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Cheltenham

Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle Tips

Wednesday 13th March 13:30

The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle is the opening race on day 2 of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival. Below, you'll find our Ballymore Novices' Hurdle betting tips from our expert horse racing analyst Will Smith who has been featured on William Hill Racing and Racing TV. All of our Cheltenham betting tips are 100% free and available for every race taking place at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

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Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle Preview

by Will Smith…

The make-up and betting markets of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Gallagher (Baring Bingham/Ballymore) Novices’ Hurdle have been like the plot of an Agatha Christie novel, or perhaps a Harlan Coben adaptation for the millennials out there. More twists and turns than is imaginable!

With 7 horses still entered in both races, and 6 of them trained by Willie Mullins, we are officially no closer to knowing the final fields and subsequently the likely market leaders of both races.

However, if market vibes and grapevine tittle-tattle are to be believed, then the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle seems to be the intended destination of Ballyburn, and he is into odds-on for this race following the confirmation stage.

The final twist could come with Sunday’s weather, as varying forecasts suggests an amount of rain is to fall on the south-west of England, and surely if it was a fair-sized chunk then Ballyburn could still run in a heavy ground Supreme. But all the signs suggest that is unlikely.

What is does do is increase the chance of long-time Supreme Novices’ Hurdle ante-post fancy Slade Steel running in the race, as connections seem hell-bent on avoiding their Dublin Racing Festival conqueror Ballyburn. 8/1 each-way is available widely and with the ‘non-runner, no bet’ concession in play across the board too, there is plenty of value in Slade Steel for the Supreme still.

There could be a 5-way fight for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favouritism, and it would be a cracking way to kickstart the meeting. While I’m not entirely convinced that Ballyburn would need a slog over 2m5f to be seen to best effect, so following declarations for the Wednesday opener on Monday morning, there may be some each-way value to be had in the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle.

But quite where it lies, or whether it is a live angle, are two things I will attempt to unravel in the coming days…

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
DateTimeDistanceType
Wed 13/03/202413:302m 5fHurdle

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is the opening race on day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival. It is a Grade 1 race that covers a distance of 2 miles and 5 furlongs. The race is open to novice hurdlers aged four years or older and is run on the Cheltenham Old Course. The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle features 10 hurdles to be jumped and has produced some great winners such as Faugheen, Samcro, and Envoi Allen.

The Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle Odds

Selection Odds
Ballyburn 8/13
Ile Atlantique 5/1
Predators Gold 11/1
Gidleigh Park 16/1
Handstands 16/1
Readin Tommy Wrong 25/1
Billericay Dickie 25/1
Jingko Blue 33/1
Mercurey 40/1
Captain Teague 50/1
Croke Park 66/1
Lucky Place 66/1
Peaky Boy 66/1
Chapeau De Soleil 100/1
Jimmy Du Seuil 100/1
Spread Boss Ted 100/1
What's Up Darling 200/1
Josh The Boss 300/1
The Grey Man 300/1

Previous Tips

2023 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tips [expired]

Steve Mullington’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tips

The Willie Mullins-trained Champ Kiely made all to win the Grade 1 Lawlor’s at Naas in January over 2m 4f, a good run even if there were a few flights omitted in the home straight. He is much respected here and can take top honours under Danny Mullins.

The seven-year-old will need to be as sharp as a tack today given the quality of the opposition but I think he will be the horse most suited to the ground conditions and will boss this race from the front.

Forecast backers may want to perm Hermes Allen and Impaire Et Passe with Champ Kiely for a potential nice return.

Champ Kiely (NAP) @ 8/1 with Bet365

2020 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tips [expired]

Envoi Allen will be seen by many as the Irish (perhaps whole Festival) banker of the week in the opening race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

I am a fully paid up member of the abilities and quality that the horse possesses, and it may seem fanciful to suggest that he will find one too good in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. But there are factors in play within ante-post betting, that would suggest backing Sporting John at 6/1 each-way with Bet365 NRNB, to be a decent play at this stage.

Factor number one is the weather, as despite a dry(ish) forecast for the next week or so, it would surely only take one or two downpours on the eve of the Festival to turn the ground heavy – in which case Envoi Allen could re-route to the Supreme on day one.

Factor two is the fact that Philip Hobbs has the likely favourite for the Albert Bartlett in the shape of Thyme Hill, suggesting that he would be keen to keep him in that race and not divert him to the intermediate trip – leaving the path clear for the JP McManus’-owned and Hobbs-trained Sporting John to run here.

Factor three is the aforementioned owner, who has another horse to aim at the Supreme, that being the Nicky Henderson-trained Chantry House.

Factor four, the final and perhaps most pertinent point, is the unquestionable ability that Sporting John clearly has – maybe I should have started with this argument, as it surely forms the basis to any horse race!

Even if Envoi Allen gets there fit and well on the day, Sporting John has shown more than enough in his three forays to the racecourse this season, to suggest that he can give Gordon Elliott’s superstar a tough race.

Two simple tasks in lesser class races left the visual impression that he would be a factor when upped in grade. He duly did so when sluicing up in a class 2 novice hurdle at Ascot two weeks ago, in the fastest time on the card. The strong impression is that we haven’t seen anywhere near the ceiling of his latent talent yet – here’s hoping we do next Wednesday.

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