BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race on Day 2, is arguably the strongest of the four novice hurdles run at the Festival.

Sponsored for many years by Sun Alliance (1974-2006) - it has since been known as either the Neptune or the Ballymore Hurdle.

However, its registered name is the Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle in honour of William Baring Bingham who organised the first National Hunt meeting at Prestbury Park in 1902.

Grade 1 | 4yo+ novices | Wednesday 13.30
2 miles 5 furlongs | 10 hurdles | Old Course
Weight: 10st 9lb (4yo) / 11st 7lb (5yo+) | Allowance: 7lb for fillies & mares
Prize money (2022): £135,000 | 1st: £75,965

It has often been an excellent guide to future Champion Hurdles, even though it's run on a trip of over half a mile longer.

Previous winners of both races include Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Faugheen. 

The race has also been won by plenty of future chasing stars such as Davy Lad, Sabin du Loir and First Lieutenant.

8 of the last 9 winners were Irish trained
7 of the last 9 winners were rated 150+
10 of the last 12 winners were aged 7
22 of the last 28 winners won last time out
7 of the last 21 favourites won
Updated to include 2022 renewal

Class has come to the fore in recent years and there has been no Ballymore Hurdle winner rated below 146 in the past decade.

Four of the last five favourites have won and there has only been one winner priced at over 8/1 since 2007.

The New One (2013) is the only five-year-old to win in the last 10 years, with six-year-old's dominating.

Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer with 5 winners, while Gordon Elliott has been successful recently with Samcro (2018) and Envoi Allen (2020).

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
7
151
11-7
2021
6
150
11-7
2020
6
156
11-7
2019
6
147
11-7
2018
6
155
11-7

RECENT WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Sir Gerhard
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
8/11f
2021
Bob Olinger
Rachael Blackmore / Henry De Bromhead
6/4f
2020
Envoi Allen
Davy Russell / Gordon Elliott
4/7f
2019
City Island
Mark Walsh / Martin Brassil
8/1
2018
Samcro
Jack Kennedy / Gordon Elliott
8/11f
2017
Willoughby Court
David Bass / Ben Pauling
14/1
2016
Yorkhill
Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins
3/1
2015
Windsor Park
Davy Russell / Dermot Weld
9/2
2014
Faugheen
Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins
6/4f
2013
The New One
Sam Twiston-Davies / Nigel Twiston-Davies
7/2
2012
Simonsig
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
2/1f
2011
First Lieutenant
Davy Russell / Mouse Morris
7/1
2010
Peddlers Cross
Jason Maguire / Donald McCain
7/1
2009
Mikael d'Haguenet
Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins
5/2f
2008
Fiveforthree
Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins
7/1
2007
Massini's Maguire
Richard Johnson / Philip Hobbs
20/1
2006
Nicanor
Paul Carberry / Noel Meade
17/2
2005
No Refuge
Graham Lee / Howard Johnson
17/2
2004
Fundamentalist
Carl Llewellyn / Nigel Twiston-Davies
12/1
2003
Hardy Eustace
Kieran Kelly / Dessie Hughes
6/1
2002
Galileo
Jason Maguire / Tom George
12/1
2001

Festival Cancelled

2000
Monsignor
Norman Williamson / Mark Pitman
5/4f

Sir Gerhard powered through the soft ground to justify his short odds in the 2022 Ballymore.

The previous year's Champion Bumper winner handled the step up to two miles and five furlongs with aplomb under Paul Townend:

‘I WAS AFRAID GOING AROUND THAT WE WERE IN THE WRONG RACE, BUT HE SHOWED HIS TRUE ABILITY TO STAY GOING’

The 2021 Ballymore Hurdle was won by Bob Olinger, ridden by Rachael Blackmore.

His trainer, Henry De Bromhead, was delighted he saw out the trip:

‘I STARTED THE SEASON AIMING AT THE SUPREME, BUT EVERYONE PERSUADED ME, QUITE RIGHTLY, TO STEP UP...I’M NOT SURE WHAT DISTANCE HE WILL BE BEST AT IN THE END’

Irish banker Envoi Allen extended his unbeaten record, ahead of stablemate Easywork for a Gordon Elliott 1-2 in 2020:

The ultra-tough City Island was trainer Martin Brassil's first Festival winner in 2019:

Samcro was another unbeaten hotpot to score for Gordon Elliott in 2018, having cruised into contention at the final bend:

Willoughby Court just beat favourite Neon Wolf in a thrilling battle to the line in 2017, a first Festival winner for trainer Ben Pauling:

Yorkhill 2016

Windsor Park 2015

Back in 2014 Faugheen won this before going on to win the Champion Hurdle 12 months later:

The New One 2013

While in 2012 the brilliant grey Simonsig, who won the Arkle Chase the following year, never came out of second gear and cruised up the run-in under Barry Geraghty:

‘HE WON IT IN A COMMON CANTER’

Looking back further, Monsignor won by eight lengths in 2000, in what was regrettably his final ever race due to a tendon injury.

It completed an unbeaten novice hurdle season for the giant horse who had won the Champion Bumper 12 months earlier and looked destined for greater things:

French Holly was another huge horse to cap an unbeaten novice campaign by winning this race - speadeagling the field in 1998.

Third behind Istabraq in the Champion Hurdle a year later, a tragic schooling accident meant he also never got to fulfil his potential over fences:

A year earlier, Istabraq himself had been made to graft to win this race, before returning to win the Champion Hurdle three times:

But the most popular winner of the race must surely be Danoli - darling of Irish race fans.

There was a great roar when 'The People's Champion' hit the front at the top of the hill and delirious scenes after the race:

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
1999
Barton
Lorcan Wyer / Tim Easterby
2/1f
1998
French Holly
Andrew Thornton / Ferdy Murphy
2/1f
1997
Istabraq
Charlie Swan / Aidan O'Brien
6/5f
1996
Urubande
Charlie Swan / Aidan O'Brien
8/1
1995
Putty Road
Norman Williamson / David Nicholson
7/1
1994
Danoli
Charlie Swan / Tom Foley
7/4f
1993
Gaelstrom
Carl Llewellyn / Nigel Twiston-Davies
16/1
1992
Thetford Forest
Richard Dunwoody / David Nicholson
7/1
1991
Crystal Spirit
Jimmy Frost / Ian Balding
2/1f
1990
Regal Ambition
Peter Scudamore / Martin Pipe
3/1f
1989
Sayfar's Lad
Mark Perrett / Martin Pipe
12/1
1988
Rebel Song
Simon Sherwood / Oliver Sherwood
14/1
1987
The West Awake
Simon Sherwood / Oliver Sherwood
16/1
1986
Ten Plus
Kevin Mooney /  Fulke Walwyn
5/2f
1985
Asir
Ronnie Beggan / Paul Kelleway
9/1
1984
Fealty
Seamus O'Neill / Peter Brookshaw
33/1
1983
Sabin Du Loir
Graham Bradley / Michael Dickinson
16/1
1982
Mister Donovan
Tommy Ryan / Edward O'Grady
9/2
1981
Gaye Chance
Sam Morshead / Fred Rimell
7/1
1980
Drumlargan
Tommy Ryan / Edward O'Grady
5/2f
1979
Venture To Cognac
Simon Sherwood / Fred Rimell
4/1
1978
Mr Kildare
Tommy Carmody / Liam Browne
8/11f
1977
Counsel Cottage
Sean Treacy / Paddy Mullins
6/1
1976
Parkhill
Dessie Hughes / Mick O'Toole
4/1
1975
Davy Lad
Dessie Hughes / Mick O'Toole
5/2f
1974
Brown Lad
Ron Barry / Paddy Osborne
2/1f
1973
Willie Wumpkins
Pat Colville / Adrian Maxwell
11/1
1972
Even Dawn
Ron Hyett / Katie Gaze
40/1
1971
Midsprite
Macer Gifford / Harry Thomson Jones
7/1
All winners prior to 2000

Initially established as the Aldsworth Hurdle in 1971, the insurance company Sun Alliance became the race sponsor in 1974.

BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE FAQ’s