River Don Novices’ Hurdle

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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.

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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.

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.

River Don Novices’ Hurdle Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

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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