Sefton Novices Hurdle

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The Sefton Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over an extended three miles on the second day of the Aintree Grand National meeting.

The Sefton Novices Hurdle takes place on the 12th of April 2024 at 4:40 pm.

The Grade One Cavani Menswear Sefton Novices’ Hurdle takes place on Ladies Day which is the Aintree Festival Day 2 Races.

The Sefton is often the target for horses who ran in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Notable past winners include Barton Bank (1992), Iris’s Gift (2003), At Fishers Cross (2013), Thistlecrack (2015) and Champ (2019).

Find out more about the Sefton Novices Hurdle:

Sefton Novices Hurdle

Race Overview – The Sefton Novices Hurdle

The Sefton Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race for horses aged four and up.

It is run at Aintree over a distance of approximately 3 miles and half a furlong, with thirteen hurdles to leap during the race.

The race is for novice hurdlers and takes place every year in early April during the Grand National meeting.

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Famous Sefton Novices’ Hurdle Winners

The race was originally run as the White Satin Novices’ Hurdle in 1988 with victory going to Nicky Henderson’s Rustle.

The race was renamed the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle in 1993 when Cath Walwyn, widow of the late Fulke, trained Cardinal Red to win the race.

The race was promoted to Grade 1 status in 1995, making it an obvious target for the top-staying novices.

1992 winner Barton Bank would go on to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park in 1993. He would almost certainly have added a second victory in the race but for unseating Adrian Maguire at the last fence in 1994.

Jonjo O’Neill trained Iris’s Gift to win here this race in 2003. The popular grey had finished runner-up to Baracouda in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He won this race by 8 lengths and returned to Cheltenham to reverse the form with Baracouda in the 2004 Stayers’ Hurdle.

At Fishers Cross was another very well-backed winner for Rebecca Curtis and Tony McCoy in 2013. The mud-loving gelding had won the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham on his previous start.

Other notable winners include Asian Maze (2005), Black Jack Ketchum (2006) and Thistlecrack (2015).

Many believed that Thistlecrack was a certain future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. He did win the King George in 2016 as well as the Liverpool Hurdle and World Hurdle in the same year. He was National Hunt Horse of the Year for 2016 but never quite fulfilled his potential over fences.

2018 winner Santini did manage to finish second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for Nicky Henderson. The veteran Lambourn trainer struck again with Champ in 2019 who would go on to win the RSA Chase in dramatic fashion but reverted to hurdles in 2021/22 after being pulled up in the Gold Cup.

Key Sefton Novices’ Hurdle Trials

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival is the best form guide for the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. It has produced four of the last eleven winners, although only At Fishers Cross (2013) had been successful at Cheltenham.

Champ (2019) had finished second in the shorter Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham prior to winning here. Santini (2018) finished third in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and The Worlds End (2017) had fallen at the second last hurdle in the same race.

This race is usually the last race of the current season for the winner. Saint Are (2011), Beat That (2014) and Thistlecrack (2015) ran again at the Punchestown Festival in April/May but only Beat That was successful.

A chasing career often beckons for the Sefton winner in the new season but four recent winners returned to compete in the Liverpool Hurdle 12 months later, Thistlecrack winning in 2016.

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

2013At Fishers Cross6Tony McCoyRebecca Curtis
2014Beat That6Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2015Thistlecrack7Tom ScudamoreColin Tizzard
2016Ballyoptic6Ryan HatchNigel Twiston-Davies
2017The Worlds End6Adrian HeskinTom George
2018Santini6Nico de BoinvilleNicky Henderson
2019Champ7Mark WalshNicky Henderson
no race 2020 [a]
2021Ahoy Senor6Derek FoxLucinda Russell
2022Gelino Bello6Harry CobdenPaul Nicholls
2023Apple Away6Stephen MulqueenLucinda Russell

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

The Sefton has produced a mixed bag of results, ranging from hot favourites to rank outsiders.

There have been three winning favourites in the past eleven renewals; At Fishers Cross (2013), Santini (2018) and Champ (2019). The Worlds End returned second favourite at 3-1 in 2017 but there have been plenty of shock results too.

Saint Are (2011) returned at 33-1 for Tom Vaughan and Richard Johnson while Ogee (2009) and Thistlecrack (2015) were 25-1 outsiders.

The biggest shock in the history of the race came in 2021 when Lucinda Russell’s 66-1 chance Ahoy Senor overturned hot favourite Bravemansgame.

Most previous winners had raced within the past five weeks, often having their last run at the Cheltenham Festival.

Stamina is often the key with around half of recent winners having already chalked up at least one victory over three miles or further.

An official rating of 142 or higher is usually required to win this race. At Fishers Cross and Champ were the highest-rated recent Sefton winners on 152.

Horses aged six and seven have dominated this race over the years. This age group has accounted for all but one of the sixteen winners between 2005 and 2021.

Morgan’s Harbour (1995) and Unsinkable Boxer (1998) won here at the age of nine. Saint Are (2011) was the most recent of only four five-year-olds to win in the history of the race.

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Nicky Henderson is the trainer to follow in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. He won the inaugural running with Rustle in 1988 and achieved more recent victories with Beat That (2014), Santini (2018) and Champ (2019).

Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race three times; King’s Road (1999), Pettifour (2008) and Ballyoptic (2016).

Tony McCoy and Barry Geraghty currently share the honours for most wins in the Sefton with three winners apiece.

McCoy won it for the last time on At Fishers Cross in 2013 with Geraghty’s last winner coming aboard Beat That the following season.

Popular Questions

How many jumps are in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle?

There are 13 hurdles altogether in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.

How far is the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle?

The Sefton Novices’ Hurdle is 3 miles and half a furlong long.

Summary of the Sefton Novices Hurdle

The Sefton Novices Hurdle is one of the most prestigious hurdles in the calendar.

Whilst it has always produced quality hurdle winners many have gone on to have great careers over fences.

It is one of the highlights of the Grand National Aintree Festival.

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