Formerly known as ‘The Neptune’ the Ballymore Novices Hurdle kicks things off on Day 2 of The Festival. Another Grade 1 affair this time contested over a distance just over two miles and five furlongs which often see’s the best novice hurdlers in the UK and Ireland do battle. Last year’s renewal was won in impression style by Samcro for Gordon Elliott, other big names to of won the race in recent years are the likes of Faugheen, Yorkhill, The New One and Simonsig. It remains to be seen whether there’s a horse in this year’s line up with quite the potential of one of those but we will soon find out.
Ballymore Novices Hurdle
(Class 1) (Grade 1) (2m 5f 26y)
Wednesday 13th March 2019
It’s Nicky Henderson who’s responsible for another festival favourite here with the JP McManus owned Champ (3/1) sitting at the top of the market for this year’s renewal of the Ballymore. He’s took all before him this season culminating with a win in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle last time at Newbury. He’s currently a best priced of 3/1 which some believe to be a bit on the big side. His main rival in the betting looks to be the Gordon Elliott trained Battleoverdoyen (4/1). He’s won all three of his starts since joining Gordon from the Point To Point sphere and also added a Grade 1 success to his record with a win in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle at the beginning of January. He’s a big player here and this is reflected in his price of a general 4/1.
The Irish seem to have a strong hand to play in this contest with the next two in the betting also residing from the other side of the Irish Sea. The first of these comes in the form of the Willie Mullins trained Klassical Dream (8/1), he also won a Grade 1 the last day with his coming at the Dublin Racing Festival where he just got the better of stablemate Aramon close home. He’s also entered in the Supreme however Willie has been leaning towards sending him here as he believes the horse needs a step up in trip. He’s a general best priced 8/1 currently. The other Irish horse who sits prominently in the betting here is the Martin Brassil trained City Island (9/1). He’s won both of his starts this season following a sizeable lay off however both came against a lot lesser opposition to what he’ll face here. That being said he’s done nothing wrong and could well take another step up here.
BrewinUpastorm (12/1) and Birchdale (14/1) did battle here at Trials Day in January where the former came down at the last in a nasty fall leaving Birchdale to stride on to victory. Many thought BrewinUpastorm was going to go onto win that day so it will be interesting to see how he’s recovered for this. Beakstown (16/1) looks another one of the key players for the home challenge, I saw him when he won a Grade 2 at Warwick last time out in what was a very taking performance. The Dan Skelton trained 6 year old is a best priced of 16/1. Sam’s Profile (14/1) and Commander Of Fleet (14/1) look two other Irish contenders to not should they line up here.
“I think this race looks a battle between the top two in the betting, I’ve been impressed with Champ so far this term and think he can just get the better of Battleoverdoyen here and gain another success for Nicky and JP. If rerouted here I think Klassical Dream can run a big race, he was very tough last time when beating Aramon and connections hold this horse in very high regard. They also think he’ll relish a step up in trip.”
1st: CHAMP (3/1)
2nd: BATTLEOVERDOYEN (4/1)
3rd: BREWINUPASTORM (8/1)
WIN: CHAMP (3/1)
(I think there’s every chance Champ could go off a significantly lot shorter than 3/1 on the day, he’s a horse that has done everything right so far this term and I believe he can live up to his name and progress once more here.)
EACH WAY: BREWINUPASTORM (7/1)
(Talented Olly Murphy hurdler who came down here at the last on trials day when looking to have been getting the better of the smart Birchdale. If none the worse from that fall he’s surely a solid each way player here.)
EACH WAY: EASY GAME (14/1)
(Battle hardened runner from Closutton, progressed well this season and won a Grade 2 when last seen. Requires a step up here but is a lively outsider to say the least. Ruby Walsh on board.)