Cheltenham tips: The 12/1 novice hurdler that’s caught Frank Hickey’s eagle eye

Frank's excited about a hopeful in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Frank Hickey

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The Cheltenham Festival is less than three weeks away and the runners and riders are eagerly awaiting their chance to strut their stuff on the biggest stage.

As part of our build up to the four-day fiesta, Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey have been previewing all the action on our special ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast series. A listener got in touch ahead of the latest episode to ask Frank to name the novice hurdler he is most excited about.

Paddy’s trader was effusive in his praise for a potential runner in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on the second day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Don’t forget, we’re offering non-runner money back on all 28 races so there’s no risk of losing out if your pick pulls out.

BEAR GHYLLS‘ form is getting franked left, right and centre. If you go back to his Bumper win at Warwick last March, the second place Guard Your Dreams caught the eye in the Betfair Hurdle at the weekend, finishing sixth off a mark of 135. He’s beaten that by 19l.

He won by just under 5l on his hurdles debut at Lingfield – but nearly took the last hurdle home with him and still destroyed them. Make Me A Believer came second and has since been touched off in a graded race, Red Rookie won at Sandown last week, Longshanks was sixth that day but he recently won at a price at Wincanton, while Kap Auteuil has won a handicap at Fakenham. Everything behind him is winning.

People were a bit disappointed when he won at Ffos Las under a penalty on his second start over hurdles but the horse he beat, Gowel Road, has come out and won a handicap at Newbury very easily and then won under a penalty at the same course and is going to be rated much higher than 131 when the handicapper reassesses.



Bear Ghylls bolted up in his handicap debut off 130. Some people are saying he has no graded form but how could they let that handicap mark go? He was entered in the Grade 2 on the Trials Day at Cheltenham but that was abandoned so they’ve decided to go straight to the Festival.

He’s got a rating of 140 so connections might go for a handicap with him but I’m really excited to see him in action. He has an unbelievable engine so he could be a real threat if he brushes up his jumping.

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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