

Looking at the latter two first, Hermes Allen is unbeaten in three hurdle outings, including a Grade 2 at Cheltenham at the Grade 1 Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury, which is a key trial for the Ballymore.

He's aged six and trained by Paul Nicholls, which are all positives, but the negative is that he has not run in or won a bumper. The last 16 winners all achieved this, meaning they raced for a season in bumpers gaining experience before going over hurdles.

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.

Hermes Allen is three from three over hurdles and one from two in point-to-points. Strong trends suggest that might not be enough experience to win this race.

The same goes for Shanbally Kid, who is a bumper winner, but has only run twice in bumpers and twice over hurdles, and is untried outside maiden company. He does tick all the other boxes though and might be interesting.

The two leading trends picks have bags of experience in bumpers and hurdle races and won Grade 1 novices' hurdles last time out. 

It's a slight negative that Champ Kiely is aged seven and that Tahmuras has not won over further than 2m, but he's also not been tried at the trip, much like 2022 winner Sir Gerhard.

An awful lot to like about both, with Champ Kiely preferred marginally due to trainer Willie Mullins's outstanding record in this event.

2022 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Bob Olinger 6/4f Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore
2nd Gaillard Du Mesnil 9/4 Willie Mullins Paul Townend
3rd Bravemansgame 4/1 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden

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.