Classic Novices’ Hurdle

The Classic Novices Hurdle is a Grade 2 race over an extended two-and-a-half miles at Cheltenham in January. It is regarded as an important trial for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Notable previous winners include Wichita Lineman (2007), Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth (2011), At Fishers Cross (2013) and Yanworth (2016).

Find out more about the Classic Novices’ Hurdle:

Classic Novices’ Hurdle

Race Overview – The Classic Novices Hurdle

Horses four years old and older may compete in the Classic Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade 2 National Hunt hurdle race.

There are 10 hurdles to clear during the race, which is run over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 412 furlongs (2 miles 4 furlongs and 56 yards, or 4,074 metres), on the New Course at Cheltenham.

The Classic Novices’ Hurdle horse race takes place in January each year. The race was created in 2005.

Currently, the Ballymore Group is its sponsor.

Classic Novices’ Hurdle 2023 Odds

The Classic Novices’ Hurdle odds are listed below:

3.35 Cheltenham (Race 8) - BOG
  • Date: Saturday 28th of January 2023
  • Time: 15:35
  • Details: 9 Runners Hurdle Hurdle 2m 4f 56y
12 Bonttay
8 Pembroke
9 Rock My Way
1 Henri The Second
5 Cruz Control
4 Can You Call
10 War Soldier
7 Moka De Vassy
11 Way Out

Classic Novices’ Hurdle 2023 Tips

The Classic Novices’ Hurdle tips are below:

  • 2 points to win for PEMBROKE at odds of 9/4
  • 1 point each way for HENRI THE SECOND at odds of 3/1

Many Classic Novices’ Hurdle horses will race in more races throughout the years. Stay updated on the horses and place ante-post bets if you want to wager on them.

If you are looking for more horse racing tips for races taking place at Cheltenham then check out our Cheltenham betting tips page.

Classic Novices’ Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2005Ambobo5Barry GeraghtyArnaud Chaillé-Chaillé
2007Wichita Lineman6Tony McCoyJonjo O'Neill
2008Aigle d'Or5Marcus FoleyNicky Henderson
2009Diamond Harry6Timmy MurphyNick Williams
2010Restless Harry6Henry OliverRobin Dickin
2011Bobs Worth6Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2012Batonnier6Wayne HutchinsonAlan King
2013At Fishers Cross6Tony McCoyRebecca Curtis
2014Red Sherlock5Tom ScudamoreDavid Pipe
2015Ordo Ab Chao6Wayne HutchinsonAlan King
2016Yanworth6Barry GeraghtyAlan King
2017Wholestone6Daryl JacobNigel Twiston-Davies
2018Santini6Jeremiah McGrathNicky Henderson
2019Birchdale5Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2020Harry Senior6Robbie PowerColin Tizzard
2022North Lodge5Adrian HeskinAlan King
2023Rock My Way5Tom ScudamoreSyd Hosie

Famous Classic Novices Hurdle Winners

The Classic Novices Hurdle was first run in 2005 with victory going to the French-trained Ambobo.

The meeting was abandoned due to frost the following year before Wichita Lineman’s victory in 2007. He went on to win the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding returned to claim a second Festival victory in 2009 when landing the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase. That is still widely regarded as the finest ride ever produced by Tony McCoy as the horse rallied from a seemingly impossible position.

2009 winner Diamond Harry went on to win the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2010. Bobs Worth (2011) would also claim a Hennessy triumph as well as three consecutive Festival victories. He won the Albert Bartlett in 2011, the RSA Chase in 2012 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2013.

At Fishers Cross (2013) was another to go on and win the Albert Bartlett while 2016 winner Yanworth was a very high-class performer trained by Alan King. He was runner-up in the Ballymore before winning the 2016 Ascot Hurdle, 2017 Christmas Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle. 2018 winner Santini went close to winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup when chasing home Al Boum Photo in 2020.

Key Classic Novices Hurdle Trials

Four of the last eleven winners of the Classic Novices Hurdle had already recorded at least one previous Cheltenham victory.

Interestingly, horses winning here have had more success in the three-mile Albert Bartlett than in the shorter Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Six of the last eleven winners contested the Albert Bartlett with Bobs Worth and At Fishers Cross both successful. Three winners ran in the Ballymore with only Yanworth managing a place.

Classic Novices Hurdle Betting Trends

Only two favourites have obliged in the last eleven renewals; Yanworth (2016) at 2-1 and Wholestone (11-4) in 2017. All but two of those eleven winners were in the first three in the betting. The two exceptions were Batonnier (12-1) in 2012 and Ordo Ab Chao (2015) at 16-1.

Six-year-olds have the best record. They have won eleven of the sixteen renewals compared to five five-year-olds. No other age group has won the Classic Novices Hurdle to date.

An official rating of 135 or higher is usually required to win this race.

The highest-rated recent winner was Yanworth (148), 3lbs higher than At Fishers Cross (145).

Classic Novices Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Nicky Henderson and Alan King have each trained the winner on four occasions.

Henderson’s victories came with Aigle d’Or (2008), Bobs Worth (2011), Santini (2018) and Birchdale (2019).

King has won this race with Batonnier (2012), Ordo Ab Chao (2015), Yanworth (2016) and North Lodge (2022).

Barry Geraghty is the leading rider in the history of the event with four victories aboard Ambobo (2005), Bobs Worth (2011), Yanworth (2016) and Birchdale (2019).

Betting on the Classic Novices Hurdle

The Classic Novices Hurdle has so far had more influence on the outcome of the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle than the Ballymore.

This is something to bear in mind if contemplating Cheltenham Festival options for the winner. Favourites have a poor record but the winner has invariably been one of the more fancied runners.

Facts about the Classic Novices’ Hurdle

  • The Classic Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 2 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older.
  • It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 2 miles and 4 and a half furlongs (4,023 metres), and during its running, there are ten hurdles to be jumped.

Summary of the Classic Novices’ Hurdle

Thank you for reading our Classic Novices’ Hurdle guide.

We have looked at the race history, previous winners, this year’s odds and more, so that you can make an informed decision if you are trying to find the winner, or simply enjoying watching the race.

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As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.