Adrian Wall’s Road To The Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle


The next leg of Adrian Wall’s Road To Cheltenham Series sees him focus on the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle where he thinks he has found the winner at a massive 25/1.

We have looked at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, The Arkle and The Champion Hurdle on the Tuesday of the Festival already but now it is time to turn our attention to one of the more exciting novice races of the week. It can be tricky and risky punting on the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at this stage of the season as many of the entrants are also entered up as potential Supreme Novice Hurdle candidates but if you get it right you can get some serious value out of it.

So, why are horses entered up in both races and what sort of horse do we need to look out for? Well, a lot can hinge on the ground come March. A horse may want two and a half miles but if the ground comes up very soft, some trainers may be eager to run in the Supreme as it is as testing a two miles you’ll get if the rain has fallen. On the other hand, if the ground is any way decent, the horses that stay that bit further and don’t have that burst of speed will tend to go for this race.


Envoi Allen is likely to be a warm order for this race and could go off very short indeed if things go to plan. I personally can’t see this horse running in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for all he does have plenty of toe. He is a point to point winner who is going to excel going up in trip and will eventually make a top class chaser in my opinion. I would be lying to you if I said I don’t fear him. He is the most likely winner at this stage but at odds of around 7/2 in November, he is horrific value.

The red-hot Joseph O’Brien has an interesting contender in the form of Dlauro who topped the Tattersall’s sale in 2017 for a staggering £410,000. It must be worth mentioning that Envoi Allen was in the same sale but Dlauro fetched £10,000 more. An eleven-length winner of a bumper at Punchestown back in May, we haven’t seen this lad since but by all accounts, he is the real deal and he is one to keep an eye on over the coming season.

I believe this race is going to go to the United Kingdom this year though and I am really sweet on the Paul Nicholls trained MCFABULOUS who is currently best priced 25/1. A winner of three of his four starts last season, he rounded off his campaign with a Grade Two success at Aintree.

He is yet to jump a hurdle in public but the vibes from the stable are very encouraging and the in-form Harry Cobden can’t wait to get his leg up on him and stated: “I’m looking forward to sitting back on McFabulous. He worked really well the other day – he looks a million dollars. He is a real good galloper that should do well this season over hurdles, because he has jumped them well at home.”

Paul Nicholls has also hinted that he will improve for a step up in trip so that would suggest to me that this is the race they are going to go for this season with him. Take Envoi Allen out of the race and it looks very winnable and as the old saying goes; “You should never be afraid of one horse”. This is one horse I am really looking forward to seeing this year and it’s about time Nicholls got back to where he belonged, banging in multiple Grade One winners!


€20 BLUE SARI for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle @ 16/1

€20 THOMAS DARBY for the Arkle @ 25/1

€20 PENTLAND HILLS for the Champion Hurdle @ 10/1

€20 MCFABULOUS for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle @ 25/1


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