Why The Ballymore Novices Hurdle Field Could Completely Fall Apart

Ballymore Novices Hurdle

The Ballymore Novices Hurdle kicks starts the second day of the Cheltenham festival and over the years has seen some superb winners and overall a talented field of runners heading to post but this season could see the Grade One completely fall apart.

We have looked through the market quite intensely over the last few months with certain horses that are currently entered into the contest winning decent races and their connections and trainers making plans as to what race they will actually go to in March.

We think the race could be decimated by the time it comes to the final declarations for the event with the main reason being that the strongly backed favourite Envoi Allen scaring away potential runners.

The six year old for Gordon Elliott is seen as one of the bankers of the four days and has been cut and cut over the last few weeks to now the 11/10 favourite to take the Ballymore.

Every trainer wants to head to the Cheltenham festival with the best chance of winning a race and many trainers have looked at this race and horse and thought that he can not be beaten, so we will go elsewhere.

When we break it down it is quite astounding at what the current market for the race looks like from an ante-post perspective to what it could look like on the day of the race.

Fragile Market

Envoi Allen 11/10 - His trainer on the weekend expressed they are leaning towards this race at the festival and he looks the clear favourite that will head here.

Asterion Forlonge 8/1 - Very impressive winner at the Dublin Racing Festival in a Grade One over two miles and looks primed for the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Thyme Hill 10/1 - Has been superb this season being unbeaten in all three of his events winning two Grade Twos and his first Grade One last time out stepping up in trip every time and his trainer Philip Hobbs looks to be swaying towards taking him over three miles in the Albert Bartlett.

The Big Breakaway 12/1 - Another novice that is unbeaten this season and with Colin Tizzard having plenty of talent in this division this season he could end up in the Albert Bartlett but does look Envoi Allen's biggest danger.

Shishkin 14/1 - Looks a horse with plenty of scope for Nicky Henderson and showed a wicked turn of pace to land his last contest at Newbury that should see him go for the Supreme from a pace angle.

Fiddlerontheroof 14/1 - Another one for Colin Tizzard that started over two and half miles but was outstayed and since coming back to two miles has been magnificent, landing the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle last time out which should see him in the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

The Big Getaway 14/1 - Willie Mullins has explained that he believes this smart youngster is an out and out stayer which would indicate that the Albert Bartlett would be more likely.

Latest Exhibition 16/1 - Another that looks all but set for the Albert Bartlett after landing a Grade One at the Dublin Racing Festival over two miles six furlongs at the weekend and his trainer has been quoted that it is 99% certain he will end up racing on the Friday of the festival.

Monkfish 16/1 - Monkfish has come on leaps and bounds this season and it has all been down to the step up in trip having finished second on his seasonal debut over two and half miles and has since won both his events effortlessly over further and he looks a big Albert Bartlett contender.

King Roland 20/1 - This youngster was impressive last time out at Cheltenham in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle Trial sweeping to the front effortlessly but not quite getting up the hill but does look certain to go in this one.

Sporting John 20/1 - A very bright talent for Philip Hobbs that has both his starts over hurdles at Exeter this season but has never ran further than two miles one furlong and the Ballymore could be to far.

Harry Senior 20/1 - The third Colin Tizzard representative in the line up and another one although winning the Ballymore Novices Trial at Cheltenham last time out has been hinted at going to the Albert Bartlett with him looking like an out and out stayer.

Elixir D'ainay 20/1 - A Horse that could very well end up here after trying over further at the Dublin Racing festival and not staying the trip, he also finished second behind Envoi Allen over the Ballymore distance.

Chantry House 16/1 - A very smart recruit for Nicky Henderson winning his only hurdles start over two miles at Cheltenham and also entered at Newbury on Saturday over two miles again which would suggest the Supreme looks his target but it would not be a surprise to see him in this aswell.

Longhouse Poet 25/1 - Beaten by a fair distance over two and half miles at Naas by Envoi Allen and Elixir D'Ainay but when stepped up in trip on Saturday improved massively and the Albert Bartlett would be the obvious place for him to go.

Diol Ker 33/1 - Running with the theme of the entries in this field Diol Ker looks an out and out stayer for Gigginstown that although running over two and a half miles this season will step up in trip for the festival.

Mossy Fen 33/1 - Trained by NTD and enjoys slugging it out in proper staying battles in soft ground over three miles but has raced at Cheltenham this season and underperformed and it is up in the air where he will go but the Albert Bartlett looks the most obvious.

Easywork 33/1 - Was seen as a key player for all novice events at the festival but can be ruled out of the Supreme after getting beaten for pace on Saturday leaving the Ballymore or Bartlett his likely options but it does look like the further he goes the better he is.

Cobblers Way 33/1 - Henry De Bromhead's stayer looks a certain for the Bartlett after a narrow second to Latest Exhibition at Leopardstown at the weekend and he will come on for that again.

Fury Road 33/1 - Another one that looked certain for the Albert Bartlett but was out stayed massively by most of the field and may just drop into the Ballymore.

Champagne Well 33/1 - This horse could end up at either of the further distance novice events having looked sharp over both three miles and two and a half.

Round Up

Out of 21 horses we have discussed that are currently in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle market we can count the amount of horses that we think will actually head for the Wednesday contest on one hand which could make a mockery of the race and leave it wide open for Envoi Allen.