Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, also known as the Baring Bingham in honour of the organiser of the first Cheltenham Festival, is over two miles and five furlongs.

It is currently the opening race on day 2 of the festival meeting. Despite being over a longer distance, this race has been won by subsequent Champion Hurdlers Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Faugheen. The latter was one of a record five winners in the race for trainer Willie Mullins.

Find out more about the Ballymore Hurdle:

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle Race Overview

Each year on the 2nd day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Ballymore Novices Hurdle takes place.

This Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle competition is held on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of around two miles and five furlongs, with ten hurdles to be jumped.

The race is limited to horses four years or older who are novices (meaning they had not won a race over hurdles prior to that season).

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle 2023 Odds

Listed below are the odds for the 2023 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle:

  • Facile Vega – 6-1
  • American Mike – 10-1
  • Jamess Gate – 14-1
  • Demandrivingdouvan – 20-1
  • Gaelic Warrior – 20-1
  • Henri The Second – 25-1

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2012 Simonsig 6 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2013 The New One 5 Sam Twiston-Davies Nigel Twiston-Davies
2014 Faugheen 6 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2015 Windsor Park 6 Davy Russell Dermot Weld
2016 Yorkhill 6 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2017 Willoughby Court 6 David Bass Ben Pauling
2018 Samcro 6 Jack Kennedy Gordon Elliott
2019 City Island 6 Mark Walsh Martin Brassil
2020 Envoi Allen 6 Davy Russell Gordon Elliott
2021 Bob Olinger 6 Rachael Blackmore Henry de Bromhead
2022 Sir Gerhard 7 Paul Townend Willie Mullins

Famous Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Winners

The race was first run as the Aidsworth Hurdle in 1971 and was sponsored by Sun Alliance from 1974 until 2006.

Willie Wumpkins won this race in 1973 and would go on to become a Cheltenham legend for winning the Pertemps Final for three successive seasons at the age of 11, 12 and 13.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s the race produced some future high-class chasers including Sabin Du Loir (1983), a multiple Grade 1 winner for Martin Pipe.

1994 winner Danoli was another to go on to great success over hurdles and fences. His victories included the Aintree Hurdle (twice) and the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup.

The most famous winner of the Ballymore (then known as the Royal & Sun Alliance) was undoubtedly Istabraq in 1997. He was trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Charlie Swan in all 29 races over hurdles. He became the fifth horse in history to win three Champion Hurdles (1998-2000) and was being trained for a record fourth success when the 2001 festival was abandoned due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

2003 winner Hardy Eustace was trained in Ireland by Dessie Hughes and successfully dropped back to two miles to win the Champion Hurdle in 2004 and 2005. He was a 33-1 winner of the Champion in 2004 when defeating Rooster Booster. The following season he started joint-favourite and made all the running to repel Harchibald by a neck after the runner-up has cruised up alongside.

Faugheen (2014) would go on to earn over £1 million in prize money. He was a brilliant winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2015 and would show his versatility by winning the Irish Champion Stayers Hurdle in 2018. He was also a Grade 1 winner over fences and was retired in 2020 to join the living legends at the Irish National Stud.

Key Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Trials

Ireland has enjoyed unprecedented success in the Ballymore in recent years, winning eight of the last nine renewals.

Winners have come from a wide range of different races, although the Leopardstown Dublin Festival and the Naas Lawlor’s Hurdle meeting have been the most productive.

Envoi Allen won the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Hurdle prior to winning here in 2020, as did Bob Olinger the following season.

Sir Gerhard (2022) won the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over two miles on his previous start.

Samcro (2018) won the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at the same course on his way to winning the Ballymore while City Island (2019) had won a novice hurdle at Naas.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Betting Trends

Favourites have a great recent record in the Ballymore, winning four of the last five runnings. Three of those returned odds-on; Samcro (2018), Envoi Allen (2020) and Sir Gerhard (2022). Bob Olinger returned 6-4 favourite in 2021, the same price as Faugheen (2014).

Simonsig (2012) was the only winning favourite trained in Britain in the last twelve years, scoring at 2-1 for Nicky Henderson.

Only three of the last twelve winners were outside the first three in the betting. First Lieutenant returned at 7-1 in 2011 and City Island was an 8-1 chance in 2019.

The longest priced winner during that period was Ben Pauling’s Willoughby Court in 2017 at 14-1.

What are the betting trends for the Baring bingham novices' hurdle

Sir Gerhard (aged seven) was the first horse of his age group to win since French Holly in 1998.

The last four-year-old to win the Ballymore was Crystal Spirit in 1991, although they rarely take part.

Sir Gerhard was also unusual in that he had not previously raced beyond two miles, the eleven previous winners had at least one victory over 19-21 furlongs.

The last twelve winners had all been at least placed on their latest outing.

Quality rises to the top here with nine of those twelve having won at least once at Grade 1 to 3 level.

An official rating of 146 or higher is usually required to win the Ballymore.

Yorkhill (2016) and Envoi Allen (2020) were officially rated 156 ahead of their victories with Samcro (2018) just 1lb lower.

The form of the race usually holds up well with seven of the ten winners between 2012 and 2021 winning next time out including two at the Aintree Grand National meeting and one at the Punchestown Festival.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Willie Mullins is the leading trainer in the history of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle with five winners. He struck first with Fiveforthree in 2008 and followed up with Mikael d’Haguenet in 2009. Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016) added to his tally before Sir Gerhard made it five in 2022.

Gordon Elliott won it with the well-backed Samcro (2018) and Envoi Allen (2020).

Nigel Twiston-Davies has trained the winner on three occasions, although the most recent was The New One in 2013.

Ruby Walsh rode the first four of the Mullins-trained winners to lead the jockey standings in the event.

Davy Russell has three victories to his credit; First Lieutenant (2011), Windsor Park (2015) and Envoi Allen (2020).

Betting on the Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle has a lively ante-post market, although it is not always clear which horse or horses will represent the top stables.

Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson both kept their options open for as long as possible ahead of the 2022 Ballymore.

Bookmakers have started offering “non-runner – no bet” on all Cheltenham races during the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival in recent years. This has made betting on the race more attractive, safe in the knowledge that your stake will be refunded should the trainer elect to run their horse in either the Supreme or the Albert Bartlett instead.

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FIND THE ANSWERS TO YOUR BARING BINGHAM NOVICES' HURDLE QUESTIONS!

Summary of the Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle

The Baring Bingham is one of the most prestigious novice hurdles to take place at the Festival every year.

It has produced some high-class performances, whilst many of the horses go on to further top-level success.

It is always one of the most intriguing and exciting races of the Cheltenham Festival.

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