Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Betting Tips

  • 13/03/2024
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This preview of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival covers all angles of the opening race of Day 2.

Our horse racing experts dive into the form and trends for the Ballymore to deliver the top recommendations, looking at the front runners in the betting and any longer priced dark horse picks.

We will also look at some of the past winners and explore who could be the key contenders in this year’s Grade 1 renewal.

The list of runners for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle odds haven’t been announced yet, but last year’s winner Impaire Et Passe continued an excellent trend of short-odds winners landing the honours in this race.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tips – Overlooked Outsiders

There have been some shorter-priced winners in the recent editions of the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival. three of the last five have been favourites, with four of the winners coming in at odds of 5/2 or shorter. 

But as with horse racing, that’s not the way all of the time, so our tipsters do look at the longer-priced options, the overlooked outsiders.

An example of needing to look deeper happened recently in the 2019 Ballymore when City Island defied 8/1 odds to get his nose in front.

Two years before that, there was an even bigger winner, with Willoughby Court scoring from 14/1 Ballymore Novices’ odds. Upsets happen, and the underdogs are not to be dismissed. 

2024 Ballymore Novices’ Runners + Odds – Wednesday 13th March 1:30

Horse/Form Silks Jockey/Trainer Odds
Impaire Et Passe


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Paul Townend
T: Willie Mullins
Hermes Allen



Horse Profile - Jockey Colours


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Gaelic Warrior


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Patrick Mullins
T: Willie Mullins
Good Land


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Michael O’Sullivan
T: Barry Connell
Champ Kiely


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Danny Mullins
T: Willie Mullins
Ho My Lord


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Mark Walsh
T: Willie Mullins
American Mike


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Dacy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
Marble Sands


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Paddy Brennan
T: Fergal O’Brien
Persian Time


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Adrian Heskin
T: Nicky Henderson
Master Chewy


Horse Profile - Jockey Colours J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies

Forty-eight hours before the Ballymore Novices’, the final declarations for the race will be in. We’ll know at that point just what the lineup is. But it is always worth trying to get a jump on participants.

Ballymore, Novices’ ante-post odds can help punters start to paint a picture of who could be going into the Grade 1 contest.

Ballyburn is currently one horse towards the head of the ante-post betting, having won both of his bumper races last season. Willie Mullins’ runner has run out a comfortable winner of both rules races to date, so he could be a lively option if connections send him down this route. 

A Dream To Share is another to watch, having won the Grade 1 bumpers at the Cheltenham Festival and Punchestown Festival last season. He’s certainly one to keep an eye on at Cheltenham, and it will just depend on which race his connections opt to send him for. 

Other notable options include Willmount, Down Memory Lane and Johnnywho. 

How to pick a Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner

We will have plenty of top Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle tips to come for this year’s renewal as our tipsters size up the form and stats.

If you are looking at picking a Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner, then those recommendations will be a great place to start.

One of the leading trends is how often the favourite has won the Ballymore recently. In the last ten renewals, the favourite has produced half of the wins, including three of the last four.

Last 10 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Winner Odds

  • 2023 Impaire Et Passe 5/2
  • 2022 Sir Gerhard 8/11F
  • 2021 Bob Olinger 6/4F
  • 2020 Envoi Allen 4/7F
  • 2019 City Island 8/1
  • 2018 Samcro 8/11F
  • 2017 Willoughby Court 14/1
  • 2016 Yorkhill 3/1
  • 2015 Windsor Park 9/2
  • 2014 Faugheen 6/4F

Another of the more significant trends for the Cheltenham Festival’s Ballymore has seen eight of the last ten winners be 6-year-olds. The ones to break the trend were 2022 winner Sir Gerhard (7 years old) and last year’s winner Impaire Et Passe (5 year old). 

There has not been a winner bigger than 20/1 in the previous 20 editions. All but one of those had won within the 90 days before taking on the Ballymore.

Nineteen of the last 20 Ballymore winners had recorded a win within their last three starts as well. A female horse has not won the Ballymore, albeit only 10 have been entered in the previous 20 editions.

Our racing experts will look at trends like those for this year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle betting tips.

All About The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: Past and Present

The inaugural edition of the Ballymore was in 1971, and it was initially called the Aldsworth Hurdle. It’s known today as the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for sponsorship reasons.

The official name is the Baring Bigham Novices’ Hurdle, and it is a Grade 1 hurdle open to horses four years and older. The contest, over a distance of 2m 5f, is hosted on the Old Course, with ten hurdles to be negotiated.

The top current jockey in the last 20 editions of the Ballymore is Davy Russell, who has taken the title three times from eleven attempts. The all-time leading jockey is Ruby Walsh, with four wins.

As for the top trainer, Willie Mullins has taken six victories, and incredibly had the 1-2-3 in last year’s race. The only other two trainers to have won it more than once in that same period are Nigel Twiston-Davies and Gordon Elliott, who have both done it twice.

How Do Horses Qualify For the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race?

The Ballymore is only for novice hurdlers. The minimum age of runners is four years old, and as this is open to both male and female runners, any filly or mare gets a 7lb allowance.

The weight for 4-year-olds is 10 st 13lb, with an 11st 7lb set for entrants of 5 years and upwards. 

What is the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Prize Money in 2024?

Impaire Et Passe took the win last year by a distance of six and a half furlongs for Willie Mullins, ridden by Paul Townend. Impaire Et Passe took the top prize money of 1st £75,964.50. The rest of the payouts were 2nd £28,620, 3rd £14,323.50, 4th £7,155, 5th £3,591, 6th £1,795.50, 7th £891 and 8th £459. The purse for the 2024 Ballymore is yet to be set.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Past Winners

There have been a lot of famous winners of the Ballymore, given that it is a big Grade 1 feature at the Cheltenham Festival. For example, the great Istabraq won the race back in 1997 as a 5-year-old.

Two-time Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace landed the Ballymore in 2003, as did the brilliant The New One in 2013, followed by the equally exciting Faugheen. More recent notable names include Envoi Allen and last year’s winner Bob Olinger.

Year Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
2023 Impaire Et Passe 5/2 Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2022 Sir Gerhard 8/11 Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2021 Bob Olinger 6/4F Rachael Blackmore Henry De Bromhead
2020 Envoi Allen 4/7F Davy Russell Gordon Elliott
2019 City Island 8/1 Mark Walsh Martin Brassil
2018 Samcro 8/11F Jack Kennedy Gordon Elliott
2017 Willoughby Court 14/1 David Bass Ben Pauling
2016 Yorkhill 3/1 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2015 Windsor Park 9/2 Davy Russell D K Weld
2014 Faugheen 6/4F Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2013 The New One 7/2 Sam Twiston-Davies Nigel Twiston-Davies
2012 Simonsig 2/1F Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2011 First Lieutenant 7/1 Davy Russell M F Morris

Other Races on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival

Day 2 is Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival, and the Ballymore is the opening fixture of the day at 1.30 pm. Here are the rest of the races for Wednesday at the Festival:

13:30 The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)

14:10 The Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1)

14:50 The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Grade 3)

15:30 The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeplechase (Grade 1)

16:10 The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase

16:50 The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3)

17:30 The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1)