Winter Novices’ Hurdle

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The Winter Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 2 race over two and a half miles at Sandown Park in early December.

The race is considered a trial for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Notable past winners include See More Business (1995), Inglis Drever (2003), Neptune Collonges (2005) and Taquin Du Seuil (2012).

Find out more about the Winter Novices Hurdles:

Winter Novices’ Hurdle

Race Overview – The Winter Novices Hurdle

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

There are nine hurdles to clear throughout the race, which is raced at Sandown Park over a distance of around 2 miles and 4 furlongs (2 miles, 3 furlongs, and 173 yards, or 3,980 metres). The race takes place in December.

Winter Novices’ Hurdle Previous Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Famous Winter Novices’ Hurdle Winners

See More Business (1995) was the first high-profile winner of this race. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1999 and the King George VI Chase in 1997 and 1999. He also won the Charlie Hall Chase in 1999 and 2000 and the Betfair Bowl in 2000.

2003 winner Inglis Drever went on to become a Cheltenham Festival legend, winning the Stayers Hurdle three times. He won it in 2005, 2007 and 2008, also winning the Long Distance Hurdle three times and the Cleeve Hurdle in 2008.

What’s Up Boys (1999) went on to finish second in the Aintree Grand National later in his career but 2005 winner Neptune Collonges went one better. A high-class chaser, he won the Punchestown Gold Cup in 2007 and 2008, the highlight of his career was his final start at Aintree in 2012. He defeated Sunnyhillboy by a nose to become only the third grey in history to win the Grand National.

Key Winter Novices’ Hurdle Trials

Winners of the Winter Novices’ Hurdle have come from a wide range of races.

Seven of the last eleven winners won their last start and all had won at least once during the current season.

The next target for winners of this event is usually the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury. Nine of the eleven ran in that race with three of them winning; Fingal Bay (2011), Taquin Du Seuil (2012) and Messire Des Obeaux (2016). Four of those winners ran in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle but none were successful.

There have been four winning favourites in this race in the past eleven years.

Fingal Bay (2011) returned odds-on at 4-5 while Vyta Du Roc (2014), On The Blind Side (2017) and Star Gate (2020) returned at 7-4, 6-5 and 5-4 respectively.

Eight of those eleven winners were in the first three in the betting.

Shock results are rare with Alsa Mix (2018) at 12-1 the longest-priced winner during that period.

Horses aged four to six have been almost completely dominant in the Winter Novices’ Hurdle. Only Glen Lochan (1992) and Labelthou (2006), both aged seven, have won from outside that age group since 1987.

Winter Novices’ Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Alan King is the leading trainer in the history of the Winter Novices’ Hurdle with five victories; Junior (2008), Manyriverstocross (2009), Label Des Obeaux (2015), Messire Des Obeaux (2016) and Alsa Mix (2018).

Paul Nicholls has won it four times; See More Business (1995), Ladalko (2004), Neptune Collonges (2005) and Enrilo (2019).

Three jockeys share the honours for leading rider in the race; Tony McCoy, Richard Johnson and Wayne Hutchinson have three winners apiece.

Popular Questions

What are important facts about Winter Novices’ Hurdle?

Here are some important facts about Winter Novices’ Hurdle:

  • The Winter Novices’ Hurdle is run at Sandown Park, Great Britain
  • The Winter Novices’ Hurdle is for horses aged 4 and over
  • The Winter Novices’ Hurdle is a National Hunt Hurdle race in Great Britain
  • The Winter Novices’ Hurdle distance is 2 miles and 4 furlongs

Summary of the Winter Novices’ Hurdle

Thank you for reading our Winter Novices’ Hurdle guide.

We have looked at previous winners, trends, betting, odds, tips and more.

We hope you have found the information useful, whether placing a bet or just wanting to enjoy the race.

You can find more December horse races by checking out our guide.

If you enjoy attending Sandown Racecourse, then check out our Sandown tips page.