Challow Novices’ Hurdle tips and runner-by-runner guide to Newbury 3.00 on Saturday

Hermes Allen to follow up his Cheltenham success?


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Paul Nicholls saddles the favourite Hermes Allen as the Ditcheat trainer bids to land a record-breaking fifth Challow Novices’ Hurdle at 15:00 on Saturday.

Hermes Allen was the runaway winner of last month’s Hyde Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and the five-year-old bids to follow in the hooves of stablemates Bravemansgame and Stage Star by landing the Grade 1, run over an extended 2m4f.


The Challow Novices’ Hurdle boasts an interesting honours list having thrown up future Cheltenham Festival winners such as Wichita Lineman, Denman and Champ as well as a subsequent Grand National hero in the form of Bindaree.

Challow Novices’ Hurdle odds can be found on the Paddy Power website, Paddy Power app or via our snazzy betting widgets, otherwise Timeform’s horse-by-horse guide to the runners and betting tips from the racing boffins are below.

Challow Novices’ Hurdle runners

Accidental Rebel

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Age: 8 Weight: 11st 7lbs

An improved model since joining current yard, completing a hat-trick with stylish success in a 20f Worcester handicap in July, and he took his form to a new level when landing Grade 2 Persian War at Chepstow with cheekpieces added. This demands even more.



Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Nico de Boinville Age: 4 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Justified strong support on hurdles debut at Kempton last month and displayed willing attitude when following up under a penalty at Cheltenham. Seems sure to stay this far and has to go on the shortlist.



Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Paddy Brennan Age: 5 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Looked a good prospect when winning a pair of Huntingdon bumpers last season. Wasn’t foot perfect but class got him through on hurdles debut at Ascot last month (19.3f) and he’s sure to step up on that.


Hermes Allen

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 5 Weight: 11st 7lbs

£350,000 4-y-o, Poliglote gelding. Successful on second of 2 starts in Irish points (Nov 2021) and confirmed himself an exciting prospect when outclassing the opposition from the front in maiden/Grade 2 during the autumn. Smart prospect and the one to beat.


Idalko Bihoue

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 4 Weight: 11st 7lbs

From the family of fairly useful hurdler/useful chaser (stayed 2¾m) Bagad Bihoue and finished alone on his sole start in Irish points. Easy winner in the mud at Worcester in October and can leave bare form behind.


Joyeux Machin

Trainer: Paul Nolan Jockey: S. F. O’Keeffe Age: 5 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Bumper winner who confirmed promise of his hurdles bow when landing 18-runner maiden at Fairyhouse (2m) a month ago. Strong at the finish on that occasion so this trip should be within range.


Kansas City Star

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: James Bowen Age: 5 Weight: 11st 7lbs

In top hands and placed twice in big-field maidens in Ireland in recent weeks. Has work to do with Joyeux Machin on their clash at Fairyhouse.


Kilbeg King

Trainer: Anthony Honeyball Jockey: Aidan Coleman Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Irish point winner looked good prospect when making winning start under Rules in a Uttoxeter bumper in March 2021. Off the track for 20 months but expertly prepared to make a successful hurdles debut at Ffos Las in November. Should be more to come if he stands training.


Marble Sands

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Connor Brace Age: 6 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Made the most of a good opportunity when a wide-margin winner on reappearance at Hereford in October and he defied a penalty with a bit to spare at Leicester a month later. Clearly in excellent order but dominating this field a totally different ask.


Moka De Vassy

Trainer: Mrs Jane Williams Jockey: Tom Cannon Age: 4 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Excelled himself when runner-up in Triumph trial at Cheltenham in January. Not at that level in the Adonis a month later and this is a tough return to action trying a new distance.


Passing Well

Trainer: Jamie Snowden Jockey: Tom O’Brien Age: 5 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Left Robert Tyner for £185,000 and he advanced his form when landing 12-runner maiden at Uttoxeter starting out for Jamie Snowden last month. Limit not yet reached.


Thomas Mor

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Tom Scudamore Age: 5 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Took 5 goes to get off the mark in points but looked an above-average staying prospect during the autumn, winning at Worcester and Wincanton. Probably didn’t beat a lot but he’s promising.


Vicki Vale

Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 5 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Half-sister to bumper winner Bari Breeze. Runner-up in Irish point and took superbly to hurdling when making all in taking fashion at Hereford last month. Well worth a go in this company.


You Wear It Well

Trainer: Jamie Snowden Jockey: Gavin Sheehan Age: 5 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Challow Novices’ Hurdle tips

Timeform: A big-field Challow chock-full of potential but HERMES ALLEN is still difficult to get away from. A £350,000 purchase from the pointing field, he looked smart when supplementing his maiden success in Grade 2 company at Cheltenham and can give Paul Nicholls a third straight win in this Grade 1 that usually throws up a very good one. Vicki Vale and Joyeux Machin head the opposition.

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