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Open to horses aged four years or older, the Grade 1 contest is held over a distance of 2m5f on the Old Course at Prestbury Park and will see some of the best young hurdlers go head-to-head for a share of £125,000.
Envoi Allen reigned supreme last season, beating former stablemate Easywork and the Willie Mullins-trained The Big Getaway. The field is set to be just as competitive this time around with the likes of Gaillard Du Mesnil, Bob Olinger and Bravemansgame vying for victory over the 10 flights.
A huge number of entries were lodged for the Ballymore, although just seven will line up after final declarations.
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle runners and odds
Ruby Wash: “I’m a big fan of BOB OLINGER. He was good at Naas and I loved him at Navan. He was second to Ferny Hollow at Gowran Park and there is so much to like about him.
“If you were offering me a ride I would take Bob Olinger.”
Frank Hickey: “I would probably side with BOB OLINGER because of what he has done, but it’s not my kind of bet just yet. I can see him being shorter on the day though.
“One that would interest me from a non-runner money back perspective is BEAR GHYLLS for Nicky Martin, who was unbelievably impressive in winning a Warwick bumper by 19 lengths.”
James Shortt: “BOB OLINGER, also a Grade 1 winner at Naas in early January is another leading contender trained by Henry de Bromhead and owned by the Robcour team. Mullins is the leading trainer with a total of four victories, with Fivefourthree, Mikael d’Haguenet, Faugheen and Yorkhill his previous winners.”
FULL PREVIEW: CHELTENHAM STATS FOR WEDNESDAY’S GRADE 1 RACES
Mick Fitzgerald: “BOB OLINGER won The Lawlors of Naas Novice Hurdle easily from Blue Lord in January and Blue Lord looked to be heading for second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Tuesday before tipping up at the last. Rachael Blackmore loves him, and she is a pretty good judge.”
FULL PREVIEW: MICK FITZGERALD’S BEST BETS FOR DAY 2 OF THE FESTIVAL
Matt Chapman: “BRAVEMANSGAME has done nothing wrong for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden and it’s hard for anyone to say he wasn’t really impressive at Newbury when last seen.”
FULL PREVIEW: MATT CHAPMAN’S BEST BETS FOR DAY TWO OF THE FESTIVAL
Gina Bryce: “Gaillard Du Mesnil and the well touted Bob Olinger will head another strong challenge but I’m siding with BRAVEMANSGAME to win one back for the home team.”
FULL PREVIEW: GINA BRYCE’S BEST BETS FOR DAY 2 OF THE 2021 FESTIVAL
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Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Trainers’ verdicts
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Bravemansgame: “He’s done nothing wrong this season, he’s beaten what he’s had to beat. He won a Grade 1 race last time and we’re very happy with him.
“I haven’t had a runner in this for a while, but you’ve got to have the right horse and run them when they have a chance – and he’s one who’s got a great chance.”
Willie Mullins, trainer of Gaillard Du Mesnil: “He travelled over well and the recent rain is a huge help. His form is rock-solid and we’re confident of a big run.”
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Bob Olinger: “He’s done nothing wrong all season and you’d have to be delighted with the way he has progressed over the last few months. It’s a very good race, but he goes there in really good form.”
Nicky Martin, trainer of Bear Ghylls: “We’ve had to go over a lot of hurdles to get there but we’re ready to go and he’s very well, and very fresh because he hasn’t run for a while.
“I don’t know if he’s good enough, we’ll find out, and he’ll definitely be better next year when he sees a fence, but he’s in good order and it’s very exciting.”
Kim Bailey, trainer of Does He Know: “The owners are keen to run in this race and I think you have to forget his last two runs. He didn’t get home in the ground last time and, if he behaves himself, he could easily run into a place if he’s lucky.”
Joseph O’Brien, trainer of Keskonrisk: “I thought he ran well at Leopardstown over Christmas when third to Appreciate It. The ground was a bit soft for him at the Dublin Racing Festival so that’s why we gave it a miss. It looks a hot race, but he’s a nice horse.”
Ben Pauling, trainer of Optimise Prime: “He won two novice hurdles as he liked at Hereford and they worked out nicely. He ran in the Sidney Banks but had to make his own running and was probably a bit short of a gear on a sharp track. It’s a big ask, but he’s a proper hurdling type who should be able to jump and travel at the speed they will go. He’s a big price but he’ll do himself justice.”
When is the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle?
TODAY AT CHELTENHAM…
- Click here for all of Wednesday’s Racecards
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- LIVE BLOG: All the action as it happens on Day 2
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winners at last five festivals
2020 – Envoi Allen (Horse), Davy Russell (Jockey), Gordon Elliott (Trainer)
2019 – City Island, Mark Walsh, Martin Brassil
2018 – Samcro, Jack Kennedy, Gordon Elliott
2017 – Willoughby Court, David Bass, Ben Pauling
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES
March 17 – 13.20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 17 – 13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 17 – 15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase latest odds and tips
March 17 – 16.50 – Champion Bumper latest odds and tips
March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips
March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY TWO SCHEDULE
13:20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f
13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y
14.30 – Coral Cup (Grade 3) 2m 5f
15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y
15.40 – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y
16.15 – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y
16.50 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y
*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.
Cheltenham Day 3 Tips
- Mick Fitzgerald’s best bets for Thursday at Prestbury Park
- Matt Chapman’s selections for all of Day 3’s seven races
- Gina Bryce’s slick picks on St Patrick’s Thursday at Cheltenham
- Paddy Power Pundits’ Cheat Sheet for all of Thursday’s races
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