Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Guide

Envoi Allen

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Davy Russell

Envoi Allen is unbeaten in all seven of his contests which include a point to point, four bumper wins including the Grade One Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham festival and since his switch to hurdles he has swept the field aside on three occasions.

Three starts ago after winning nicely at Down Royal on his debut he went on to win in the Grade One Royal Bond Novices Hurdle at Fairyhouse over two miles seeing off his stablemate Abacadabras who has since gone on to win nicely in a Grade One franking the form.

Having not been tried over two and half miles but ever shortening in the Ballymore market, Gordon Elliott sent his horse to Naas in the Grade One Lawlor’s of Naas Novices Hurdle where he went on to win very comfortably staking his claim as one of the bankers of the festival.

This week the market was rocked due to his trainer seriously considering switching him to the Supreme but he is now in this contest and has a superb chance of extending his unbeaten run.

Sporting John

Trainer - Philip Hobbs

Jockey - Barry Geraghty

This five year old has been completely faultless during his career landing a decent point to point over in Ireland and from that was bought by JP McManus.

This season he was sent hurdling and on his debut at Exeter he went on to score in great fashion with the form being massively franked from that race with the second place going on to win a Grade Two and third, fourth and fifth also going on to win since.

He has been lightly campaigned this season and has only ran twice more, which came at Exeter again where he bolted up in a Novices Hurdle and from the way he has shaped he looks a highly exciting animal.

He stepped up to a better contest last time out taking Master Debonair to the cleaners and looking like a very improving horse that has a big chance here.

The Big Getaway

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Paul Townend

This six year old son of Getaway was a very smart bumper horse finishing second twice behind some nice horses and then on his first run this season bolted up at Punchestown.

He was then sent over hurdles by Mullins and also stepped up in trip which saw him go nicely until making a big error at the last flight that ruined his chances of winning.

He showed he had clear stamina that day at Leopardstown and backed that thinking up at Naas on his final start when landing a decent Maiden Hurdle.

He was thought to be going to the Albert Bartlett but instead will take his chances in the Ballymore where he has been well backed and not without a chance.

The Big Breakaway

Trainer - Colin Tizzard

Jockey - Robbie Power

The Big Breakaway looks to be a very smart horse for Colin Tizzard that will certainly turn out to be a serious chaser in the making but is still to be respected over hurdles after being unbeaten this season.

He won his point to point in good style and was then bought for €360,000 and given to Colin Tizzard who started him out at Chepstow where he bolted up in a decent maiden that has since seen the form franked.

He then went Newbury over two and half miles and again he was overly impressive and if handling this step up in Grade could be a nice each way angle.


Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Davy Russell

The six year old is three from four this season scoring at Down Royal on his seasonal debut in a bumper before being taken over hurdles and taking to them just the same.

He won nicely at Gowran Park in a decent novice event seeing of Mt Leinster for Willie Mullins which is strong form and then when upped in trip last time out Easywork bolted up again seeing off another bright Mullins horse in Unexcepted.

He then headed to the Dublin Racing Festival at the start of February and was a narrow second to the Supreme favourite Asterion Forlonge which looks exceptional form and could be a nice each way shout.

Longhouse Poet

Trainer - Martin Brassil

Jockey - Mark Walsh

The Martin Brassil trained Longhouse Poet that holds a substantial form line but now just needs to back that up and took to the extra trip very well last time out.

The six year old has not been out the top three on all three of his runs over hurdles this season but now needs to show that extra staying ability to go close here.

He started over hurdles in November finishing second to a smart Mullins' horse and in the race after that got off the mark in a 25 runner event over two and a half miles.

He went to Naas and again was chasing tails but this time it was that of Envoi Allen who he will need to reverse the form with.

Last time was his best run to date when stepped up even further in trip at the Dublin Racing Festival when third to Latest Exhibition and that looks solid form.

Mossy Fen

Trainer - Nigel Twiston-Davies

Jockey - Sam Twiston-Davies

Mossy Fen looks to be a shock inclusion in this years renewal as he looked set for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle but he turns up here and has it all to do.

He has won three of his four starts to date, starting at Worcester in a Class 4 event and then backing that up at Aintree in a very similar contest looking like a stayer in the making.

He then went to Cheltenham in December in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices Trial and finished a weak fourth being outstayed up the hill.

He got back to winning way at Warwick last time out in a nice Grade Two but his only loss coming at Cheltenham looks a worry.

Shan Blue

Trainer - Dan Skelton

Jockey - Harry Skelton

Another who looks to have a big task ahead is Shan Blue for the Skelton's who has been raced quite frequently this season in tough races finishing in behind some smart horses.

He is ideally hoping for plenty of rain having his only win of the season on heavy ground at Southwell in a Maiden Hurdle but in better events he has been held by Mossy Fen and Decor Irlandais which he will need to reverse the form.

His third to Chantry House in a bumper and his second to Shishkin last time out look to be his best runs to date and if one of them two win the Supreme he could get some support.

Son Of Camas

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Nico De Boinville

Nicky Henderson fields this five year old who could enter the placings at a huge price of 50/1 if showing the same turn of foot as he did on his debut.

He landed a nice bumper in November at Newbury and was then sent over hurdles straight away winning again in nice style at the same track.

He was sent to Sandown last time out in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle and was completely outclasses by Fiddlerontheroof and he needs to bounce back from that.

Decor Irlandais

Trainer - Noel Kelly

Jockey - N McParlan

This seven year old is another that has been frequently raced this term and for the most part consistently winning three of his six events and placing in another.

His latest outing saw him finish a close second to Mossy Fen in a Grade Two at Warwick and although that was a smart performance he needs more than that to go well in this field.

Getaway Fred

Trainer - Colin Tizzard

Jockey - Harry Cobden

Tizzard has an embarrassment of riches in the novice hurdle division and another of his runners is this six year old who has not finished outside the placings on all his runs this season.

However, these have come in lesser races than what is in stall for him today and it would take a career best for this gelding to be involved having been running in Class 4s for most the season.

Shakem Up'Arry

Trainer - Ben Pauling

Jockey - Daryl Jacob

The final runner of the afternoon is the big outsider of the field and if not for Sandown being called off last weekend many would of thought he would not be involved here.

Ben Pauling has not been in the best of form this season and it does not look like this form will change that although finishing a decent second behind Mister Coffey and Shishkin on his last two starts.

Looks opposable.