River Don Novices’ Hurdle

The River Don Novices Hurdle is a Grade 2 race at Doncaster over three miles. It takes place in late January or early February and is regarded as a trial for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

1999 winner Barton won the Ballymore at Cheltenham while other notable winners include Cab on Target (1991) and Grand National winner Neptune Collonges (2006).

Find out more about the River Don Novices’ Hurdle:

River Don Novices’ Hurdle

Race Overview – River Don Novices Hurdle

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

There are eleven hurdles to clear during the race, which is run over a distance of approximately 3 miles and 110 yards (4,929 metres) at Doncaster Racecourse.

The novice hurdlers’ race takes place in late January or early February each year.

River Don Novices’ Hurdle 2023 Odds

The River Don Novices’ Hurdle odds are listed below:

These odds have not yet been published.

River Don Novices’ Hurdle 2023 Tips

The River Don Novices’ Hurdle tips are below:

  • 2 points to win for STAY AWAY FAY at odds of 11/4
  • 1 point each way for GRAND SOIR at odds of 9/2

Many River Don 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 searching for racing tips for events taking place at Doncaster Racecourse then check out our Doncaster betting tips page.

River Don Novices’ Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
1991Cab on Target5Peter NivenMary Reveley
1993Hurdy6Andrew ThorntonJack Hanson
1994Seekin Cash5Jamie OsborneCharles Egerton
1997Inn at the Top5Derek ByrneJohn Norton
1998Ginger Fox5Denis LeahyJenny Pitman
1999Barton6Lorcan WyerTim Easterby
2000Barney Knows5Adrian MaguireMark Peill
2001Rum Pointer5Russ GarrittyTim Easterby
2002Too Forward6Adrian MaguireMark Pitman
2003Tees Components8Alan DempseyMary Reveley
2004Diamant Noir6Liam CooperJonjo O'Neill
2005Bewleys Berry7Warren MarstonHoward Johnson
2006Neptune Collonges [a]5Christian WilliamsPaul Nicholls
2007Chief Dan George [a]7Alan DempseyJames Moffatt
2008Battlecry7David EnglandNigel Twiston-Davies
2009Cape Tribulation5Phil KinsellaMalcolm Jefferson
2010no race 2010–11 [b]
2012Rocky Creek6Daryl JacobPaul Nicholls
2010no race 2013 [b]
2014Urban Hymn6Brian HughesMalcolm Jefferson
2015Caracci Apache5Nico de BoinvilleNicky Henderson
2016Barters Hill6David BassBen Pauling
2017Constantine Bay6Jeremiah McGrathNicky Henderson
2018Enniscoffey Oscar6Leighton AspellEmma Lavelle
2019Nadaitak5Nico de BoinvilleBen Pauling
2020Ramses De Teillee8Tom ScudamoreDavid Pipe
2021The Cob7Daryl JacobBen Pauling
2022Mahler Mission6James BowenJohn McConnell
2023Maximilian7Brian HughesDonald McCain

Famous River Don Novices Hurdle Winners

The River Don Novices Hurdle was originally run over two and a half miles but was increased to three miles in 2002.

1991 winner Can On Target was trained by Mary Reveley and ridden by Peter Niven. He became one of the leading staying hurdlers in training, winning the Great Yorkshire Hurdle and the Long Distance Hurdle twice. He was also a Grade 1 winner over fences.

Barton won this race for Tim Easterby and Lorcan Wyer in 1999. He successfully dropped back in trip to win the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham. In 2000 he won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and the following year the Aintree Hurdle.

2006 winner Neptune Collonges is the most famous winner of the River Don. He won here as a five-year-old before going on to make his name over fences. He won the Punchestown Gold Cup in 2007 and 2008 and the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2009.

His most famous victory came in the 2012 Aintree Grand National. He got the verdict in a photo-finish from Sunnyhillboy to win by a nose. He was the first grey to win the National since Nicolaus Silver in 1961.

More recent winners include Cape Tribulation (2009), Rocky Creek (2012) and Ramses De Teillee (2020).

Key River Don Novices Hurdle Trials

Two of the last ten winners of the River Don had at least one previous victory at Doncaster.

Six of the last ten had won on their last outing and all but one had recorded at least one previous win over hurdles.

Only David Pipe’s Ramses De Teillee (2020) won on their next outing. That was in the Prestige Novices Hurdle at Haydock.

The last ten winners have all contested the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. None of them managed a place, although Barters Hill (2016) and Constantine Bay (2017) finished fourth.

River Don Novices Hurdle Betting Trends

Only two favourites have obliged in the last ten renewals of the River Don Novices Hurdle; Urban Hymn (9-4) in 2014 and Barters Hill (4-7) in 2016. Seven of the remainder were in the top three in the betting.

The biggest priced winner during that period was 25-1 chance The Cob in 2021 while Nadaitak (2019) returned at 12-1. Both horses were trained by Ben Pauling.

There is no age bias for winners in this race with horses from five to eight successful in recent years.

An official rating of 128 or higher is normally required to win this race.

The highest-rated winner in recent times was Barters Hill.

River Don Novices Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Ben Pauling has a terrific recent record in this race with three victories between 2016 and 2021; Barters Hill (2016), Nadaitak (2019) and The Cob (2021).

Tim Easterby, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have trained two winners apiece.

Alan Dempsey, Adrian Maguire, Nico de Boinville and Daryl Jacob have all won this race twice.

Betting on the River Don Novices Hurdle

The River Don is billed as trial for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham but the record of winners in that race is poor.

Favourites have a modest record in this event which puts the emphasis firmly on stamina.

River Don Novices’ Hurdle Previous Result

Facts about the River Don Novices’ Hurdle

  • The River Don Novices’ Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older.
  • The race is run on the New Course at Doncaster Racecourse over a distance of 3 miles and 110 yards, and during its running there are eleven hurdles to be jumped.
  • It is a Grade 2 race and it is scheduled to take place each year in late January or early February.
  • The race was first run in 1991 and it was won by a horse called Cab On Target.

Summary of the River Don Novices’ Hurdle

Thank you for reading our River Don Novices’ Hurdle guide.

We have looked at the history of the race, previous winners, trends, betting, tips and more. Hopefully you have found all the information you need and enjoy this years 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.