• Ballymore Novices Hurdle

    This century only four winners failed to win last time out.

    All 20 Challow winners to come beaten, but six of the last nine to try were placed

    Eight of the last nine winners aged 6 yrs

    Paul Nicholls yet to win

    11 of the last 14 already won a Graded hurdle

    Since 2005, 30 runners began their careers on the Flat. All beaten

    Irish trained have won eight of the last nine

    Only one of the last 15 with an SP of over 8/1

    Top six in the previous year's Bumper priced here at 8s or less. 20 qualifiers. Six winners and six placed.

    Since 1990, no winner's previous race was in a handicap.

    The last 13 had won at least one bumper


    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 5 furlongs. To be aged 6 or WPM. Won a bumper. Will have won over 2m 4f at least if has been tried over that trip. Won last time and will have won at least 50% of all hurdle starts. Will have not been outside the first 4 of any completed starts over hurdles. Either has run 4 times this season or has not finished outside the first two this season. Not Nicholls nor Pipe trained. If tried has been placed at least in a graded race. Won't be wearing blinkers though hood wearers (not first time) can be placed. NH bred. Watch for fancied runners who were in the first 6 home in 2022 Champion Bumper. Respect W Mullins but also other Irish trainers. Either ran in this calendar year or won a Graded race in late December. Pre-race rating 146+ Didn't start career on the Flat. Not BF last time. Check for a p2p/bumper/graded novice win bundle. Not a handicap last time.

  • Honours Board

    Year||| Form||| Winner||| Age |||OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey||| Runners||| Last race (No of days)

    2022 ||| 311 ||| Sir Gerhard ||| 7 ||| 151 ||| 8/11F ||| W Mullins (IRE) ||| P Townend ||| 9 ||| 1st G1 DRF Nov Hurdle (38)

    2021 ||| 211 ||| Bob Olinger ||| 6 ||| 150 ||| 6/4F ||| H de Bromhead (IRE) ||| R Blackmore ||| 7||| 1st Naas G1 Lawlor's (63)

    2020 |||111||| Envoi Allen||| 6||| 156 ||| 4/7F ||| G Elliott(IRE)||| D Russell |||12||| 1st G1 Naas Lawlor's (66)

    2019 |||1D11||| City Island||| 6 |||147||| 8/1 ||| M Brassil(IRE)||| M Walsh||| 16||| 1st 11k Naas Nov Hdle 2m 3f (32)

    2018||| 111 |||Samcro||| 6||| 155||| 8/11F |||G Elliott(IRE) |||J Kennedy||| 14 |||1st G1 Leop Chanelle 2m (39)

    2017||| 211||| Willoughby Court||| 6 |||147||| 14/1 |||B Pauling||| D Bass||| 15 |||1st G2 Warwick Leamington Hdle 2m 5f (60)

    2016||| 111 |||Yorkhill |||6 |||156 ||| 3/1 |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh||| 11 |||1st G1 Sandown Tolworth 2m (74)

    2015 |||11142 |||Windsor Park||| 6||| 146||| 9/2 |||D Weld(IRE)||| D Russell||| 10||| 2nd G1 Leop Deloitte 2m (31)

    2014||| 1111 |||Faugheen |||6||| 152||| 6/4F||| W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh |||15||| 1st G3 Limerick Nov 3m (74)

    2013 |||1112 |||The New One |||5 |||152||| 7/2 |||N Twiston-Davies ||| S Twiston-Davies |||8 |||2nd G2 Chelt Classic Nov (46)

  • Evidence

    AGE - Sir Gerhard joins French Holly '98 as only the third horse aged 7 or over to win this race in its 51 year history (Brown Lad '74). He was the only seven yr old in the field last year. None ran in 2021. Champ 9/2 2nd 2020, Black Op 2nd 2018. One other unplaced in four of the last seven years. Parlour Games was 2nd in 2015. Ballyalton 2nd 2014 at 20s. Since Crystal Spirit ’91, 20 four year olds have tried. None placed and very few likely to try now. (Sir Gerhard, French Holly and Crystal Spirit were strongly supported favourites). All bar Sir Gerhard and The New One of the last 12 were six yr olds.


    TRAINERS - N. Henderson One winner and three placed from 33 runners. Lots of short prices. 2012 Simonsig 2/1 fav, stopped the rot but only Champ 9/2 placed since. 2017 Burbank 4th. 2015 Vyta Du Roc 4th at 15/2, He used to have a similarly appalling record in the Coral Cup before Spirit River 2010, Whisper 2014 and William Henry 2019. Henderson pupil Ben Pauling trained Willoughby Court to win in 2017 and Bright Forecast 3rd in 2019 ridden by Nico. No runner 2021, Last year I Am Maximus 4th. Good idea to move him on.

    Never won by P Nicholls. Stage Star came here unbeaten in three 7/1 PU. 2021 Bravemansgame 3rd of 6 at 4/1 his only other representative in the last eleven. Paul couldn't see him beat, I believe. Rock On Ruby unlucky in 2011. Breedsbreeze, Silverburn and Denman under 10/1 and beaten in last 16 years. Hermes Allen


    Since Regal Ambition ’90, M/D. Pipe have saddled 37 losers, of which only 3 were placed. 2014 Red Sherlock 7/2 2nd fav and 9th. No runners last seven years.


    IRISH TRAINED - W Mullins has won five from last 15 and also had 5 placed in the last 17. Sir Gerhard his first winner in six. two others unplaced. 2021 Gaillard Du Mesnil 2nd 9/4. 2020 The Big Getaway 3rd (at the time personally thought P Townend could have stretched them a bit more. Time was 30 seconds above standard) 2019 Willie had two unplaced, 2018, ran four, best Next Destination 4/1 in 3rd. Two others finished 4th and 5th. Three unplaced 16/1 shots and Bacardys PU 4/1 in 2017. Won with Yorkhill in 2016. Nichols Canyon 3rd as 7/2 fav in 2015. Wrong type of ride admitted by both trainer and jockey. Should have led. 2014 Faugheen won and Rathvinden 3rd, 2013 Pont Alexandre all the rage at 6/4, only 3rd (possibly also a strange ride in race ran 22 seconds above standard?). 2012 Felix Yonger 2nd at 16s, the outsider of his three runners, 2011. All Willie's five winners won last time out and all were his most fancied in this race. Impair et Passe, Gaelic Warrior, Champ Kiely


    Good Land wins the 2m6f Gr1 novice hurdle at DRF, a shade cosily. Winners have finished 5222 in the Albert Bartlett but he's only in the Ballymore (the other winner was a fair 2nd in that)


    OTHER IRISH TRAINED - Bob Olinger 6/4 fav for H de Bromhead. Very impressive. 2020 Envoi Allen, Gordon Elliott's big one for the week, obliged from Henry de Bromhead's fine placement of Easywork. Martin Brassil knew what he had in 2019. Fair play to him. G Elliott wins with Samcro in 2018. E. O'Grady has won this twice, three of his last four runners being placed, Over the Bar, Pizarro, and Catch Me. However no runners last decade plus and most unlikely. Windsor Park trained by DK Weld and started in bumpers. Three Irish Trained in 2011 finished 1st, 3rd, and 4th. (First Lieutenant from Oscars Well who was unlucky at the last). Monksland 3rd 2012, Rule The World 2nd in front of Pont Alexandre in 2013. Simonsig won two points in Northern Ireland before moving to N Hendersons.


    Irish trained 23 winners of the last 49 but most importantly eight from the last nine. Five different Irish trainers. Last year 1-2-3. 2021 1-2 from three runners, 2020 1-2-3 from 5 runners , a 1-4 from 9 in 2019, a 1-3-4-5 from six in 2018.


    Since at least 1990, no winner ran last time out in a handicap. Gaelic Warrior.


    FORM - City Island broke the old stat when joining Urubande and Gallileo as the only winners in past 24 not to have competed in a Graded race before Cheltenham. Gallileo had Graded form on the flat. City Island only won an 11k to the winner novice hurdle last time. Sir Gerhard won the 2m Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival. Bob Olinger won the G1 Lawlor's At Naas, Envoi Allen won G1s Royal Bond and Lawlor's. Samcro cruised a Deloitte, Willougby Court won that good G2 novice at Warwick mid January. Faugheen won G3 at Limerick. Windsor Park 2nd in the Deloitte. Yorkhill won a very good Tolworth. (French Holly and Monsignor last two before that to double up from Sandown).


    Only two of the last 14 hadn't won a graded hurdle. 21 from the last 24 placed at least in Graded company, 17 had won. 9 of the last 13 started their career in Irish points. To mirror that 12 of the last 14 winners were top or second top on BHA Ratings.


    SPRINTER OR STAYERS RACE? - Over the past 25 years previous G1 winners over 2m are 9 from 17. G1 winners over 2m 4f plus are currently 3 from 23. That's including Bob Olinger and Envoi Allen.


    PRICE - Six favs now obliging in the last 11 races. Sir Gerhard, Bob Olinger, Envoi Allen, Samcro, Faugheen, and Simonsig have followed Mikael D'Haguenet '09 for favourite backers. The latter was the first since Monsignor 2000 (I remember being the only person in Prestbury Park that day not to have backed Monsignor. Only won by a furlong, I think in one of those highly competitive races they had when it was a three day Festival. I did back the third home, Gentle Rivage at 50/1. But by the time Tom 'the Daisy' Jenks got Gentle over the line, I was about the only person left standing by the third pillar). 2011 So Young 2/1 fav and 3rd. '10 Rite of Passage 7/2 fav and 3rd. Against all this '07 Massini’s Maguire at 20/1 first winner over 16/1 since ’84. Nothing over 7/1 from 2007 until the race got the upset it was due in 2017 when Willoughby Court at 14s overturned the 2/1 jolly, Neon Wolf. That's only one double-figure priced winner in 15 races. Another one due?


    35 from the last 37 came from the first six in the market. Hardly a shock. Exceptions Massini's Maguire and Gaelstorm 16s in '93. Big prices do get placed (Bright Forecast/Itsafreebee/Ballyalton/Lanzerac/Gentle Rivage/Grey Report) but not particularly over the last few years. Due to the volume of cash for Neon Wolf, Willoughby Court ended up 5th favourite at 14s. 16 runners in 2020 the biggest field for a while. Only seven in 2021 and nine last year (COVID?).


    The Deloitte/Chanelle/Tattersalls at Leopardstown DRF, Sir Gerhard won, Easywork 2nd, Samcro, Windsor Park, Danoli, Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Oscars Well). Bacardys PU here at 4/1 in 2017, won at Leopardstown. However apart from Samcro and Windsor Park (who was beaten in the Deloitte) the previous nine Irish trained winners and the three since came from some other route.


    ROYAL BOND - Envoi Allen first to complete double since Hardy Eustace 2002 is the last to complete this double. Only two others tried in between, both unplaced in this. Ballyadam went Supreme. Marine Nationale seems similar.


    Best recent trial is the Lawlor's At Naas producing the last two winners. Last year none of the first three home came. Bob Olinger and Envoi Allen joined Mikael d'Haguenet 2009 to complete double. Three others in between attempted, all achieved a place at Cheltenham. Battleoverdoyen won at Naas in 2019, was sent off as favourite for the Ballymore before a poor trip over scuppered his chance. Next Destination won the 2018 version, and he finished third behind Samcro in the Ballymore Hurdle next time. Rule The World won it in 2013 when it was the Grade 2 Slaney Hurdle, then Mouse Morris’ horse finished second to The New One in the Ballymore Hurdle next time (before, famously, winning the Grand National three years later). Lawlor's winners have finished 11P32312 in the Ballymore this century. Champ Kiely from Irish Point. 


    Sir Gerhard joins City Island, Fiveforthree and Peddlers Cross only winners since Istabrag ‘97 not to have won over 2 & 1/2 miles or further previous to this race (all four hadn't run over that trip before. City Island and Fiveforthree didn't even come from p2ps). Samcro won a G3 easy at Navan. All the preview chat in 2017 was that Willoughby Court should have gone to the Albert Bartlett. Like Thyme Hill did in 2020. WPM doesn't do stats, remember.


    The Leamington Novice Neptune Trial in Warwick early January won by Willoughby Court was won in 2013 by The New One and previously by No Refuge. Mossy Fen 5th here in 2020 at 33s, probably NTD's best result of the week. Adrimel gave 3lb in first time cheekpieces, then 9/1 PU in Albert Bartlett. Winners this century have finished 5P1P1U124 in the Ballymore. Last year Stag Horn unsuccessfully tried 3 miles.


    Also the Warwick Novice in mid-Feb (Rebel Song, Sayfar’s Lad, Thetford Forest, Putty Road and Monsignor). NRs last three years.


    Sir Gerhard and Samcro was the first Deloitte/Channelle/Tattersalls winners to double up since Istabraq '97. Charlie Swan might have been a trifle fortunate on the latter that day on the great one. On his first Festival appearance he got home by a length from Mighty Moss who was amateur owner/ridden and interestingly steered by Mr Fred Hutsby. Oscars Well may have been unfortunate not to double up when he clouted the last in 2011. 8 others, all short enough priced, also failed, 2016 Bleu et Rouge fell in the Albert Bartlett. 2015 Nichols Canyon 3rd here. 2019 both Klassical Dream and Aramon went for the Supreme, as did that great enigma, Asterion Forlonge. Appreciate It jogged round in the Supreme on Tuesday.


    THE CURSE OF THE CHALLOW - (Do they not know?). All 20 (and I have the list of them from Matt Tombs, that wonderful guy) Challow Hurdle winners to try here have come up short. PN's Stage Star PU last year followed Bravemansgame. 2020 Thyme Hill knew the stats and went to the Albert Bartlett where Richard Johnson got into a bit of a tangle. Champ 2nd in 2019. In 2018, the first three in the Newbury December bog went to the Albert Bartlett bog where Kilbricken Storm outstayed them all. 2017 Messire Des Obeaux a valiant 3rd here at 8/1. To be fair, 10 of those 20 Challow winners have been placed in this. Not counting BMG's 3rd of seven runners. Those placed before were Parlour Games in 2015, Diamond Harry, Reve de Sivola, Denman. Al Ferof was 3rd at Newbury then won the Supreme Novices, For Non Stop 4th (fell at last when 2nd in 2011 Coral Cup). Both Gaelstrom and Massini's Maguire both well beaten in Challow before winning at the Festival. Since 2004, six of the last nine Challow winners that ran have been placed. And BMG's 3rd of seven. There were excuses for the much loved Taquin Du Seuil (they crawled the first 2 miles like they sometimes do, said my pocket). Messire des Obeaux in 2016 posted the best time for a Challow for 11 years by a good 15 seconds in 4 58. Not the usual late December Newbury bog which can take its toll on young novices. Still didn't work. 2018 Newbury Champ quickened clear in G to S from Getaway Trump in 5 10. Hermes Allen from You Wear It Well in a swamp. Time also 5 10.


    (With this stat remember in Denman's yr the Challow was run on good ground at Cheltenham on the 1st January, Ruby blames himself for the loss in March). And as shown, Challow winners have won the Supreme and the Albert Bartlett.


    Horses that have won an Irish p2p, a bumper, and a Graded Novice are 7-14 over the past 14 years. Sir Gerhard only qualifier last year, Bob Olinger only qualifier 2021. Easy enough, then.


    Massinis Maguire and The New One won Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Harry Senor, Birchdale and Santini.


    17 of the last 31 had all run at least 4 times previous that season (if you include Windsor Park's autumn flat wins). The other 14 did not finish outside the first two that season. Sir Gerhard unbeaten in two runs, Bob three runs, two wins, Envoi Allen and Samcro had each strolled three wins, City Island two.


    Massini’s Maguire 2007 only one since Gaelstrom 1993 as the only winners in the last 32 to have finished outside the first 4 on any completed start that season (a fifth place each). Both were course novice hurdle winners that season and also second season novices.

    Windsor Park, First Lieutenant and Massini's Maguire only ones since Putty Road ’95 not to have finished in the first two in all completed starts over hurdles. However, the former two were 2nd and 1st respectively in a G1 last time.If ever a stat was due to go..


    All bar four this century won last time out.


    Mares. 15 runners in the last 26. One winner, a second and a third. (None ran last four years. Before Shattered Love 2017 there had been one no-hoper in the past 11. Shattered Love was interesting in that she was Elliott trained and the subject of a Pricewise plunge, 25s to 8s. Last to finish, never travelled.


    Faugheen joins First Lieutenant only winners in the last 16 not to have a run in the same calendar year. First's last run (get my drift) was to win G1 Leopardstown 29th December. Faugheen's was to win a G3 in Limerick 28th December. Of the last 16, Fundamentalist quickest turn round. His last run was 28th February, only 14 days before. Sir Gerhard 38, Bob Olinger 63, Envoi Allen 66 days, City Island 32 days, Willoughby Court 62, see the above Honours Board


    23 from last 26 had won at least 50% of all completed starts over hurdles. Not Windsor Park, only one from three.


    Top-six finishers in the previous season's Festival Bumper: 20 have taken their chance in the last 24 races. Last year Sir Gerhard did the double, Three Stripe Life (RIP) third in the Champion Bumper, runner up here. 2018 Next Destination was 4th in the bumper, 3rd here. Bacardys well beat in 2017. Yanworth demolished by Yorkhill in 2016. Six won (Sir Gerhard, French Holly, Monsignor, Fiveforthree, The New One and Envoi Allen) and six were placed (Three Stripe, Next Destination, Yanworth, Pizarro, Refinement and Rite Of Passage). None of those 12 started bigger than 8/1. None came that route in 2019 or 2020. - 2022 the first six in the Champion Bumper were Facile Vega, American Mike, James's Gate, Seabank Bistro, Authorised Speed and Poetic Music.


    The last 13 had all won at least one bumper.


    HANDICAP MARK - In 16 of the last 18, the horse with the current highest handicap mark, i.e. has been assessed by the handicapper, has been placed at least (7 winners). Sir Gerhard top last year off 151, Gaillard du Mesnil 151 (to Bob Olinger's and BMGs 150), Envoi Allen 156, Champ 152, Samcro 155 won from the next two top-rated at 150. Willoughby Court and Neon Wolf were joint top-rated on 152. 2016 Yanworth was 158 to Yorkhill's 156, the top two. 2015 Windsor Park only 4th top-rated of 146, Nicholls Canyon top on 149. 2014 Faugheen top with 152, Rathvinden 151. 2014 Pont Alexandre top on 154, The New One 152. 2012 Simonsig top with 148, followed by Sous Les Sieux 145 (5th), Monksland 144 (3rd). '10 Peddlers top on 148 beats next best Rive de Sivola, '09 Mikael joint top rated with Diamond Harry on 155, 1st and 3rd. In 2015 the top four rated filled the top four places but not in ratings order. A stat to bear in mind.


    BLINKERS, CHEEKPIECES etc - 19 qualifiers in the last 22. None last year. Gaillard du Mesnil and Easywork both 2nd in hoods. Worn before. Only two other no-hopers in total since 2016, a good thing to see with novices. 2015 Parlour Games 2nd in a hood he always wore.


    BREEDING - Sir Gerhard by Jeremy, becoming a very popular Festival sire. Bob by Sholokhov, the sire of Don Cossack. Envoi Allen's sire Muhtathir was a miler, the dam's sire was a top class French jumps horse. 21 from last 24 were NH Bred including 14 from last 16. City Island by Court Cave who also was the sire of Willloughby Court. Simonsig sired by Fair Mix G1 Flat. But what a machine. Yorkhill by Presenting. Windsor Park by Galileo, Faugheen and Samcro by Germany, the latter two were both dual-purpose sires.


    Since 2005, 28 runners started their careers on the flat. All beaten. No qualifiers last year. 2021 Gaillard du Mesnil.


    BEATEN FAVOURITE LAST TIME - 38 have tried this century, The New One at 7/2 the sole winner. Turned over at 4/5 on Cheltenham Trials Day by At Fishers Cross.


    2015 Maximum number of runners dropped from 24 to 22. Can't see it filling.


    Davy Russell was good at this race. 11 rides, 3 wins, two placed.