Ballymore Novice Hurdle Trends

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, previously known as the Neptune, is the opener on Day Two of the Festival and has been won in recent years by the likes of Simonsig, Faugheen, Yorkhill and most recently Willoughby Court for Ben Pauling and David Bass. As always there are some trends and statistics which we can look at to make it easier to pick out the winner of this often very competitive race and you can see our Ballymore Novice Hurdle tips here.

Ballymore Novice Hurdle Trends

  • Harder for older horses – Since the first running in 1971 only two horses older than six have won
  • Mullins and Walsh are deadly – The combination of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh has been successful four times since 2008
  • Irish raiders should be feared – 6 of the last 10 winners were trained in Ireland
  • Experience helps – 26 of the last 27 winners had had three or more runs over hurdles before
  • Recent form is vital – 31 of the last 32 winners had finished in the top two on their previous start

Trends – Key Runners

Samcro ✅❌✅✅✅

Next Destination ✅✅✅✅✅

On The Blind Side ✅❌❌✅✅

Vinndication ✅❌❌✅✅

Vision Des Flos ✅❌❌✅✅

Duc Des Genievres ✅✅✅✅✅

Most of the pre-race hype will rightly be centered around Samcro but it is Next Destination who comes out best on our trends. He is a Willie Mullins trained six year old who will likely be ridden by Ruby Walsh and he has been successful on all three of his hurdle starts this season.

Trends Analysis

It is hard to get away from Samcro when looking at the market for this as he is a very warm order and understandably so. He was an ultra impressive winner of three bumpers having been purchased for a large sum following his defeat of subsequent graded winner Elegant Escape in a point-to-point and has done nothing wrong over hurdles so far. He has won his three races over obstacles by a combined distance of thirty-two and a half lengths and has yet to come off the bridle despite winning two graded races. He was a skinny price to say the least when dropping down to two miles in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle but took it in his stride and put a good field of out and out two milers to bed with the minimum of fuss. He looks the real deal and will take an awful lot of stopping back up to a trip he should appreciate more.

Willie Mullins has done remarkably well in this race in recent years and looks to have another good chance this year with Next Destination. He was a high class bumper horse who finished fourth in the Champion Bumper under Ruby Walsh last year and he has not looked back over hurdles. He was extremely impressive when bolting up on his hurdles debut ahead of a strong field of maidens and has won two graded races since then including the Grade 1 Naas Novice Hurdle which he won easily. He has looked a very talented horse so far and jumps slickly, he will likely stay further than this trip in time so the hill should hold no fears and he is a genuine rival for Samcro to ponder.

The English challenge this year looks to be led by the Nicky Henderson trained On The Blind Side. He was an expensive purchase following his point win at Kilfeacle and has been pretty flawless over hurdles so far. He won nicely on hurdles debut and stayed on powerfully to take a Grade 2 at Cheltenham on his second start. He wasn’t overly impressive on his second start but showed off his stamina and was much more polished when taking another Grade 2 at Sandown last time out by nine lengths. He is clearly improving at a rate of knots and has course form to his name so there is plenty in his favour as he looks to put it up to the Irish battalions.

It’s often a bit difficult to know what will end up running in this as opposed to stepping down to the Supreme or stepping up to the Albert Bartlett but one that looks likely to rock up here is the Kim Bailey trained Vinndication, who is unbeaten after four starts. He was impressive when beating the useful Western Ryder last time out, never really looking in danger of getting caught by the second who was once a leading chance for the Supreme. He has yet to race in graded company but it was a strong race that he won last time out and a step up in class looks nothing to fear for this potentially very exciting horse.

There are plenty of others who would be interesting if turning up but also hold other entries. At the front of that list is the Willie Mullins trained Duc Des Genievres who stayed on strongly to finish a clear second behind Samcro last time and shaped like a step up in trip would suit him nicely, Vision Des Flos won a decent event on the bridle by a street last time so has to be considered if going and Kalashnikov looks an unlikely runner to say the least but would have to run well if connections changed their mind.

For more content like this, as well as previews and tips check out our Cheltenham Festival tips section.

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